A Blair County judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Forever Broadcasting against a former saleswoman who was accused of violating her contract by taking a job at WRTA (1240) radio in Altoona.
Forever Broadcasting sued Virginia Smith when she quit Forever to work for WRTA, a news-talker that competes with its own WFBG (1290). The lawsuit also named WRTA as a defendant.
Forever is the parent company of Central Pennsylvania’s “Froggy” radio stations, and is a sister company to Carnegie-based Keymarket Communications, which owns Duquesne-licensed WOGI-FM (98.3), Uniontown’s WOGG-FM (94.9), Burgettstown-licensed WOGH-FM (103.5) and East Liverpool’s WOGF-FM (104.3).
WRTA and Forever have been bitter adversaries in the past; back in 2000, current WRTA owner Dave Barger and former WRTA owner Rod Wolf publicly accused Forever and its related companies of non-competitive, monopolistic business practices.
Besides WFBG and “Froggy 95” WFGI-FM (95.5), Forever and its investors either own or control many other Johnstown-Altoona-State College area stations, including WMAJ (1450), WRSC (1390), WALY-FM (103.9), WBUS-FM (93.7), WQWK-FM (103.1), WRKY-FM (104.9), WRKW-FM (99.1), WFGY-FM (98.1), WSGY-FM (98.7) and WFZY-FM (106.3).
Along with WRTA, Barger owns WKMC (1370), WBRX-FM (94.7) and WBXQ-FM (94.3).
Forever alleged that Smith’s move to WRTA violated a non-compete clause in her contract. Her attorney argued that the contract was not enforceable, and Common Pleas Judge Hiram Carpenter last month ruled that Forever could not prove that it suffered any harm, or that Smith took any clients from Forever to WRTA.
“This is not a suit between CBS and NBC,” Carpenter wrote in his decision. “It is a suit in a small local market. It should be easy for plaintiffs to establish the fact of damage. …Yet plaintiffs come before us unable to name anyone who was approached or a single dollar that was lost.”