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Nikki Medoro Transitions From Life at KGO to YouTube

After 11 years at KGO, Medoro quickly reinvented herself. And I emphasize ‘quickly.’

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As a rule, news and talk show host Nikki Medoro doesn’t play with explosives. That doesn’t mean she can’t recognize when something has been blown to smithereens. 

“They did blow up KGO,” Medoro said. 

On October 6th, KGO didn’t just change their format to Easy Listening, or Rock & Roll, they stripped the station of all previous DNA, and are now a sports betting station, whatever that is. For those scoring at home, it’s now 810 The Spread.

“If you’d have asked me what might have been a logical transition for KGO I might have said syndication,” Medoro said. “They decided to go an entirely different route. But sports betting? Who was asking for this?”

Seems reminiscent of the New Coke, Olestra potato chips, and Godfather III. Who asked for those?

Medoro began as a street reporter in San Francisco in the evenings and graduated to evening anchor with Peter Finch. Later she was an afternoon anchor alongside Brett Burkhart. Medoro also did news for Chip Franklin, then earned her own show, becoming the first woman morning drive-time host in KGO’s history.

Medoro said she understands it was a business decision and they were free to do it. Many stations have switched formats, but KGO scorched the landscape.

“When you ask what blowing up a station means, I think it’s when you take away all the local issues for people that live in the Bay Area. Issues we used to present.” Medoro said. “Listeners are no longer going to get that, at least not in the form we were offering.”

After 11 years at KGO,  Medoro quickly reinvented herself. And I emphasize ‘quickly.’ The Nikki Medoro Show debuted on YouTube on Oct 17th and just completed its second week. Figuratively, the KGO body wasn’t even cold yet.

She decided to act fast as people have short memory. Medoro broadcasts from her home each day. 

“I figured I’d better strike while the iron was hot,” Medoro explained. “I understand how the news cycle works, and I’ve been involved with it for 20 years. If you provide too much time, it’s not that they’ll forget you, but it’s important to feed listeners’ interest in you. Also, you don’t want to lose the groove of doing a show. Even when I used to go on vacation from my show, I’d come back rusty.”

Medoro said her heart is warmed by how patient listeners have been with her fledgling YouTube show. At the same time, she’s not afraid to say it’s hard work. 

“I’m the host, technical person, sound person. I bring on guests. It’s a whole new world for me,” Medoro explained.  “This endeavor couldn’t be bigger for me at this point. I guess I could have taken a month off. But my former co-worker Mark Thompson, (who also took shrapnel from the detonation)  didn’t take any time off. He has more resources than I have and more background in doing this.”

Medoro has been often asked why she decided to go the YouTube route. 

“I imagine there are a few reasons,” she said. “I used to co-anchor news in the morning and did my own show for years. This way I can still do what I love to do.  This is really a new experience from every angle.”

Radio is clearly in the woman’s blood. Even if some huge station came calling, Medoro said she’d have to give it some thought. 

“If a job offer came in and they told me I’d be doing overnights, cover a beat, be a court reporter, I’d have to say no,” she said. “I’ve done all that. I like leading a talk show, bringing on guests, interacting with guests and listeners. I’m creating my own content right now. I control where it goes. Some friends have asked if I’d considered going into television. My answer is ‘no,’ I’ve been a radio girl all my life.”

Gambles, pardon the obvious pun, were made when management dumped the long-serving format of KGO. Medoro admits she probably could have read the writing on the wall. Things were set in motion a long time ago.

“I was at KGO for 11 years. Since day one, I started sensing they were making some changes. They began letting longtime hosts go. I’ve been dealing with that kind of stuff all along. I imagine I always sensed something was coming, but it wasn’t verbalized. I’ve never been laid off in my career. I know in radio, that isn’t very common.”

That’s the understatement of 2022.

Medoro said her YouTube show is still in its infancy, clutching a pacifier. There is a huge learning curve in this area. Just because she’d like to do something on the show doesn’t mean it can happen in an instant. 

“Will I do callers again? If I can figure out how to make it work I will,” Medoro said. “Something like that sounds a lot easier than it is, the technical bar can be pretty high. I’m alone. I don’t have a screener so I’m not going to open lines up to everyone. There’s an art to bringing on callers. If I’m headed in one direction on the show, I can’t afford to have a caller derail that. At the same time, I welcome counter-opinions.”

