Tag: "Ezra Kucharz"

Thursday, March 7, 2013

| March 7, 2013

kassof coRadio Execs Name Internet in Car as Biggest Threat; Arbitron Identifies Markets with Longest AM Drive Commute.  A Mark Kassof & Co. survey of radio station owners, general managers and group executives finds that 41% of them identify internet access in cars as the biggest “threat” to AM/FM radio. arbitron Following in descending order were: Pandora 18%; Sirius/XM Satellite Radio 13%; iPods/mp3 players 13%; podcasts 8%; iHeartRadio 7%; and YouTube 6%.  Coincidentally, Arbitron releases data highlighting the top five commuter markets – that is the five markets in which people spend the most time in their cars on the way to work in the traditional morning drive period.  (You can view this data from Arbitron for all 275 rated markets here.)  Arbitron goes further, indicating 84% of commuters say they use AM/FM radio and shows the radio format of the top-rated station (P 18+ AQH Share; M-F 6AM-10AM) in harrisonmichaelthose five markets.  Regardless, this data goes to show what may seem common sense to experienced broadcasters: The automobile is the most important listening location for AM/FM radio, so obviously any other platform providing audio content is a “threat” to its interests.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison comments, “The interests of radio broadcasters would be better served if we stop obsessing on which outside ‘threats’ to our AM/FM platform were the most dangerous and begin to realize that we ourselves pose the biggest threat to our medium by not using the best and only weapon available to counter that threat: better and unique programming.  Plain and simple, ‘filler’ no longer cuts it.  Nor does giving our product away in order to grow our so-called ‘brands.’  Our insecurity and lack of focus is going to insure that the world ‘likes’ us all the way to the poorhouse!”

neupertchrisWXOS, St. Louis Ups Chris Neupert to PD.  With programmer Kent Sterling exiting “101 ESPN’ to return to Indianapolis, the Hubbard Broadcasting sports talk station promotes assistant PD, executive producer and director of St. Louis Rams Radio operations Chris “Hoss” Neupert to program director.  Hubbard St. Louis market manager John Kijowski says, “Chris Neupert is a versatile player who has added to the entire ‘101ESPN’ team over the course of the past four years, first as the head of Rams Radio operations and then as the assistant program director for the station.  His proven leadership and ability to communicate effectively with the entire ‘101 ESPN’ staff — along with St. Louis’ professional sports teams and executives, and the station’s clients and partners — make him an invaluable asset to our station.”  Neupert previously served as PD at crosstown sports talker KFNS “590 The Fan.”

kilt-am logoRyan McCredden Moves from Tucson to CBS Radio’s Houston Sports Talk Duo.  Programmer Ryan McCredden fills the slot vacated by Gavin Spittle when CBS Radio moved him back to its Dallas operations.  McCredden will program sports talk stations KILT “Sportsradio 610” and KIKK “CBS Sports Radio 650.”  McCredden comes to Texas from Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk KQTH-FM “104.1 The Truth” and sports talk KFFN, in Tucson.  He worked for CBS Radio previously as APD at news/talk KRLD-AM and sports KRLD-FM, Dallas.  CBS Radio SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier states, “Ryan McCredden has that special ability to successfully coach on-air talent, create custom events, and raise the ratings everywhere he has worked.  He is a true professional with a passion for the product and will be a steady leader for the ‘Sportsradio 610’ team.”  McCredden states he’s excited to return to CBS Radio.  “’Sportsradio 610’ has a fantastic lineup of shows and I couldn’t be more excited to work with hosts who are as passionate about radio as I am.  Add in the fact that I get the amazing opportunity to team with the AFC South champion Houston Texans, and we have all the elements needed for producing great radio.”

tritondigitalCBS Radio to Use Triton Digital’s Real-Time Buying Protocol.  Triton Digital calls it a2x and says it is the “industry’s only audience-based programmatic buying solution for online and mobile audio ads.”  Of its service, Triton states, “a2x is the first and only audio advertising exchange that enables advertisers to programmatically buy targeted online and mobile audio inventory in real-time.  The solution provides a system for managing, buying and selling third party advertising campaigns.  The automated, exchange-driven method of buying and selling ad impressions facilitates increased efficiency, eliminating waste and resulting in the highest price for publishers and the greatest efficiency for advertisers.  CBS Radio local digital media president Ezra Kucharz states, “Joining Triton’s a2x exchange will create additional demand for our inventory, providing a great complement to our strong traditional sales channels.  Being able to offer agency trading desk access to our inventory in this manner allows us to participate in a new revenue stream targeting mobile and digital budgets.”

