“Secret Weapon” Reveals Radio’s Greatest Ally. As vice president of talent development, iHeartMedia‘s Dennis Clark is often referred to inside the company as its “secret weapon.” Interviewed in Los Angeles by Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey during hivio 2015, Clark emphasizes that talent is the “difference maker of what radio is today” and what the medium could be in the future. “At iHeartMedia, we realize that our point difference is the talent we have on our radio stations,” he acknowledges. It is up to an individual talent though to have personal drive and that starts, Clark suggests, when they raise his or her hand. “They might become super-irritating or annoying, but we really love it,” he comments because it shows that a person “has the energy and the spirit.” At that point, the person has most likely researched the station for which they want to work, or what their “act” could be. “It has to be a great show inside what the station is,” Clark states. “The person has to really know [that particular] station’s brand, its overall, 24-hour mission, and where [he or she] fits into that package.” That philosophy of Clark’s, which he readily admits is not easy-to-teach, applies to all day-parts, not simply morning drive. In order to get his point across to talent, Clark uses examples of other people “who have built a brand.” For example, Bobby Bones – who formerly did mornings on iHeartMedia Austin CHR KHFI “Kiss-FM” – approached (iHeartMedia’s Premiere Radio Networks) with the idea of syndicating his 6:00 am – 11:00 am morning drive program to country stations. “We listened to his show as-is and felt it could fit,” Clark recounts. “The opportunity came for him in Nashville” on iHeartMedia’s country WSIX-FM “The Big 98″ and “he went all-in. His CHR experience has been very helpful for him. He understood – and was a great student of – branding. It is very important that talent [get] that.” While iHeartMedia has quite a number of talented on-air personalities at its hundreds and hundreds of stations, no one has a higher profile than “American Idol” host and television production mogul Ryan Seacrest. Not only does the man spearheading morning drive with Ellen K on CHR KIIS “Kiss-FM” accept direction, he welcomes it. That, Clark stresses, is a characteristic of a great talent. “It goes to show his drive. Really great personalities have many ideas, but they also know when something is not working. Each show is unique and the ideas have to come from them. Ryan seizes the opportunity to have the conversation at the right time.” Years ago on Seacrest’s show, there was a producer whose nieces and nephews were big fans of “Hanna Montana,” the 2006-2011 Disney Channel television program starring Molly Cyrus. Seacrest played a few of her records, even though the label – Hollywood Records – was not actively promoting them. “At the time, it was a fad and it became a phenomenon,” Clark explains. It might be said that one particular social media platform is also “a fad that has become a phenomenon” and Clark declares, “Twitter has been the best thing for radio. It is now; it is in the moment; and it is interactive.” Among the beliefs at iHeartMedia is that the more ears that hear their company’s shows the better – regardless of method of distribution. “This is a cume business,” Clark puts forth. “The more you invite – the more people will come. The more that they hang into a show, [the greater the chance that] they could become raving fans and disciples of the brand you are developing.” The two-day hivio 2015 conference was held Thursday (6/4) and Friday (6/5) at Hollywood’s Improv.