On her radio shows, Medoro said there were times when a caller would bring something up she liked and could run with. 

“I can tell you I’m working a lot harder for my current two-hour show than I had to for my old four-hour show on KGO. If I can find some more funding I’ll be able to do more.”

Medoro has lived in the Bay Area all her life. She said when she was a student at San Jose State University, she always said her dream was to have her own show on KGO Radio. Dreams come true and that one lasted for several years. She fulfilled her dream of talking with people in the Bay Area, the hometown she loves. Not a lot of people can say that.

“I love that I’ve been here all my life. When I talk about Bay issues, people know I’ve been here. I know the street they are talking about, the neighborhood and its history. It’s a shared history.”

Will we see more stations suffering a similar KGO fate? 

“I think it matters where you are geographically,” Medroro said. “If you’re in a large market, you’re competing with a lot of information. I guess the KGO experience could be a barometer for the rest of radio. If you haven’t already found a way to be at people’s fingertips, you’re already losing as information is so readily available. You might have the headlines, news and traffic from other sources. But radio is still the place you can talk about it. I suppose we should have had an FM presence, that might have made a difference.”

One of the interesting things about her show, Medoro said, is it appears she’s reaching a wider audience. 

“Watchers have reached out to me to say their own kids are listening. I got into radio because it is immediate. Just crack open the microphone and go. Bring something to the table right away. Are we seeing the demise of AM radio? Possibly. The medium? I don’t think so.”

She said she talked with Thompson a bit about pairing up on a YouTube show.

“It made sense because we share a newscaster, Kim McCallister. I’ve had Chip Franklin on a few times. I used to work with Chip, filled in for him. He taught me how to become a radio host. I’d react to what he was talking about. I had to set this up quickly as I really had no other choice.” Medoro said former colleague Mark Thompson launched a YouTube show a week before she did. She was able to see how it all worked. 

Medoro said she and Mark Thompson both have the same sponsor, Bay area attorney Steve Moskowitz. 

“He’s the guy to call if you ever have any tax questions,” she smiles. “Mark has a producer and an engineer. We have some consistent money coming in. I share mine with Kim McCallister. People can donate during the show. Is the cushion the same as my salary was at KGO? Not by a long shot. 

“I already knew about editing and had Adobe Audition,” she said. “I had to learn how to put up photos. I purchased a better camera, got better lighting.

I’m on daily life from noon to 2 pm. That satisfied uber-fans. You can obviously watch it anytime you want. A lot of fans from my KGO days will message me throughout the day and say they waited until the next morning to listen to a show, they were saving the experience. I also think it’s interesting that listeners are starting to get to know each other through the chat component of YouTube. That’s something new to the equation. They get a live text chat going. It’s not the same as taking calls, and I miss that.”

Her callers on KGO were regulars. Medoro knew personal things about them, laughed with them. She’d love to get back to callers and will be trying to put that together.

She also knew on her YouTube show that Kim McCallister was a necessity. 

“Kim and I grew very close on KGO. We were in the same booth for hours. Mark was on right after me, but we didn’t spend a lot of time together. I trust Kim. She’s been doing news forever. I’ll chime in during her newscast if I’m shocked about something. I used to do her job and it’s fun. The two hours seem to fly by between us. In between, it’s a lot of prep.”

Would she ever leave the Bay area? 

“My husband has a great job here and loves it. My kids are here. My daughter is going to start high school, both of my parents are here. I don’t know if I could leave everybody. I have a talk show, I have an opinion. I’ll talk about the facts as I know them. I’m not going to spew lies.”

Medoro said these days we have national personalities like Anderson Cooper or Sean Hannity and we can’t always identify when they’re a journalist and when they’re being a commentator.”

Hannity is a journalist? It must be Halloween. 

“Anderson Cooper will cover Hurricane Ian, then sit behind a desk and be a commentator. It can blur the line.”

Life happens. Life goes on. Her YouTube show has taken Medoro into a new career direction, but it’s also a much-needed distraction. 