smerconishmichaelMichael Smerconish Leaving AM/FM Radio for Satellite.  Saying the AM/FM talk radio format is “not conducive to the type of program I’m offering,” WYD Media-produced and nationally syndicated talk host Michael Smerconish tells the Associated Press he’s exiting his AM/FM program for a gig at SiriusXM beginning April 15.  Smerconish’s Philadelphia-based program is heard on about 80 affiliates.  In statements highly critical of the current state of news/talk radio,siriusxmSmerconish tells the AP, “I don’t do ideologically driven talk, I do content-driven talk.  I’m not on the air to carry anybody’s water on a day-to-day basis.”  He says he believes programmers are ignoring the fact that their audiences are becoming “too white, too male, too angry and too old” to grow the format into the future.  In a subsequent formal press statement, Smerconish says, “I am ecstatic to join SiriusXM, which I see as the dynamic future of radio broadcasting.  I look forward to talking with SiriusXM’s diverse, national audience, delivering a program that transcends the polarization that exists not only in Washington but in the media and country at large.  It’s time to take the national conversation to a higher plane, and I invite listeners nationwide with views that don’t stack up neatly in any ideological box the way we’re told they should to join.”  The Republican-turned-independent will host a three-hour show beginning at 9:00 am ET on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel.

nms2013logoMichael Smerconish to Deliver Annual “State of the First Amendment Address” at Talkers New York 2013.  Following in the footsteps of colorful and articulate individuals going back almost a quarter century, maverick talk show host Michael Smerconish has been invited by the TALKERS magazine editorial board to deliver this year’s installment of the “State of the First Amendment Address” at Talkers New York 2013 – a position that he has accepted.  It is one of the most important industry speeches of the year, taking place at the opening of the ceremony at which the prestigious Freedom of Speech Award is presented.  This year’s recipient of that award has not yet been determined or named.  The annual State of the First Amendment Award began as an industry tradition in the early 1990s when iconic talk show host Gene Burns (then of WRKO, Boston) gave a dazzling impromptu speech introducing the Freedom of Speech Award recipient that year.  Burns made such a compelling case for the importance of the First Amendment and its connection to talk radio that he was asked to perform the role at the annual conference for several years thereafter.  Since then the speech has been delivered by a diverse roster of luminaries including Al Franken, Michael Medved, Neal Boortz, Alan Colmes, Lou Dobbs, Jim Bohannon and others.  In making the announcement, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “When we invited Michael Smerconish to play this important role, we had no idea that he was about to make the switch from AM/FM radio to satellite.  Considering the circumstances surrounding his bold move, it makes his selection as this year’s presenter more appropriate than ever.”  Smerconish tells TALKERS, “I will be at the conference with bells on.  I deeply believe radio must be open to a wide variety of independent thinking that puts personality and individuality over ideology.”  Talkers New York 2013 takes place on Thursday, June 6 and due to space limitations will be an early sellout open to working media only.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.

josephsmichaelTownsquare Media Names Michael Josephs SVP Corporate Strategy and Development.  In his most recent role with MESA Securities, Michael Josephs was managing director at the media and entertainment-focused investment bank.  At Townsquare Media, he’ll be in charge of the company’s new products and sectors initiatives.

Odds & Sods.  T.J. McCormack is the new host of “Good Morning Westchester” on Whitney Radio’s WVOX, New Rochelle, New York…..WPWR-TV, Chicago is airing a “best-of” version of the morning “Mancow!” show that is a TV simulcast of the 6:00 am to 8:00 am hours of his daily radio program.  The weekend show – “The Mancow Mashup” – is airing Saturdays at 11:30 am on WFLD-TV and Sundays at 11:00 on WPWR-TV.

warnellalFormer WIOD and WINZ, Miami Newsman Al Warnell Dies After Battle with Cancer.  Xavier Alonso “Al” Warnell died at age 62 while in hospice care in his home town of South Bend, Indiana.  Warnell began his 30-year career in South Florida as a reporter at WINZ, Miami in 1976.  He continued his work at WIOD when the crosstown station was acquired by Jacor in 1996.

