KYW News Anchor Carol MacKenzie Files Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Against Station

Plus, longtime Billy Penn editor Danya Henninger breaks up with her media outlet.

KYW news anchor Carol MacKenzie, who is suing KYW for gender discrimination

KYW news anchor Carol MacKenzie, who is suing KYW for gender discrimination, as seen in a KYW promo video

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KYW News Anchor Carol MacKenzie Files Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Against Station

If you’re a loyal listener of KYW Newsradio, you no doubt know the voice of Carol MacKenzie. The Lower Merion Township resident has been a KYW on-air talent since 2003, back in the days when KYW was just 1060 on the AM dial. But now MacKenzie has filed a federal lawsuit against KYW alleging gender and age discrimination.

“For 20 years, KYW has systemically paid MacKenzie less than her male and/or younger coworkers,” reads the suit.

According to the complaint MacKenzie filed in Philadelphia’s federal court, KYW paid her $20,000 to $30,000 per year less than similarly situated men at the station for the first several years she was there. When she asked for a raise in 2010, she says her boss implied that KYW “could not have a woman making more than a man,” in the words of the suit. MacKenzie alleges that in 2011, KYW reporters John McDevitt and Ian Bush, who was about 15 years younger than MacKenzie, were making $10,000 more than her each year.

Then in 2014, according to the suit, KYW promoted Brandon Brooks to the same position that MacKenzie held, and MacKenzie claims that at one point, KYW was paying Brooks $30,000 more than her to do the same job.

In 2019, MacKenzie says she complained to KYW about this inequity and that management gave mer a modest bump. Less than a year later, KYW asked its top-paid anchors and reporters to take a pay cut due to the pandemic. She says that took her annual salary down by $20,000. But then KYW hired Denise Nakano, who is about 15 years younger than MacKenzie, and started paying her $20,000 more than MacKenzie. Around the same time, alleges the suit, KYW was paying anchor Jay Scott Smith $20,000 more than it was paying MacKenzie.

In late 2021, while the union representing MacKenzie was reportedly conducting an investigation of KYW’s compensation practices, KYW offered MacKenzie a renewal of her employment agreement with salary offers of $137,000 for 2022, $140,000 for 2023, and $143,000 for 2024. But MacKenzie refused the offers because she believed KYW was offering her “far less” than her male counterparts and the significantly younger Nakano.

But then in early 2022, MacKenzie says KYW increased their offers by $10,000 to $13,000 per year for those three years. She accepted the offer but believes that KYW has been discriminating against her for years by paying her much less than the aforementioned men and Nakano. She is seeking unspecified back pay, interest, attorney fees, and damages.

The company that owns KYW declined to comment for this story.

Longtime Billy Penn Editor Danya Henninger Resigns

Speaking of shakeups in the Philly journalism community … Yesterday, I heard that longtime Billy Penn editor Danya Henninger was no longer with the media outlet. Well, that’s not exactly true.

Billy Penn editor Danya Henninger

Billy Penn editor Danya Henninger (photo via Billy Penn)

Reached on Wednesday morning, Henninger told me that she has submitted her official letter of resignation but that her last day at Billy Penn will be December 1st. She wouldn’t elaborate on the reasons for her departure, saying she’s “not ready to speak about it yet.”

People come and people go from media outlets in Philly all the time. But Henninger’s resignation feels a bit different. She turned Billy Penn into something. She lived and breathed it. Her departure can’t be a good sign.

Local Talent

The Eagles players behind the upcoming Christmas album just released another single. “Fairytale of Philadelphia” is an adaptation of “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl. Singing it? None other than brothers Travis and Jason Kelce. No, they do not get an assist from Taylor Swift. But you can tell Jason is really giving the song his all. Check it out.

By the Numbers

280: Additional charges filed against the owner of a Delco headstone company accused of taking money from people but never delivering grave markers for their loved ones. We’re talking about $200,000 in Delco alone. There are accusations coming out of other counties as well.

38: Pedestrians killed in hit-and-run accidents in Philadelphia so far this year. If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. With a month and a half left to go in 2023, we’re already more than double the number of hit-and-run fatalities from 2019.

$15: What this turkey-sized soft pretzel turkey will cost you. Yes, it’s a soft pretzel turkey. I don’t know what else to tell you.

And from the Eight-Is-Enough Sports Desk

Last night, the Sixers played a second straight game against the Indiana Pacers, this time as part of the All-Ugly-Court Tourney. We were coming off an eighth straight win, and Tyrese Maxey was coming off his 50-point performance. The court did not disappoint in its hideousness; in a pregame interview, coach Nick Nurse said it was “colorful.” Yeah, that it was.

Indiana got off to a quick start, perhaps nursing a grudge. An Embiid floater at the five-minute mark gave us our first lead, but the Pacers closed the first quarter on top, 36-30. Maxey had only taken two shots to that point — and missed them both. But he nailed a three to kick off the second quarter. Still, thanks to a bunch of threes — they’d already sunk 11 halfway through — the Pacers were up 63-54 at the half. Tyrese Haliburton was having a killer game, with 20 points to lead everybody. Did we mention the court?

Halfway through the third, a Melton three made it a five-point Pacers lead. An Embiid two – three-points! Then tied up again! A last-second foul on Melton put the Pacers up 95-94 going into the fourth. Tobias Harris took a scary foul from Bruce Brown two minutes in and had to leave the game. But he came back in and forced a back-court violation immediately — then scored a bucket, too. A Maxey triple tied it at 101, and he hit two foul shots to give us our first lead since that first quarter.

There was a long pause as the officials reviewed — what? Neither Kate Scott nor Alaa Abdelnaby had a clue. “This is a great way to bring a really fun ballgame to a screeching halt,” Kate noted. Suddenly, the Pacers were up six with 4:33 left. A Melton three cut that in half, and two Embiid foul shots had it down to one. But just like that, nothing was dropping for us. That goddamn Haliburton hit another three — his seventh.

Final: 132-126, and an end to the win streak. Bummer. But you know, they were never gonna win them all the rest of the way. Tonight, we’re at home for another rematch with the Celtics, 7:30. Normal court, thank God.

BTW, poor Ben Simmons is out of the Nets lineup indefinitely with “nerve impingement.” Okay, Ben.

And in College Hoops?

In last night’s games, the La Salle Explorers buried the Bucknell Bison at home, 69-57; Temple’s Owls squeaked past the hosting Drexel Dragons, 66-64, and at St. Joe’s, the Hawks manhandled the Stonehill College Skyhawks, 100-56.

All Philly Today sports coverage is provided by Sandy Hingston.