Are Television Ratings No Longer Relevant? A production of Chicago public radio station WBEZ, “Serial” was a hot topic of conversation during the two-day (Thursday, 6/4 and Friday, 6/5) hivio 2015 seminar in Los Angeles. Among those invoking the Peabody Award-winning podcast was TV Guide Magazine Los Angeles bureau chief Michael Schneider, who possesses more than 20 years covering the television business. Regarding “Serial,” he points out to Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey that, “It is a game-changer and has television people talking, and you don’t hear television people talk too much about audio. You can see the impact of ‘Serial’ on television, which is ironic because ‘Serial’ reminded television people of ‘Dateline NBC‘ and ’48 Hours.'” the most Perhaps the most important issue in television these days is ownership. In announcing their fall lineups, TV network executives indicated they are picking up more of their own in-house productions. “That’s the way [the networks] still make money,” Schneider explains. “They are not making it on advertising anymore because ratings are going down.” NBC and Fox are in the distribution space; however, as the former 12-year television editor of the trade publication Variety points out, people no longer consume programs on those networks live. “They are watching their shows time-shifted, on Hulu.com, or someplace else.” It is Schneider’s contention that television ratings no longer matter. “Look at Netflix – look at Amazon,” he stresses. “We constantly bug Netflix to have them tell us who is watching, but they will not do it. I have no idea who is watching ‘Orange is the New Black.’ All they say is that it is their top-rated show, but that does not help me at all.” Given they do not sell advertising, there is no need to disclose that information – and they are not doing so. Several of Schneider’s friends work at Netflix. Their feedback is that Netflix has figured out just what the audience wants and the company has it down to a science. A strong partisan of CBS Radio Los Angeles alternative outlet KROQ morning drivers Kevin & Bean, Schneider downloads their four-hour show each day. “They do a fantastic job and I love them,” he proclaims of the recent Radio Hall of Fame inductees. “When you take out the music and commercials, they do about two hours of content every day. I have a ridiculous one-hour [one-way] commute.” By the time Schneider leaves for work and then returns home, he has listened to all two hours of the “Kevin & Bean” content. “In the ‘old days,’ I would have heard bits and snippets of their show going in, but nothing on the way home,” he states. “Now, I get a concentrated two-hour dose of that show every day. I am more in-tune to what they are doing.” As a result, he has become even more of an “avid fan” of their daily broadcasts since he feels a greater investment in the program. On the flipside, he no longer listens to the terrestrial station (KROQ). Particularly this time of year, which is Emmy campaign season, Schneider is moderating panel discussions with major television stars and producers. Relevance to a radio audience is that Schneider is a podcaster for Los Angeles public outlet KCRW (Santa Monica Community College). He brings along a digital recorder to his panel sessions and is able to have a “bonus edition” to his “The Spin-Off” podcast. “Suddenly, I am doing four podcasts a month,” Schneider explains. “All I have to do is ask my pals at KCRW to edit it down a little bit. We are in the early experimental stages of podcasts where we can get away with doing something like that. People are hungry for content so they dig it. The more I give, the more I hear from people.”
Beasley Q1 Revenue Down 10.3% on Pro Forma Basis. The asset exchange between Beasley Broadcast Group and CBS RADIO last fall makes the financial report for the former less cut and dried, but on a pro forma basis, net revenue was down 10.3%. BBG chairman and CEO George Beasley comments, “On a reported basis, first quarter net revenue from continuing operations rose 87.2% and station operating income increased 92.3%. However, given the required accounting treatment for discontinued operations following last December’s asset exchange, the results exclude the stations we gave up in the transaction. As such, we continue to believe the pro forma presentation, which assumes the asset exchange occurred on January 1, 2014, better reflects the first quarter operating results. On a pro forma basis, first quarter net revenue decreased 10.3% while SOI declined 12.2%. The pro forma revenue decline is primarily attributable to overall market weakness in Charlotte and Tampa-St. Petersburg and softer ad sales at our Wilmington cluster during the first quarter, our reduction in spot units at the newly acquired stations and revenue in last year’s first quarter in Charlotte and Tampa-St. Petersburg related to the CBS affiliation that did not recur due to the change in ownership.” Beasley adds, “In addition to our initiatives during the quarter to extract financial and operating synergies from the asset exchange, we made further progress on debt reduction while returning capital to shareholders. During the first quarter we made credit facility repayments totaling $1.5 million, reducing borrowings to $96.2 million at March 31, 2015 and declared our sixth consecutive quarterly cash dividend.”
CBS Corp. Q1 Revenue Dips 1.9%; Radio Segment Down 7%. Radio is a very small part of the $3.5 billion that CBS Corp. billed during the first quarter of 2015. CBS includes it in the Local Broadcasting segment (along with its television O&Os) and that division’s revenue for the quarter was $596 million, down from $626 million during the same period a year ago (a decrease of 5%). But the radio portion of that sector fared a bit worse, dipping 7%. Operating income for the Local Broadcasting segment was down 10.5%.
Cooke: Moms & Media. Radio consultant Holland Cooke presents this analysis of the Edison Research “2015 Moms & Media” data from that company’s ongoing Infinite Dial project. Cooke reports that, as previous data from numerous research sources has indicated over the years, “Mom is Secretary of the (family) Treasury to-the-tune-of $1.2 TRILLION a year in the USA.” Moms are also tech savvy and their busy lifestyle welcomes new media. Some takeaways from the study include: Mom spends more time per day (3 hrs 7 min) on the Internet than the survey population in general (2:51); 84% own a smartphone (69% last year); vs. 71% total respondents; and 64% of Moms surveyed own a tablet computer (47% last year). For more data, see Cooke’s entire report here.