“I know I can grow this business through baby steps,” she said. “It will become more seamless, more professional. I’d like to grow it. That takes consistency. I’ve got to make sure I put up fresh content every day. I imagine on holidays I can put up some kind of rerun.“ 

On the lighter side of the past few weeks, Medoro said a scary day like Halloween is a welcome break. 

“Haunted houses and horror movies make me happy,” she said. “I like everything scary, the emotion of it all. I’m not an Eli Roth film type of person. I like scary music. I like to be scared. It depends what I’m in the mood for. A new movie titled Smile made me jump, or what I like to say gave me a ‘jump scare’. I do like thrillers.”

I asked Medoro if she’d start prepping for the next week after we hung up.

“I have to put on my ‘mom’ hat after we hang up,” she said. “I’ve got to pick up the kids. There are so many hours in the day. Then I have to get some costumes ready. My daughter is going to be one of the pinball machine aliens from Toy Story. My son is going to be a stick of butter. I asked how he came up with that costume idea. “You tell me,” she joked.

After a month of scary things; losing your job, creating another in a new medium, Halloween haunted houses, it would take a lot to frighten Medoro. 

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After Departure of Chuck Todd, What is the Future of ‘Sunday Shows’?

The best political interview show on TV isn’t on Sunday morning. Perhaps embarrassing to us in the actual field of journalism is that the best questioner and keen fact-checker on the fly is Jon Stewart.



The tenure of Chuck Todd as Twitter’s favorite Sunday morning punching bag has ended. NBC’s political director and host of Meet The Press announced his departure yesterday, after a nearly 10-year run, claiming he is leaving “too soon” rather than “too late”.

Todd, who sat in the front row of the White House Press Room while I filled a similar seat at ABC, will now anchor a streaming show and contribute election analysis. He will be replaced by another former White House press corps colleague Kristen Walker in September.

Under Todd’s leadership, MTP has gone from first place to 3rd, and he has become the butt of many jokes and criticisms from those who do not believe he pushes back enough on lies and misinformation uttered to his face by politicians. The funniest line and perhaps sharpest critique came at last year’s White House Correspondents Dinner when comedian Trevor Noah called him out from the stage. “Chuck Todd, how are you?…I’d ask a follow-up, but you don’t know what that is”.

Unfortunately, that is a common malady among my former colleagues, and Mr. Todd is perhaps not the worst at fact-checking in real-time. But as pointed out, he once replied to Peter Navarro, a Donald Trump sycophant and prolific disinformation specialist with “I take your point”, after, without evidence, Navarro accused Democrats of eagerly rooting against the American economy to cripple Trump’s re-election attempt.

Todd can take some solace in the fact that if you read media critics and Twitter he is also disliked by right-wing “fake news” proponents who claim he shows bias against Republicans. Our old adage among journalists was if both sides hate you, you are doing something right. And the longing for Tim Russert is overplayed because we never got to see how Tim would have done up against the avalanche of disinformation that is today’s politics.

So what’s next? The Sunday shows are my favorite part of the week. The panels are civil and well thought out. Meet The Press has some very smart people from the left and right and unlike CNN or Fox, none who refuse to acknowledge the integrity of the 2020 election. ABC was often more entertaining, if not more informative with panels featuring Rahm Emanuel, now Donna Brazille on the left, and Chris Christie on the right. Face the Nation concentrates more on policy and less on pure politics.

But the best political interview show on TV isn’t on Sunday morning. Perhaps embarrassing to us in the actual field of journalism is that the best questioner and keen fact-checker on the fly is Jon Stewart, a comedian who hosts his own show The Problem with Jon Stewart on Apple TV.

Best example: Stewart’s interview with Oklahoma state senator Nathan Dahm, who has proposed less gun control and a ban on drag shows. It started with a simple question: “You want to ban drag show readings to children. Why?” Answer: “The government does have a responsibility to protect children.” Stewart’s clap back: “What’s the leading cause of death among children in this country? Here is a hint, it’s not drag shows.”

It’s not that hard to do. Stewart was not busy thinking about his next question or trying to fit too much into the interview. He prepared, had facts at hand, and listened to the state senator’s reply. Then calmly shut him down.

Here’s hoping my friend Kristen Walker watches a few of Stewart’s interviews. He routinely chops through talking points and knocks politicians off balance because he is quick, smart, and familiar with the concept of a follow-up.

