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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.

Jim Cryns

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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. 

Sports Radio News

Jon Marks Working Without At Contract at WIP

WIP is currently in the midst of changes to its lineup due to the upcoming departure of legendary morning host Angelo Cataldi.

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94WIP afternoon host Jon Marks has revealed he is working without a contract.

A report from CrossingBroad.com claims Marks mentioned the development on the air two weeks ago, and Marks confirmed the news when the outlet asked him for comment.

He did not, however, wish to say much more about the situation. WIP is currently in the midst of changes to its lineup due to the upcoming departure of legendary morning host Angelo Cataldi.

In late October, the station announced the current midday show of Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie would replace Cataldi in the mornings. Longtime morning co-host Al Morganti will remain with the station but will no longer be heard in mornings once DeCamara and Ritchie take over. Anchor Rhea Hughes will stay in the morning timeslot.

The station has yet to name a new midday show to replace DeCamara and Ritchie. Marks is currently teamed with former NFL linebacker Ike Reese from 2:00-6:00 PM. The two were paired together in 2017.

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Sports Radio News

Boomer Esiason Wonders If Joe Buck Was Criticized Before Energetic Monday Night Football Open

“Maybe he was doing that emphatically because somebody criticized him as flat or something.”

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Boomer Esiason

Monday Night Football got off to an energetic start last night, with the usually reserved Joe Buck showcasing an exuberant attitude while discussing the weather and the fact that the calendar has already flipped to December. WFAN morning host Boomer Esiason wondered if there was an ulterior motive to Buck’s raucous start.

In addition to the energy exuded by the Monday Night Football announcer, Buck nearly howeld in excitement as the network showcased Tom Brady’s usual scream of “Let’s F—ing Go!”, by shouting “Yeah! Let’s go! I can’t say one of those words!”

The excitement was noticed by Boomer & Gio update anchor Jerry Recco who played the audio for the show, with Boomer Esiason wondering if Buck was proving a point to someone.

“Maybe somebody told him he was too downcast the previous broadcast,” Esiason wondered. “Maybe he was doing that emphatically because somebody criticized him as flat or something.”

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Sports Radio News

Mike Conti: ‘Appaling’ That ‘Some Creep’ Posted Bob Rathbun Video Online

“He is a true gentleman. He is a friend to all of us. It was hard for me to do the broadcast last night having watched that.”

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Bob Rathbun, the television voice of the Atlanta Hawks, suffered a scary medical emergency on Monday night and it was captured on live television. The video then spread across the internet thanks to Twitter.

Mike Conti, the program director at 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, is part of the station’s coverage of the Hawks. He admitted that when he saw the video, he had trouble getting in the right headspace to do the game.

“Bob’s a friend to all of us,” he said Tuesday morning as he talked to John & Hugh, the station’s morning show. “He is a true gentleman. He is a friend to all of us. It was hard for me to do the broadcast last night having watched that.” 

Conti noted that he was not watching TV when the incident happened. He saw the video on social media and is not happy about that.

“Some creep decided to post the video online, which I thought was appalling, but I could not avoid the video. It came up on my Twitter.”

The video is indeed disturbing. Awful Announcing posted the video on Twitter Monday night, but deleted it after backlash from members of the Atlanta media.

Bally Sports Southeast issued a statement after the game saying that Bob Rathbun was treated for dehydration. Conti reported that he had spoken to Rathbun, who is expected to fully recover.

“He’s good. He’s okay,” Conti said. “I don’t want to say too much just to respect Bob’s privacy, but I think Bob would be okay with me saying Bob is okay.”

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