%mlink(STRY:; PHOTO:; AUDIO:%)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A former television news anchor has filed a race discrimination claim against the station he says fired him because he is white.

Richard J. Noonan, 40, alleges that station managers discussed concerns that the newscast looked ``lily white'' before he was dismissed in February.

``All I can say Rich is that race is an issue in this day and age, you know that as well as I do,'' WTXF-TV general manager Roger LaMay allegedly told Noonan in October, according to the claim filed last month with the state Human Relations Commission.

Noonan, who had worked at the station since 1990 and had been a 10 p.m. anchor since 1994, was replaced by Dave Huddleston, 38, who is black.

``Television news is one of the last bastions of open, blatant racism. The news business moves people around based on race so freely that those of us who work in it just assume that's the way it's done, and it's against the law,'' Noonan said Wednesday.

The claim seeks more than $300,000 in compensatory and other damages.

The station denied the charges.

``While we regret that Rich has turned his disappointment at not having his contract renewed into a discrimination complaint, filled with false allegations, Fox 29 does not believe that the press is an appropriate forum to respond to Rich's allegations,'' the station said in a statement.

Noonan's lawyer, Thomas A. Sprague, declined comment. Noonan, who lives in Chester Springs, does not have a listed home telephone number.