Ongoing Sequester Battle, Anti-Drones Filibuster, North Korea Nuke Threats, Chavez ‘Post-Mortem,’ Record-Setting Dow, and Redskins Name Court Battle Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/6).  The political battle in Washington over the sequester; Senator Rand Paul’s anti-drones filibuster; North Korean nuclear threats against the U.S.; analysis of Venezuela’s future and the legacy of Hugo Chavez; the record-high Dow; and the court battle over the Washington Redskins’ name were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

| April 5, 2012

Dave Ramsey and Daughter Rachel Cruze Present Program to Sold Out L.A. Audience.  Nationally syndicated money talk radio star Dave Ramsey appeared at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, April 3 before a sold-out crowd of 1,200 for affiliate KFWB, Los Angeles.  The subject of the evening was family and money and Ramsey’s daughter Rachel Cruze appeared with him as Ramsey shared his key principles on handling money and navigating family relationships.  Cruze answered the oft-asked question, “What was it like growing up in Dave Ramsey’s house?”  She also discussed how to teach kids life lessons, like the dangers of debt and the value of saving and giving.  The event benefitted Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles.  KFWB general manager Valerie Blackburn says, “We are thrilled with the event last night.  It’s always a pleasure working with Dave, and adding his daughter Rachel into the mix just made it that much better.  The audience looked terrific – it was a packed house of multi-generational listeners.  KFWB couldn’t have asked for a more successful evening!”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Howard Freshman, KFWB marketing director; Rosemary Hernandez, general sales manager; Dave Ramsey; Rachel Cruze; Valerie Blackburn, general manager; and Andy Ludlum, program director.

CBS Radio Signs on with TuneIn to Make Spoken-Word Content Available Online.  CBS Radio announces it has inked a non-exclusive agreement with TuneIn to have content from its more than 40 news/talk, sports and all-news stations available via smartphones and the web.  CBS local digital media president Ezra Kucharz states, “We have always believed in the value of great local content, and this agreement validates the demand we know exists for our original programming while at the same time creates a new revenue source for the company.  By forging relationships with premiere distribution services such as TuneIn, CBS Radio will significantly grow its audiences by exposing our content to new listeners.”

Talk Legend Gene Burns Recovering from Stroke.  It’s been no secret that San Francisco talk icon Gene Burns has been off the air at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KKSF.  On Tuesday (4/3), he posted the following on the NewsTalk 910 KKSF website:  “To my listeners and friends in the NewsTalk 910 family.  The past few weeks has brought a great number of changes, and a vast silence.  For the silence, please accept my apologies.  I have been recovering from a stroke, which has affected the speech center of my brain in the form of aphasia.  In this third month of recovery, I am enthusiastic and thankful for the progress I have made, due in no small part to the great amount of help I have received from UCSF, St. Francis, and the Sutter Health care groups. Most days, I have speech therapy and visits from great friends and colleagues.  I would like to wish everybody well, and to say thank you to the NewsTalk910 family for sticking by me.  Many of the NewsTalk 910 line-up of hosts have reached out, including of course Len Tillem, my long time friend and advisor.  A special thank you to my colleagues; to John, Gil, Rosie, Ed, Dr. Bill, James and the rest for stepping up to the plate for me.  Most importantly; thank you to all of you who listen, Tweet, Facebook and tell friends about me, and my program.  Although I do not have a specific date for my return to the air, I listen each day to NewsTalk 910, giving me motivation to re-join the conversation about the issues of the day.”