May’s May 11 Return. Particularly in Los Angeles – perhaps the most commuter-centric market in the country – an on-air traffic reporter can become an integral component of a morning drive ensemble. Numerous notable examples exist in the City of Angels, including Lisa May, who will join the 6:00 am – 10:00 am “Heidi & Frank Show” on Cumulus Media rocker KLOS next Monday (5/11). Program director Keith Cunningham explains, “Lisa May is not just a traffic reporter or female sidekick; she is a radio brand and she is beloved by Southern California radio listeners. She will be doing a lot more than traffic – we can’t wait to get her in the building.” May admits that, “Joining a twosome can be tricky business. Usually you have to set up some ground rules and have a ‘safe word,’ [but] not with Heidi & Frank. That is what makes hooking up with them on KLOS so exciting. There is no telling what’s going to happen.” While her traffic reports the past two-plus decades have been heard on a number of Los Angeles outlets such as KACE, KGIL, KLAC, KMPC, KNX, KPCC, KPWR, and KABC-TV, May is best known for her lengthy tenure with “Kevin & Bean” on CBS Radio alternative KROQ. Among persons 6+ in Los Angeles’ latest Nielsen Audio PPM report (March 2015), KLOS (2.0) and KROQ (2.9) rank #23 and #13, respectively; iHeartMedia CHR KIIS “Kiss-FM” (5.3) leads the market (6+) for the third successive survey (including a February tie at #1 with adult contemporary sibling KOST “Coast 103″).
Howard B. Price Named 2015 Recipient of the TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine has named the ABC Television Network director of business continuity, Howard B. Price, CBCP/MBCI as this year’s recipient of the prestigious Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech. Price is being honored for his vigorous work and pro-active leadership in encouraging, inspiring and teaching the radio and television industries to be prepared to serve the public in times of emergency and crisis. In announcing the naming of Price the recipient of the award, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Howard B. Price is an industry hero who inspires us to rise to our highest purpose – and that is to serve and protect the public well-being. He reminds terrestrial broadcasters that they have the potential (and are arguably obligated) to be in the same societal role as first responders such as firefighters, police, emergency medical teams and rescuers of all sorts.” Harrison adds, “As a publisher, I am deeply proud of the numerous articles he has contributed to TALKERS and RadioInfo instructing our readers how to deal with civil unrest, acts of terrorism, and natural disasters such as earthquakes, perfect storms and historic blizzards – all of which have occurred on a seemingly regular basis in recent times. His presentations in print, at conferences and numerous speaking engagements clearly show stations how to stay on the air and mobilize their resources in a positive and productive manner when the community is under siege.” Harrison concludes, “This is a bit of a departure from our usual focus in presenting an industry individual with this award designed to raise awareness of the First Amendment in action – but nothing could be more important for licensed broadcasting facilities than to be able to provide the public with vital information when needed, especially in life and death situations, thus protecting the platform’s reputation and credibility as a place to turn for truth when the chips are down.” Price is a 40-year veteran of radio, television and newspapers, he is a two-time EMMY Award winner, and a two-time recipient of The George Foster Peabody Award. He has worked domestically and internationally as a news producer, assignment editor, bureau chief, reporter and anchor, covering some of the biggest stories of our time, including the 9/11 attacks, the 2003 Northeast blackout and Superstorm Sandy. A certified business continuity professional (CBCP), Howard is charged with maintaining the operational resilience of all ABC News platforms around the globe. He also serves as an in-house consultant to the ABC Owned Television Station Group. Howard holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and an MBA in management and marketing from New York University. A guest lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he has been a featured speaker at numerous professional conferences and workshops (including TALKERS), and a contributor to many trade publications. He is a member of the Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRII), the Business Continuity Institute (BCI), the Association of Contingency Planners (ACP), the Contingency Planning Exchange (CPE), the Northeast Disaster Recovery Information Exchange (NEDRIX), the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS). Howard is the founder of the website, MediaDisasterPrep.com, and writes its companion blog, MediaDisasterPrep.wordpress.com. Price is fond of telling anyone who’ll listen that events are disasters only if you haven’t planned for them. He can be reached via email at Howard.B.Price@abc.com. Howard B. Price will be presented the Freedom of Speech Award at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12. For registration, hotel and sponsorship information, please call 413-565-5413.