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Media Calling Out Anti-Catholic Bigotry

It’s been hard not to notice these attacks on Catholics, and Christians more broadly, as they have spread across the country.

Rick Schultz



As most Americans watch in disgust, some corporations and ringleaders continue creating division and animosity through one woke cause, initiative, or month after another. Meanwhile, many are ignoring a large group of Americans who have been increasingly targeted and disparaged. And their plight receives barely a mention in the mainstream media.

This past weekend, Fox and Friends aired a segment focusing on the escalating vitriol and violence aimed at the Catholic Church. Such persecutions of Christians are not historically new; what is new is the apparent acquiescence of certain political and cultural leaders, as the frequency of such events continues to increase.

Rachel Campos-Duffy began the Fox News segment by laying out the facts as they stand in mid-2023.

“Attacks on Catholic churches on the rise, and yet the charges are being reduced,” Campos-Duffy began. “In California, five were arrested in 2020 for felony vandalism, after tearing down the St. Junipero Serra statue, and now they only face misdemeanors. The DOJ is recommending zero jail time for a transgender person who caused over $30,000 in damage, smashing church windows. Even spray painting an employee’s face in Washington State. And a D.C. man won’t see time behind bars after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor for destroying three Saint statues at a Catholic school. So why are these incidents not being treated as hate crimes?”

Added to these points is the increased frequency in which Catholic Church-goers have seen a police presence as they arrive for mass. Tommy Valentine, Director of the CatholicVote Accountability Project, joined the program to offer his insight.

“Explain to me why vandalism, acts of violence directed towards Catholics are being treated differently than, say, other faiths or other religions?” Campos-Duffy asked.

“Thank you for shining a light on this issue, because we certainly aren’t hearing about it from the Biden administration,” Valentine said. “Look, we live in an era where we see condemnation of bigotry in most forms. Just last month there were a couple of mosques that were vandalized. The Biden Administration spoke out immediately against that, and we agreed, a place of worship should never be vandalized in this country.”

Valentine went on to mention a couple of recent catalysts for attacks against the Catholic Church. And although he didn’t mention the media specifically, many feel it was they who continue to fan the flames whenever possible.

“What we’re seeing is over 300 instances of attacks of violence and vandalism against Catholic churches in the United States over the last three years, in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. And then another surge of 160 attacks since the leak of the Dobbs decision last May. And so I think what’s really troubling to a lot of Americans in the pews is that they feel like their places of worship are not safe. And when the federal government does get involved, it’s to advocate for reducing or dropping charges against these criminals as you mentioned,” Valentine pointed out.

The director was clear in his estimation of where the blame belongs. In this case, he feels local police and authorities have done all they can to help quell violence and prevent vicious events.

“We’ve only been able to document instances of arrest in about a quarter of these attacks. And it’s not because local law enforcement is not willing to do the work. It’s that they do not have the resources on the local level to combat what is really a nationwide surge,” he told Campos-Duffy. “And so we’ve been calling on the federal government to devote the appropriate resources to these attacks against churches over the last two years. And they just haven’t been willing to do it.” 

“It seems counterintuitive, right? That the Biden administration wouldn’t care. Here we have Joe Biden, a Catholic. He campaigned carrying rosary beads. He likes to talk about his faith. Somebody who wrote an article about his Catholicism got some sort of big, fancy prize. So it’s something he touts, and yet he’s not doing anything about it,” Campos-Duffy noted. “I’m sure CatholicVote has looked at this. What do you attribute this rise in anti-Catholic hate around the country and even in other parts of the world? What is driving it?”

“Well, unfortunately, I just think we have a climate where everything is politicized. And it’s also a spiritual battle,” Valentine said. “I’ve documented all these cases. I’ve examined them individually. I’ve talked to a lot of the pastors of churches that have been attacked. And I know of one parish in Maryland where a gentleman came in the church, set everything on the altar on fire that could be set on fire, and also set fire to a confessional door.”

It’s been hard not to notice these attacks on Catholics, and Christians more broadly, as they have spread across the country. In fact, many popular celebrities and athletes have spoken out against the recent decision by a Major League Baseball team to host a radical, bigoted group at one of their baseball games.