Dial Global Touts NCAA Final Four Radio Listenership: More Than 20 Million Unique Listeners.  As it did with its coverage of the NFL Conference Championships and the Super Bowl, Dial Global hired Edison Research to study how many Americans heard its coverage of the NCAA Final Four on the 512 radio stations across the country that carried it.  Edison estimates 20.6 million tuned in to hear some portion of the broadcasts on Saturday, March 31 and Monday, April 2.  Dial Global co-president and CEO David Landau says, “We are pleased that our previous research findings still hold true, people desire play-by-play sports on radio in a big way.  Dial Global is proud to connect with fans nationwide through the greatest moments from America’s most popular sporting events.”

Jeff Haley Named CEO at Marketron.  Industry watchers suspected that Jeff Haley had another gig lined up before leaving his position with the Radio Advertising Bureau, making way for Erica Farber to assume leadership of that organization.  Haley will begin his term as president and chief executive officer of Marketron on April 16.  A statement from Marketron says Haley “brings this tremendous experience to Marketron, where he plans to continue the company’s impressive growth since the launch of Mediascape, the media industry’s first open technology platform.  Haley is excited to maintain and grow Marketron’s position as the leader in the space, and continue to provide its customers the standard in business efficiencies to increase revenues.”

Genesis Communications Media Names Bill Bokunic WIXC, Melbourne-Cocoa Beach Market Manager.  Bill Bokunic will have two roles with Florida-based Genesis Communications Media: First, he’ll serve as market manager for 1060 News WIXC, Melbourne-Cocoa Beach; he’ll also serve as director of sales-news business for Genesis’ Orlando radio cluster.  He’ll be handling the planning and marketing for Genesis’ ESPNFLORIDA.com and NEWSTALKFLORIDA.com and its event division which includes a partnership with Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.  Bokunic states, “I have been looking to relocate back to Central Florida in the media business.  I am grateful for this opportunity to oversee the marketing of the digital publications, events, as well as the radio stations for Genesis in Central Florida.  Genesis is moving rapidly into the multi-platform marketing business and I am thrilled to be a part of this business plan.”

Premiere Networks Promotes Bill Hickey to SVP of Engineering.  Bill Hickey moves up from VP to SVP and Premiere notes he takes on some new duties.  In this new position, Hickey will now be responsible for directing all studio operations and administration, while continuing to oversee engineering and technical operations for Premiere Networks’ studio facilities nationwide, including Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Chicago and Florida.  Hickey will also continue to manage the company’s XDS satellite and internet-based delivery systems, Network Operations Center, and other studio and construction projects, as well as supervise a team of nearly 50 employees.

Canadian Pubcaster to Cut 650 Positions to Deal with $200 Million Shortfall.  The CBC is announcing it plans to eliminate some 650 jobs in order to handle a federal government funding decrease of $115 million over three years combined with improvements in service the public broadcasting corporation has vowed to enact that makes for an approximate $200 million shortfall over three years.  Reports indicate about 450 jobs will be lost this year with the rest to come over the next three years.  Marc-Philippe Laurin is president of the CBC/Radio Canada branch of the Canadian Media Guild which represents most CBC employees outside Quebec.  He tells the Globe and Mail, “Mostly, our members work in news.  It’s what the CBC does most of with the staff it has.  So it’s going to have an impact, but we’re expecting more details on that stuff in the days to come.”

Melody Burns Celebrates Three Years On Air in Albany.  Local business consultant Melody Burns began hosting a brokered program on Paul Vandenburgh’s WGDJ, Albany three years ago.  She quickly transitioned to a full-time paid talent and is, as she describes herself, “the only female conservative” on the air in Albany.  Burns’ initial effort – called “Women IN” – focused on showcasing women in business and current events of interest.  Her first program featured a local female cardiologist.  She enters her fourth year on the radio doing the daily 11:00 am to 12:00 noon conservative talk show as well as a three-hour Saturday program.  Burns tells TALKERS, “The best part of everyday is receiving not just the ‘good job – thanks for the ‘information’ e-mails but the ‘you are a right wing radical’ or ‘you are ignorant trash,’ or ‘you’re a right-wing extremist’ or one of my favorites, ‘you are Savage, Limbaugh and Levin in a skirt!’ e-mails.  I would call Paul Vandenburgh the Yoda of talk radio – at least that’s what he has been to me.”

GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Iran’s Role in Afghan Violence, Muslim Brotherhood’s Station in Egyptian Politics, Paul Ryan Budget, and European Economic Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/4).  The Republican primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign; concerns over Iran’s suspected role in Afghanistan violence; the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt’s evolving political scene; debate over the Republicans’ Paul Ryan-authored budget; and new worries about Europe’s economic stability were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

KKOB, Albuquerque Celebrates 90 Years On Air Today.  It was April 5, 1922 when the original KOB went on the air from Las Cruces, New Mexico (original studio pictured here).  The station would move to Albuquerque in 1932.  It moved up the dial to its current 770 frequency and boosted its power to 50,000 watts in 1941.  Cumulus Albuquerque operations manager Pat Frisch tells TALKERS the station’s calls changed to KKOB in 1986 when Hubbard sold the station to Citadel.  Hubbard wanted the KOB calls for the TV station that it still owns today.  New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has declared today “770 KKOB Day.”

Thursday, December 15, 2011

| December 15, 2011

WTOP, Washington Expands Multi-Platform News Operation; News and Programming Pro Laurie Cantillo Named to Newly Created Program Director Position.  Former WABC, New York program director Laurie Cantillo joins Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington where she’ll work closely with vice president of news and programming Jim Farley for the organization that is also announcing the expansion and restructuring of its news and broadcasting staff.  In a statement, WTOP explains, “One of the primary reasons for the new structure is to redefine the news workflow.  Instead of the traditional model which takes broadcast content and tries to fit it into a digital hole, WTOP’s strategy will focus on the creation of news stories at the beginning of a process.  A story’s execution will be determined at its origin.  It will then be optimized for all the distribution platforms WTOP offers: radio, web, Facebook, Twitter and mobile.  In addition to Cantillo joining the organization, other staff changes include: Current director of digital operations John Meyer moving into the newsroom as the architect of the social and digital strategy as it comes together with the current broadcast operation; current news director Mike McMearty becomes senior news director; assistant news director Mitchell Miller is upped to news director; Mike Gartell is now managing editor; Gary Emerling is named senior digital editor; and Darci Marchese becomes executive producer.  Jim Farley states, “We will now have both a digital editor and a radio editor working together 24/7.  No other radio station in America does this.  And we are not just talking the talk; we are hiring more people, re-evaluating everything we do and making the necessary changes no matter how sacred or ingrained.  The future is digital and WTOP will be the leader heading into that future.”  Regarding Laurie Cantillo’s joining the WTOP operation, Farley says, “Laurie is one of the best, most-admired and well-liked program directors in America.  She has solid news credentials, a great track record of ratings success in major markets and a great understanding of the power and potential of digital and social media.”

NPR Uses Grant for Digital Media Training and Multi-Platform News.  Through a $1.5 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, NPR is expanding its training initiatives to increase the use of digital tools both at NPR member stations and in the NPR newsroom.  According to NPR, “Building on successful training piloted by NPR a few years ago, the grant provides for the development of extensive training for more than 70 local public radio stations.  Topics include strategies to build multi-media news operations, writing for the web, photography and the role of social media in newsgathering.  These resources will dramatically improve the ability of participating stations to broaden and deepen their news production and better serve both new and existing audiences.  The grant will also fund digital coaches for NPR journalists.”  NPR chief executive officer Gary Knell says, “NPR is a major force in media today, helping more than 34 million people make sense of what is going on in the world.  These digital training resources will ensure that NPR and hundreds of member stations nationwide continue to pioneer the use of new technologies to connect with new and existing audiences.”

Standard & Poor’s Downgrades CC Media Holdings on Long-term Debt Concerns.  Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Michael Altberg states that softening ad demand and the uncertain global economy may slow the growth of revenue for Clear Channel’s parent company and while the ability to pay the debt that comes due in 2012 and 2013 isn’t seen as a problem, the notes that mature in 2014 and 2016 are bigger issues.  The company faces secured and unsecured debt maturities of $2.9 billion in 2014 and $12.3 billion in 2016.  S&P notes CC Media Holdings is considered highly leveraged and that could negatively affect its ability to re-finance before those debts come due.  When that time comes, anyone looking to buy a radio station might find opportunity in what could potentially be the biggest fire sale selloff of sticks in recent history.

