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WDFN switches from sports programming to Black Information Network

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

After years of broadcasting sports news programs, 1130 AM WDFN The Fan has transitioned to Black Information Network, a 24-hour news service dedicated to the Black perspective. 

The format change started Monday night with speeches and audio vignettes from African American figures such as former U.S. President Barack Obama, talk show host Oprah Winfrey and rights activist Malcolm X. Tuesday at noon, an official, pre-recorded announcement was broadcast. 

"Today, right now, it's the birth of a completely new network," said Charlamagne tha God, national radio personality and co-host of "The Breakfast Club" with DJ Envy and Angela Yee. 

Steve Harvey

"This is the launch of the first and only all news audio network ... for and by the Black community," said host, actor and comedian Steve Harvey. 

The change is part of a national launch of Black Information Network by iHeartMedia. In addition to being distributed through the iHeartRadio mobile app, the network is also broadcast on radio stations in several cities in addition to Detroit, according to Variety

Black Information Network is overseen by radio veterans Tony Coles and Tanita Myers. Coles said in a press release that the network will "fill a void by providing continual news and objective information with a full focus on the Black community."

“We began developing our 24/7 Black news source last year, and events of the last few weeks, especially the senseless and tragic death of George Floyd, highlighted the need for this network," said Coles. "Now is the time for our voice to be heard, and I could not be more proud of our work and the team we are assembling at BIN."

“We are pleased and proud to support the launch of BIN: Black Information Network by contributing resources that will have the greatest impact – our reach, our multiple platforms, our technology infrastructure and our broad, in-depth relationships with consumers,” said iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman. “We are honored to be joined by some of the most important companies in the world that are also committed to this mission.” 

Two radio-related outlets had signaled a change was in the works, reporting on their websites Monday that WDFN would be ending its sport radio format.

According to RadioInsight.com, owner iHeartMedia is preparing to launch a new network on at least 15 of its stations. WDFN was among the stations nationwide "stunting" with programming targeting African American audiences, the website reported.

Lary Sorensen was the first morning anchor for sports talk WDFN when it debuted in 1994.

Detroit Sports Nation cited a Facebook post Monday from Mark Wilson, who formerly worked at WDFN and said on his page that the station "will be part of iHeart Media’s flip of 15 properties to the 'Black Information Network.' Mostly in major markets, they will produce radio targeted to African American audiences.  No doubt a smart move at this time especially considering stations like WDFN were floundering big time."

WDFN-AM launched in 1994. It relies mostly on syndicated sports shows. Over the years, the station has featured programs by Detroit News sports columnist Bob Wojnowski and former staff columnist Terry Foster.