Sports Radio News
Dawn Stensland Remains a News Person at Heart
Dawn Stensland has an extensive background in television news and leans on it as she provides the news on the radio at 1210 WPHT.
When we spoke, Dawn Stensland had just left the air after her fourth day with new morning host, Nick Kayal and Kayal & Company on 1210 WPHT. Her former on-air partner Rich Zeoli moved to afternoons last Monday.
“I’ve been talking about Rich Zeoli a lot this week on the air,” Stensland said. “I told Rich it has been like that new relationship in college. You’re on a date but you’re talking about your old boyfriend way too much.”
Stensland said Nick Kayal is a great guy and the format of the show hasn’t changed.
“Not at all,” she explained. “At the same time, I think everybody has their own take. From my standpoint during the hours I’m on, I’m the news person.”
Just like Robin Quivers, without the naked guests.
“I’m there as the straight-man,” Stensland explained. “I give the news headlines and Nick might jump in with his perspective. I think it’s important to remember Nick is a Philadelphia guy as well.”
Stensland said the WPHT signal reaches far and wide. Some parts of South Jersey, parts of Maryland, Delaware.
“It’s not just Philly. Through the Audacy app, we can essentially reach people that have a second home in Florida, anywhere else. We’re seeing an exodus of people moving from the East Coast to other parts of the country for various reasons.”
On the air, Stensland said she’s conscious of ‘staying in her lane.’
“It’s an ensemble cast. You have Greg Stocker, the boss. Nick is the evil overlord. Then there is Anthony DiRenzo. He went to college locally at Westchester University, and we watched Anthony grow up.”
DiRenzo is the son of a salesperson at WHPT.
“Anthony is like one of our kids,” Stensland said. “He just celebrated his 27th birthday and he has a great head on his shoulders.”
DiRenzo started with an internship at Audacy and worked in Hartford for several years. He keeps an eye on what’s trending on local media.
Stensland has an extensive background in television news.
“In television, we were much more concerned with the ‘if it bleeds, it leads,’ mentality. On the radio, I think we’re better at showing some perspective and respect than we were on TV. I remember the days we had beat reporters. We relied on them for specific stories. With all the budget cuts, we’ve lost that strong reporting foundation.”
Stensland recalls a time when TV stations were owned by family operations and still had a foot in the community. Faced people in their area. A sense of pride.
“It’s more difficult when you’re with a huge corporation when you have hundreds of media outlets. All of a sudden you lose some of your local identity. You get mandates from big corporations. It becomes a bureaucracy, much like the government. In the end, the little guy loses.”
Stensland was born in Chicago on the Northwest side near Irving Park.
“I didn’t grow up there. When I was a kid we moved south. My dad was in sales and we moved around a lot. When I was 15, we moved to Minnesota.”
Despite all the moving, Philadelphia has always been ‘home’ to Stensland. She’s lived there most of her adult life. She’s been married for 23 years and she and her husband decided they wanted to stay in a specific area to raise their family.
“There’s also a price for that,” she said. “A lot of people will go where the jobs are. We decided no matter what we were going to stay here. It’s all about what you value, not whether you have enough or not. For me, family comes first. I love my family.”
“When I got married, I made a commitment in a church. Better or worse. I believe in those vows and my husband feels the same way. I married a single dad with two kids. My boys are 16 and 18 years old. The older boy just started at a branch of Penn State, and we’re lucky to still have him stay with us.”
In high school, Stensland loved sports. She ran track and played basketball.
“I was horrible, but still loved sports so much. The basketball coach told me I could travel with the team which was a great lesson. In sports, it’s nice because there is always a place for you on the team. I’m a 100 percent believer in team spirit.”
Her children are more into speech, theater and debate. Stensland said the concept of ‘team’ isn’t relegated only to sports.
I think people should know Philadelphia is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It sometimes makes me sad we have the image of being ‘Philly.’ I think more people would be aware of this city if we had better leadership.”
“There’s so much history here that people don’t realize. But people are moving here from places like New York because they’ve seen the homes, the quality of life here.”
