Thanks, for the suggestion, Espo77.
The cable is high speed. I changed it out with a shorter cable (premium high speed HDMI) just to be sure. The same problem persists regardless of the cable.
Interestingly, the moment the HDMI was unplugged from the receiver, Pandora started playing. I'm realizing Ieft out important details. I have three Energy speakers (L,R and Center) hooked up to the Pioneer VSX-1019AH receiver.
So when you stream Pandora from the TV (technically provided by DirecTV) it mutes. The apparent work-around are to temporarily switch inputs on the receiver (in my case from HDMI 1 to HDMI 3 and then back to HDMI 1) or as I just discovered, you can also temporarily unplug the HDMI connection.
Obviously neither is satisfactory since it worked in the past just providing as much detail as I can so more technical minds than mine can spot the issue.