“I think what you’re seeing with this story about the Dodgers honoring an anti-Catholic hate group, which just makes a travesty of our faith and commits the most sacrilegious outrages that they can imagine. I think Catholics can’t help but feel under siege,” he concluded. “And it’s something where if you can’t feel safe going to church in the morning on Sunday, that’s a really troubling place to be in America that we haven’t seen since the 1800s.”

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Nick Kayal Moved From Sports to News, And is Seeing Results at 1210 WPHT

“We hit the ground running from day one, and our audience has grown month-by-month against different demos and platforms.”

Ryan Hedrick



During the pandemic, Nick Kayal, a former sports talk show host, fearlessly pivoted his career to news/talk. This bold move resulted in numerous changes, including his current role as the highly regarded host of 1210 WPHT’s Kayal and Company show in Philadelphia.

With his vibrant and impassioned approach to news/talk, he’s spearheading the evolution of radio to cater to the next generation’s needs.

1210 WPHT stands out for its dedication to connecting with audiences through a variety of platforms. Greg Stocker, the station’s brand manager and a popular personality on Kayal and Company, has led this effort. The station has become a favorite among listeners of all ages, thanks to its focus on live and local programming from 6:00 AM-7:00 PM. As a result, 1210 WPHT has established itself as a significant player in the Philadelphia radio market.

In a recent interview with Barrett News Media, Kayal shared essential perspectives on the advantages of AM radio and the powerful influence of talk radio on Philadelphia’s story. Kayal highlighted 1210 WPHT’s success in captivating audiences with exciting content and attracting diverse listeners.

Ryan Hedrick: Many listeners know you from your background in sports radio. What prompted your transition from sports to news/talk, and how has your experience been? Have there been any challenges or rewarding aspects in making this switch?

Nick Kayal: I was a political science major in college as a freshman back in 2002, so I’ve always had an interest in politics. Then, I got away from that and changed majors to criminal justice and pre-law. I started getting really into politics right around 2015 as [Donald] Trump announced that he was going to run for president, and a lot of my political views always seem to gradually slide from moderate Democrat, to moderate Republican or conservative Republican.

Many things during the pandemic opened my eyes, from the lack of freedom to the control of the government trying to restrict its citizens, and the imposed mask mandates. Equally important is the whole cancel culture movement. The woke aspect of society and people constantly being offended, trying to shut you down because they disagree. Much of that also drove me because I’m a big believer in the First Amendment and free speech, and I don’t believe in silencing opposing viewpoints.

RH: Did you encounter any difficulties or positive experiences when making this change?

NK: It has been gratifying because many great, talented individuals have surrounded me. The feedback has been mostly positive, and all of that has been rewarding. We hit the ground running from day one, and our audience has grown month-by-month against different demos and platforms.

The only challenge, initially, was once I got the job having to stay quiet about it for a few months and then make it public and expecting some pushback from a bunch of liberals that were going to be mad because I was doing so-called conservative talk. Other than a few people I have a good relationship with unfollowing me on Twitter because they didn’t want to see my political views, there haven’t been any challenges. I was put into a situation to succeed.

RH: WPHT has a long history in Philadelphia. What makes the station unique, and how do you strive to connect with the local audience?

NK: What makes WPHT unique right now is that this is the first time in the station’s history that we’ve been live and local 6:00 AM-7:00 PM. We have four different amazing shows. We don’t have four shows that all sound identical and are formatted the same. The hosts are not trying to be Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity.

In the morning, we do a modern-day news show for news talk. If you’ve ever watched (Fox News’) The Five, that’s what we do. We hit on the big stories; we have personalities; we talk about pop culture; it’s that kind of variety.

Dawn [Stensland] does her show; she’s also my news anchor and a TV legend in Philadelphia. She does more of what’s breaking and developing. Dom [Giordano] is on from noon-3:00 PM and really gets into the crime issues. Rich [Zeoli] does his thing in the afternoon almost like what he did in the morning, minus the supporting cast he once had, and of course, he’s a star in the industry.

As far as connecting with the locals in Philadelphia, it’s no secret. If you are a fraud, the audience will know it. I have a blueprint, and it’s called COPE. It stands for content, opinion, personality, and entertainment. If you check off those four each day, the results should come.