“Makes me sad and angry. There are certainly ways if we had better leadership. People would recognize us as a livable beautiful city. I’ve Tweeted out pictures of my boys swimming in a creek in the gorgeous city with so much history. People don’t realize. This is such a beautiful city. People from New York are moving here for the homes, quality of life. At the same time, the crime makes me so sad.”
When she was only 8 years old, Stensland discovered she had a relative who worked with the Chicago Tribune, and she was quickly hooked on media.
“I initially wanted to be a print journalist,” she said.
She and her family moved from the south to Minneapolis, Stensland wanted to be a journalist. She had a heavy southern accent she worked hard to rid herself of.
“Nobody could understand what I was saying,” Stensland said. “I started watching local news and CNN to learn how to speak in a neutral, anchor-perfect dialect. My mom observed I was writing all the time and said, ‘Dawn, I think you could be in broadcasting.’ I was lucky to have my parent’s encouragement.”
Stensland is an Emmy Award-winning television journalist. She’s worked as an anchor and host at CBS News in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. She earned success as a news reporter in cities across America.
On the show, we’re dealing with the latest headlines in the morning. We talk about issues that bring us together or divide us. It’s a fascinating time right now. I think Covid made us realize so much about ourselves, our government, and caused us to question everything. Raised the lack of trust we had in institutions we used to hold in such high esteem.
I have faith in my children’s future. They are savvy and see through a lot of the confusion. My 16-year-old thinks grown-ups are ridiculous. The kids see everything that is happening. They see the problems in the world and figure we can eventually just work it out.
Jim Cryns writes features for Barrett News Media. He has spent time in radio as a reporter for WTMJ, and has served as an author and former writer for the Milwaukee Brewers. To touch base or pick up a copy of his new book: Talk To Me – Profiles on News Talkers and Media Leaders From Top 50 Markets, log on to Amazon or shoot Jim an email at email@example.com.
Sports Radio News
Jay Williams Calls Listener, Forces Him To Pay Their $1000 Lakers Bet
“Don’t get me on national TV and radio and then not pick up the phone when I call.”
If you owe Jay Williams money, he is going to find you. Just ask Rob, a listener in Orlando who bet the ESPN Radio morning man that the Lakers would advance to the NBA Finals.
Last week, Rob called Keyshawn, JWill and Max and bet Williams $1000 the Lakers would eliminate the Denver Nuggets. Williams said if that happened, he would pay Rob $1500.
Obviously, that is not the way things played out. On Tuesday morning, Jay Williams called Rob demanding payment.
“He owes me my money,” he said. “So you know what we do? We got Detective Pat on the call today. Pat, let’s give this man a call. See if this guy picks up, trying to run away from giving me my money.”
The show’s associate producer Patrick Costello called the number Rob left last week. On the first attempt, the listener did not pick up. Williams vowed to keep up the pressure on social media and national radio and television until he got paid.
“Don’t get me on national TV and radio and then not pick up the phone when I call.”
“You know, getting that money is a wrap, Jay,” Keyshawn Johnson said through laughter. “I told you that.”
The show made one more attempt to connect with Rob before having to turn things over to Greeny. This time, the Lakers fan picked up and acknowledged that he had to pay. He offered to make a donation in Williams’s name.
“I’ll send you my bank account here privately, and then I will send it to the charity of my choice,” Williams agreed.
Rob agreed to the arrangement. Williams asked him if he wanted to apologize for doubting the basketball analyst’s prediction of the Lakers’ demise.
“Apologize? I need the Lakers to apologize to me after that performance,” Rob said. “Because Jesus Christ, that was horrible. That was bad.”
Sports Radio News
Stoney & Jansen on LeBron James Retirement Talk: ‘NBA Needs Offseason Stories’
“I think we pick and choose with him. I think I’ve been too hard on him and I’m kind of realizing that.”
As the Los Angeles Lakers exited the court after being swept by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals on Monday night, a grim reality set in across the basketball world regarding the future of forward LeBron James. Widely regarded as one of the best players to ever suit up, James is the NBA’s all-time scoring leader, a 19-time All Star selection, four-time MVP, and four-time NBA champion.
