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Bensinger’s In-Depth Rolls On

Jason Barrett

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St. Louisan Graham Bensinger has begun the fifth season of his nationally syndicated sports interview TV show, and for now can put his monetary worries to rest.

He said “In Depth with Graham Bensinger” has stabilized financially after some rough times last year, when he greatly expanded the operation by adding staff and affiliates. That came after he was a one-man show in the early days, when he not only was conducting the interviews but also was selling advertising and lining up outlets to carry the program plus booking travel and guests. Now he has nine full-time staffers.

“Everything’s going in the right direction,’’ he said Thursday. “It’s been a bit of a battle. There’s been financial pressure in growing it.”

That sounds like an understatement. Bensinger, 28, said after making a small profit the first three seasons when the show was on a smaller scale, last year was a loser. That’s when he syndicated the show, which had been on cable and the internet, to over-the-air stations across the country.

It was a big risk.

Last year he said he funded the expanded business with “the money I had made to that point plus my life savings. I said, ‘What the hell, I want to give this a shot.’’’

A long shot?

“Without a doubt this past year has been the toughest of my life,’’ he said. “I don’t think I ever realized how much the financial pressure would impact me. I’d go to bed thinking about it, get up thinking about it. That was pretty much the life I lived the last year.

“It was entirely self induced. I made the decision to invest every last dollar I could into the show, whether it be in production quality or hiring additional people. I believe that was necessary to grow it. If I had reined it in slightly, there wouldn’t have been the financial pressure. But looking back, I’m glad I made the decisions I made. But it definitely taught me a valuable lesson in that I never want to have to go through that again.”

He was on vacation with his parents this summer when he finalized a sponsorship deal that would not only put him into the black for the coming season, but assure that he also would cover last season’s losses. It was an emotional experience.

“Never in a million years would I have expected this reaction, but I just went down to tell my mom and burst out crying because it’s just been a long path to get to this place,’’ Bensinger said.

He is in a more prominent time slot locally this season, at 10:35 p.m. Sundays on KTVI (Channel 2) after being on at 6:30 a.m. Saturdays last year.

Basketball personality Charles Barkley was the subject last week in the season debut of the half-hour program, with tennis’ Caroline Wozniacki the focus this week. Among topics she discusses is golfer Rory McIIroy recently breaking off their engagement. Football’s Emmitt Smith and Ray Lewis follow next.

It’s been a prominent — albeit different — path for Bensinger, who at one time seemed to be gliding on the fast track to a network reporter’s role. At age 19, he scored a big interview for ESPN with receiver Terrell Owens, who in the conversation talked his way out of a job with the Philadelphia Eagles. He also did other reports for the network.

But he always had wanted to try to make his mark on his own, not by working for someone else.

“Had I looked for an opportunity where I would have been employed by a media outlet, it would have been more financially lucrative the past several years,’’ he said. “So it has been exciting to get (the show) to the place where it is now.

“It’s still far and away the most satisfying work I’ve ever done. In prior roles, I’d only conduct an interview or book an interview. Now I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in every facet of building this.”

And there is a key bottom line.

“It’s exciting that there’s no longer the day-to-day financial pressure that there has been in the past,’’ he said. “It’s been a long five years.”

For more, read Dan Caesar’s column at STL Today where this was originally published

Sports Radio News

Kayla Anderson Added to 104.5 The Zone Morning Show

Anderson will begin hosting Wednesday morning. She has previously worked as a sports anchor, reporter, and digital contributor to WKRN-TV in Nashville.

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Kayla Anderson has been added to the 104.5 The Zone morning show, newly titled Ramon, Kayla, and Will, joining Ramon Foster and Will Boling on the Nashville station.

Anderson will begin hosting Wednesday morning. She has previously worked as a sports anchor, reporter, and digital contributor on WKRN-TV in Nashville. A graduate of Washington State University, she has also worked at television stations in Spokane, Missoula, Tucson, and Columbus in addition to her time in Nashville.

“After spending the last 15 years in local TV covering sports, I’m thrilled to venture into Sports Talk radio, joining 104.5 The Zone in the mornings with Ramon, Will and producer Jonathan Shaffer,” Anderson said. “I’m truly looking forward to hanging with this talented crew, talking sports, interacting with the listeners, and having lots of fun doing it!”