CBS Local Digital Media Partners with Examiner.com for Content Creation.  The network of websites and mobile apps that make up CBS Local Digital Media is entering into a content creation relationship with Examiner.com to produce unique content for CBS’ locally targeted properties in more than two dozen major markets across the country.  Examiner.com is a leading online publisher featuring local expertise from over 85,000 contributors, known as Examiners.  The lifestyle content created through this partnership is described as “‘Best Of’ guides and ‘Top Spots’ lists covering a range of topics including arts and culture, shopping, food and drink, nightlife and music, as well as travel and outdoors.”  CBS Local Digital Media president Ezra Kucharz states, “Over the course of the past 18 months we’ve built a platform that quickly garnered interest from millions of users searching for the best local news, information and entertainment.  Taking our vision one step further by working with a stable of contributors with expertise in their field will greatly enhance the audience’s experience.  This is not just about telling you where to go and what to see – it’s providing ‘insider access’ to a city you may be visiting or have lived your whole life that you can’t get anywhere else.”

Dr. Joy Browne Appears on TALKERS TV.  She is by far the most successful psychology and relationships talker on radio in America.  WOR Radio Network star Dr. Joy Browne is interviewed by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey at the seventh annual “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row designed to raise consciousness about domestic violence and teenage dating abuse presented recently by TALKERS and Talk Radio News Service in conjunction with corporate sponsor Liz Claiborne, Inc.  The event was held in the showroom at the Midtown Manhattan headquarters of the fashion company.  Browne candidly discusses the state of relationship talk radio’s place within the news/talk playing field and explains the connections between psychology and all the hot issues discussed within the genre.  To view this not-to-be-missed video, see TALKERS TV at the right on this page.

Glenn Beck’s GBTV Takes Over “Apocalypse” Reality Show.  The program was once called, “Apocalypse, PA” when it ran on the History Channel last year but on Beck’s online venture GBTV it will be called, “Independence USA.”  It follows Frank Belcastro and his family as they prepare to survive in a post-apocalyptic world by such means as devising a car that runs on wood instead of gasoline, becoming expert hunters and creating his own alcohol for barter when the money system collapses.  According to TVNewser, the program debuts on January 18 with new episodes every Wednesday.  It is the first reality show to become part of Beck’s GBTV where his own daily TV program is seen.

KFI, Los Angeles Debuts New Food Show with Neil Saavedra in January.  The program is called, “The Fork Report,” and will have its premier airing on Saturday, January 7 hosted by KFI’s Neil Saavedra.  The station says, “‘The Fork Report’ will be a food show like no other food show, delving into all things edible.  The show will run the food gamut from local restaurants to kitchen gadgets, interviews with chefs to food news (like recalls, new products).  If you can eat it or it’s a gizmo to help you prepare it…Saavedra talks about it.”  Saavedra also hosts the KFI-based and Premiere Networks syndicated “Jesus Christ Show” and serves as the director of marketing for the Clear Channel station.

Katy Pavelonis Named VP of Sales at Grand Slam Sports.  The St.Louis-based sports media company operates KFNS, St. Louis, KFNS.com, St. Louis Sports Magazine, Grand Slam Sports Promotions, SportsRadio 1380 and SportsRadio1380.com.  Katy Pavelonis previously served as VP/director of sales at CBS Radio’s St. Louis cluster that includes news/talk KMOX.  On her new position, Pavelonis states, “I am excited about starting with Grand Slam Sports.  Having sold Cardinal baseball, Blues hockey and University of Missouri products in the past, I know how passionate the sports fans are here and how supportive the local advertising community can be for local sports.  Marketing the incredible media mix that Grand Slam Sports provides to those advertisers is something I am very much looking forward to.”

NTSB Cell Phone Ban, 2012 Presidential Race, Payroll Tax Cut Issue and Iraq Troop Withdrawl Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14).  The National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation that no personal electronic devices be allowed to be operated by motorists in the U.S., the GOP race to challenge President Obama in the 2012 election, Congressional leaders’ work to deal with the budget deficit and the payroll tax cut issue plus the withdrawl of U.S. troops from Iraq were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.