During his postgame media availability on Monday, he stated that he had to seriously think about his future, undoubtedly referencing retirement. James just completed his 20th season in the Association and continues to play at a high level, but is going to think about walking away from the game after falling short of the NBA Finals this year.
“He’s been a pretty good soldier for the game,” said Tom Milikan, morning show producer and assistant program director at 97.1 The Ticket. “There’s been some things I haven’t agreed with him [on] that he’s liked or tweeted or whatever. I think he’s had some ignorance, but I think that applies to every single athlete out there that’s great.”
Throughout his NBA career, James has been the subject of criticism. The ESPN special he participated in titled The Decision saw him reveal he would be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat. He is also a frequent subject across the network’s programming, including on Get Up, First Take and NBA Today.
“I think we pick and choose with him,” Millikan said. “I think I’ve been too hard on him and I’m kind of realizing that.”
Show co-host Mike Stone read messages from the 97.1 The Ticket text line during the show, many of which criticized James for being a “flopping” player desperate for any semblance of attention since he will not be in the NBA Finals. One text suggested his revelation of weighing retirement was done intentionally, surmising that he has a film documentary crew around him and coming back stronger than ever would make for a great story.
“The league needs some offseason stories,” Millikan said. “From what I know, the free agency class is not all that great this year – and one of the big names is Kyrie Irving, and that’s toxic. It’s sort of like, ‘Hey, maybe they’re generating buzz or trying to do the whole Brady thing.’ So be it – I’ve seen it 15 times in my life.”
Stone recognized that athletes like James are genuinely once-in-a-generation type talents, and that his time in the NBA has been defined by more than what he has done on the court. James has also been an immense advocate for greater causes, including social issues, youth education and community affairs. Whenever he decides to call it a career though, fans should rest assured that James has truly given the game everything he has.
“I want to see the best that they have for as long as possible,” show co-host Jon Jansen said of star athletes. “If they end up playing too long, so be it. I don’t care. Then I know I’ve [seen] it all.”
Sports Radio News
Danny Parkins: NFL Teams ‘Don’t Really Care About Your In-Stadium Experience’
“In one year of Al Michaels complaining about the games, they’ve changed two huge rules around it.”
On Monday at the NFL Owners’ Meetings, flex scheduling for Amazon Prime Video’s presentation of Thursday Night Football was approved 24-8. Games can only be flexed between Weeks 13 and 17 with 28 days notice required. Additionally, a maximum of two games can be flexed per season, with the entire operation being on “a trial basis.”
“In one year of Al Michaels complaining about the games, they’ve changed two huge rules around it,” said Danny Parkins on 670 The Score as the news broke Monday. “[The] first rule already happened, and the Bears are one of the teams that either benefit or are victimized by the rule depending on your interpretation. You can play on multiple Thursdays this year. You can’t play multiple road Thursdays, but the Bears have two Thursday night games – in Washington and home against Carolina.”
In an effort to broadcast compelling action on a national stage, the National Football League did not give all of its 32 teams at least one game on national television this season. Conversely, the New York Jets, complete with star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, will be featured on national television for the maximum of six times, including two matchups on Thursday Night Football. The Jets, along with the Chicago Bears, dissented from voting in favor of flexible scheduling, but Parkins assumes it has nothing to do with the fans.
“My guess is [it is] because they already have two Thursday night games,” Parkins said. “Maybe they’re just altruistic and they care about fans and travel and all that, but I bet you that they said, ‘Well, we’re playing in Week 5 in Washington and Week 10 at home against Carolina. We don’t want to risk Bears-Browns or Bears-Falcons being flexed into Thursday Night Football later in the season and end up with three Thursday night games.’”
Many football fans and media professionals have pushed back on granting the property any type of flex scheduling because of the negative impact it has on injury prevention, something that is not as pronounced with other properties solely because of the day of the week. Sunday Night Football on NBC was previously the only property with flex scheduling ability, and Monday Night Football on ESPN is being granted that ability between Weeks 12 and 17 with at least 12 days notice.
“They don’t really care about your in-stadium experience – they don’t,” Parkins said of the league. “As long as you watch on TV, they’re thrilled because that’s where they make a huge, ungodly percentage of their money – more so than any of the other sports.”