Anderson said on Twitter she is “so excited to join this group!”

Boling had been the interim host of the morning show after the August departure of Jason Martin.

Ramon, Kayla, and Will will be heard from 6:00 AM-10:00 AM each weekday morning.

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Sports Radio News

Derek Wolfe Joining 104.3 The Fan as ‘The Drive’ Co-Host

I am so insanely pumped to talk with you every afternoon on The Fan. We had a special connection when I was playing for the Broncos that’s only going to grow stronger every day on The Drive.”

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Former NFL defensive lineman Derek Wolfe is joining 104.3 The Fan in Denver as Darren “DMac” McKee’s co-host on The Drive With Derek Wolfe and DMac.

Wolfe announced his retirement from the NFL earlier this year after signing a one-day contract to retire with the Denver Broncos. He was the franchise’s top pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, spending eight seasons with the team, including a win in Super Bowl 50.

“To the listeners in Denver, ‘The Fan Wolfe-pack,’ I am so insanely pumped to talk with you every afternoon on The Fan. We had a special connection when I was playing for the Broncos that’s only going to grow stronger every day on The Drive,” said Wolfe. “DMac and I are going to fight sometimes, maybe we’ll fight a lot of the time, but we’ll always be working together to entertain you. I’ve always kept it 100 with you, and that’s not going to change one bit.” 

“Derek is one of the most popular players in Broncos history, with the iconic image of his sack celebration in Super Bowl 50 forever etched in Denver sports lore,” said 104.3 The Fan program director Raj Sharan. “What’s so exciting about adding Derek is his connection with the audience goes far beyond his production on the field. He’s never been afraid to mince words and is unapologetically authentic. Those characteristics drew Denver sports fans to fall in love with Derek, and we’re thrilled to help Derek build on that relationship everyday as he entertains his ‘Fan Wolfe-pack!’” 

Wolfe enters a role previously occupied by former Bronco Tyler Polumbus, who departed the station in September. The Drive with Derek Wolfe and DMac will be heard weekday afternoons from 2:00 PM-6:00 PM.

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Sports Radio News

Chick Hearn Headlines Radio Hall of Fame Legends Inductees

Amongst other accolades, he is credited with broadcast 3,338 consecutive Lakers game from November 21, 1965 to December 16, 2001.

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Chick Hearn

The Museum of Broadcast Communications announced today the selection of 10 new Legends inductees into the Radio Hall of Fame for 2022. This distinction honors those in the industry who have contributed greatly to it and have since passed away.

Chick Hearn, the longtime voice of the Los Angeles Lakers, will be amongst those inducted in Chicago next month. Hearn was the voice of the Lakers for 41 years (1961-2002). Amongst other accolades, he is credited with broadcast 3,338 consecutive Lakers game from November 21, 1965 to December 16, 2001.  

The full list of those to be inducted as part of the Legends class are:

  • MrDoug Banks– Nationally syndicated on-air personality;
  • MrJames Brown– Legendary singer, to be inducted as a radio station owner of WJBE Knoxville, TN;
  • MrBob Coburn– Host of the syndicated Rockline show;
  • Mr. Chick Hearn– Play-by-play announcer/voice of the Los Angeles Lakers;
  • MsBernice Judis– Owner and General Manager, WNEW-AM, 1930’s–1950’s;
  • MrSid Mark– Host of syndicated program, Sounds of Sinatra show for 60+ years;
  • Mr. Bobby O’Jay– On-air personality, WDIA-AM/Memphis;
  • MrPervis Spann– On-air personality, WVON-AM/Chicago;
  • Mr. James Thompson– Group W Broadcasting President and President of the Broadcasters Foundation;
  • Ms. Rosalie Trombley– Music Director of CKLW-AM/Detroit in the 1960’s–1970’s.

“The Radio Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing the individuals who have made the greatest impact on our 100+ year old industry,” Kraig T. Kitchin, Co-Chairman, Radio Hall of Fame said. “I’m thrilled to see the Nominating Committee confirm the induction of these 10 individuals who each made such an impact on our industry in their time.”    

The Radio Hall of Fame will recognize its 2022 class of inductees, including the class announced in July, during a ceremony on Tuesday, November 1st.

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