RH: As a morning host, what are the critical elements of a successful morning show? How do you keep the content engaging and relevant for your listeners?

NK: When you are doing mornings, you must be entertaining. How you define entertaining is up to each host. The last thing I want to do is do a 20-minute dissertation on the debt ceiling; my job is to wake my audience up, not to put them back to sleep. I don’t do anything long-winded.

In my opening segment, after we set the show-up and chit-chat, I do a piece at 6:10 called the “Big Take”. It’s five to seven minutes long, and that’s kind of my opening monologue. I used audio and video. After that, we hit on a couple of stories, and I get Dawn [Stensland] and Greg [Stocker] ‘s opinions on it, and whatever organically develops from that is how I keep the show moving.

We have a show sheet, but we are not beholden to it. It comes down to creating a game plan and letting your radio instincts take over.  

RH: What role does talk radio play in shaping public opinion and fostering community dialogue?

NK: I’ve always been torn on shaping the narrative. I go into a show with my opinion each day. I try not to watch other people’s shows too much or listen to others because I don’t want those opinions to corrupt my views. Regarding shaping narratives, I’m not sitting there telling you what to think. You can agree or disagree.

Still, one thing I promised I would never do is to be an apologist for the Republican party or conservatives in general or MAGA Republicans. My job is not to improve your feelings but to get ratings, and I take the approach of getting ratings and eff the feelings.

RH: Can you share any memorable experiences or interviews you’ve had as a morning host? Is there a particular moment that stands out to you in your career?

NK: We have not gone heavy on interviews because we have a three-mic show between Dawn, me, and Greg. I can not give one specific interview.

Indeed, in sports, there were prominent people that I spoke with. When I was in the South, I talked to Nick Saban. Things may be different in 2023-24 if we may have somebody like [Ron] DeSantis on the show or [Donald] Trump, Tim Scott, or whoever that will be.

But so far, we have steered clear of interviews. To this date, the one thing that I am most proud of is the money we raised for the Travis Manion Foundation. Every year we do an annual radiothon, and this year we set a record in the mornings when we raised $92,000 in four hours.

RH: How do you see the future of talk radio and morning shows evolving in an era of rapidly changing media consumption habits? What strategies are you implementing to adapt to these changes?

NK: The way we view it, we are no longer a talk radio station. We are an audio and video content distribution platform or network of platforms. People listen to us when they want or when they have the time. They might be listening 45 minutes behind on a delay on the app or just catching up. They might go to the website and download the podcasts. Or they may go to YouTube and watch all four hours live on our channel.

We’ve had people tweeting us pictures of their smart TV’s where they’ve had YouTube up, and they’re watching us in their living room on their 65-inch flat screen, and it looks like we are doing a TV show. We are a variety platform now.

RH: What are some key advantages of AM radio over other mediums, and how can stations effectively communicate these advantages to listeners and advertisers?

NK: As crucial as ratings are, you will only last long with the advertisers and the revenue. It’s a matter of selling people on the value of AM and, indeed, to the automakers. AM radio is still how people get weather alerts, travel advisories, etc. There’s a human safety element. AM radio reaches over 40 million Americans weekly, well over 10 percent of the country. We still get a massive amount of people.

The biggest challenge is attracting the Gen-Z listener. I wonder if you can. That’s another audience we can tap into. There will always be that demand for talk radio because you know you can never replace live and local personalities. News/talk is expensive to operate when you’re live and local, but the value remains.

RH: Lastly, are there any exciting upcoming projects or initiatives you’re working on that you’d like to share with your listeners and readers?

NK: More than anything, our brand, WPHT, is where free speech lives. We encourage dialogue, discourse, and discussions, and, indeed, debate. We have some people in our audience who are not conservatives. We have people that disagree with us. The great thing about WPHT is that we offer well-rounded conversations and various shows.

We have some other things in the works that our Brand Manager, Greg Stocker, has been pushing for, and hopefully, in the weeks and months, we can get some of this rolled out. A lot of people say the station has never sounded better. Greg Stocker has only been in his position as Brand Manager for over a year, and he’s taken the station to new heights.

Within our doors and walls at Audacy in Philadelphia, there are very happy with how things are going at the station.

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