Ben and Woods
Steven Woods (left) and Ben Higgins

San Diego sports talk radio station KWFN 97.3-FM The Fan, operated by Philadelphia-based Entercom Communications, announced that Ben Higgins and Steven Woods will fill the 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. weekday slot left open when Dan Sileo exited in April.

“Ben & Woods” will begin on The Fan Monday, June 10. John Kintera has been fill-in host on the morning show since Sileo’s departure. Producer Paul Reindl will accompany the show to its new destination.

Previously, “Ben & Woods” were morning hosts on former crosstown sports talk outlet XPRS “The Mighty 1090,” prior to operator Broadcast Company of the Americas losing its signal lease with the Mexican owners. BCA, operators of three San Diego radio stations that aired over Mexico-based transmitters, closed its doors in April. “Ben &Woods” had debuted on XPRS in March 2018.

“In a short time, Ben & Woods has emerged as a highly-rated show in San Diego and will be a great addition to our popular local lineup,” said Bob Bolinger, senior vice president and market manager for Entercom San Diego. “Their experience in this market will help them seamlessly succeed in their new roles with our station.”

“We’re incredibly excited to return to the airwaves and join the lineup at 97.3 The Fan,” said Higgins, “The Padres find themselves right in the thick of the standings and Steve and I can’t wait to give our fans a reliable source for the latest news each and every morning.”

Higgins, a graduate of Torrey Pines High School class of 1993, has hosted several radio talk shows on local stations covering both sports and current events, in addition to his duties as sports director for 10News KGTV-TV since 2002. He began his broadcasting career in 1997 and has covered the MLB and NFL playoffs, NCAA tournament and made four trips to the Little League World Series.

“We love talking Padres baseball and are lucky to bring our morning fun to the flagship station,” said Woods. “We would also like to say thank you to our listeners for all the incredible support recently.”

Woods, a veteran morning radio host with an expansive knowledge of all things radio, is returning to Entercom. He has been heard the past nine years in the San Diego market on a number of stations with a variety of music formats. At Entercom, Woods was paired with Chris Cantore on KBZT-FM from October 2015 to early 2017.

Entercom San Diego operates five stations in San Diego, including KWFN 97.3-FM, KBZT 94.9-FM, KYXY 96.5-FM, KSON 103.7-FM and KXSN Sunny 98.1-FM.

Taxpayers Group Recognizes NBC 7 for Water Bills Press Coverage

The San Diego County Taxpayers Association, a watchdog organization that promotes accountable, cost-effective and efficient government, honored KNSD-TV NBC 7 San Diego and the Voice of San Diego with a Media Watchdog award at its recent Golden Watchdog and Fleece Awards, held May 16 at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel.

The taxpayers association said the NBC 7 Responds Team, including Bob Hansen, Dorian Hargrove and Tom Jones, along with VOSD reporter Ry Rivard, uncovered a “glitch” in faulty meter readers that led to billing errors and higher water bills for San Diego Public Utilities Department customers. “After disproving several allegations made by the Public Utilities Department, this series of stories prompted an internal review of the agency that culminated in a structural reorganization,” SDCTA said.

NBC 7 said its investigation, called “Flood of Distrust,” started with a trickle of billing complaints in 2017 and quickly surged into a flood of allegations of over-priced water bills. The station’s reporting prompted three audits ordered by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, including one on the rash of high water bills, another on the smart water meter program and a third on the department’s customer service division. A fourth audit also discovered a major backlog of broken meter boxes and lids.

“I’m incredibly proud of the work our NBC 7 Responds team put into this issue,” said Greg Dawson, VP of news, NBC 7 San Diego. “It started with a billing complaint tip and with a lot of digging and persistence led to the discovery and uncovering of a much larger issue. This is journalism working for its community at its best.”

Other nominees for this year’s Media Watchdog award included KGTV-TV for its coverage of failure in the local foster care system and inewsource for its coverage of business disclosure and transparency in the City of San Diego. The Media Watchdog award was among the taxpayer association’s Golden Watchdog and Fleece Awards that recognized the best and worst in local government spending, decision-making and efficiency.

Black Journalists Celebrate with Scholarship Reception

The San Diego Association of Black Journalists will present four journalism students with scholarships and hear Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery as the keynote speaker at its annual scholarship fundraising reception at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 31, at Qualcomm Pac Center, 10155 Pacific Heights Boulevard. Event emcee will be Omari Fleming of NBC 7 San Diego.

The scholarship recipients include Kylen Dent of Debra Stephens High School, and three San Diego State University students, D’Jatarya Powell, Alejandra Luna and Jonathan Valencia.

SDABJ advocates on behalf of African-American journalists in San Diego. Its goals include increasing the number of black journalists in management positions and encouraging black journalists to pursue entrepreneurship. Since its founding in 1999, the professional association has awarded more than $50,000 for student scholarships.

Admission to the scholarship reception is $35 per person. To RSVP, visit www.sdabj.org.

Mavericks Beach Club in Pacific Beach.

San Diego AMA Mixer by the Beach

The American Marketing Association‘s San Diego chapter will host an evening mixer, called “Marketing by the Beach,” from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 30, at Mavericks Beach Club, 860 Garnet Avenue. Admission, which is $10 for members and $20 for nonmembers, includes appetizers and one drink ticket. The venue is dog friendly. For more information, visit https://sdama.org.

Rick Griffin

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.