Dave Ramsey Brings Smart Money Event to Las Vegas. The Smart Money live event from talk radio superstar and best-selling author Dave Ramsey was presented to a packed house at Canyon Ridge Christian Church last night (5/7). He discussed how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence, working with local affiliate KXNT to promote the event. Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan joined Ramsey on stage. CBS RADIO Las Vegas vice president of programming Cat Thomas says, “Dave has become a staple in growing our talk audience on the FM dial. Dave is positive, upbeat, real and listeners get that.” During the same visit to Las Vegas, Ramsey also hosted his EntreLeadership 1 Day Event on Wednesday in which he spoke about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 450 team members. Pictured here are (from l-r): Carlos Diaz, co-host of “Carlos and Dayna” on KXNT; Thomas; Ramsey; Maureen Pulicella, general sales manager; and Jerry McKenna, SVP/market manager.
On the Green in Greenwood. Station owner/host Anne Eller (left) of WCRS (1450 AM), Greenwood, SC has been out on The Links at Stoney Point in Greenwood every afternoon this week, broadcasting live from the scene of the Self Regional Classic leg of the Symetra Tour, a tour for professional and amateur golfers seeking to gain their LPGA card. Eller has spent the past few days interviewing both the men and women behind the event, as well as many of the women competing for the $30,000 cash purse, the largest of the Symetra Tour. One of the golfers Eller had on the show is rookie Michelle Piyapattra (right).
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. The Radio America-syndicated “Dana Show” hosted by Dana Loesch announces new affiliate stations: KSEV, Houston; KSGF-AM/FM, Springfield, Missouri; KBYR-AM, Anchorage; KGNC-AM, Amarillo; WVFT, Tallahassee; WYOO-FM, Panama City; KCNR, Redding, California; and WBLF, Johnstown-Altoona-State College, Pennsylvania.
Baltimore Unrest Aftermath Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of May 4-8. The social, legal and political ramifications of the violent protests in Baltimore were the several aspects of the most-talked-about story of the week. At #2 was the entrance of three more candidates into the 2016 presidential race. Coming in at #3 was scrutiny of the Clinton Family Foundation followed by the deadly prophet drawing contest in Garland, Texas at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Anthony Gargano Officially Named WPEN-FM, Philly Morning Host. Last week Philly.com called it the “worst-kept secret in Philadelphia sports talk radio” – and it turns out that was true. As reported almost everywhere, former longtime WIP-FM, Philadelphia personality Anthony Gargano is the new lead morning drive talent on Greater Media’s sports talker WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.” Gargano – who left CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM recently after failing to come to terms with the company on a contract renewal – will be joined on “Anthony Gargano in the Morning” by co-host Jon Marks, sports update anchor Maureen Williams and producer Jamie Lynch. The station had been airing ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” which can now be heard in the market on Beasley Media Group’s WTEL-AM. Greater Media Philly SVP/market manager John Fullam comments, “We are thrilled to have Anthony join ‘97.5 The Fanatic.’ He is the perfect lead-off man for Philly sports talk every weekday morning. It is great to provide Philly sports fans an all-star lineup for their drive times with Anthony in the morning and Mike Missanelli in the afternoon. We are also proud to continue our long-standing affiliation with ESPN and our outstanding contributors including Sal Paolantonio, Ron Jaworski and Jayson Stark.”
New Kevin McCullough-Hosted Show Debuts on WNYM, New York Tonight. Syndicated talk host and XtreMEDIA principal Kevin McCullough adds another talk program to his busy schedule as he debuts “Late Night with Kevin McCullough” airing on Salem Media Group’s WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. McCullough says the show will be him “rounding out the talk radio day with an irreverent look at the news, the talk radio industry, and everything else in life,” and says it’s a joint endeavor between his company and Salem New York. McCullough says the show will “in some ways be a throwback to the greatest era of radio where the steaks always sizzled and the beverages are always cold! Newsmakers, icons, and listeners will drive the conversation. ‘The Ladies Lounge’ will feature some of the most important but not-yet-amplified voices of ladies in talk media – plus a ‘house band’ called The Hot Sardines.” The program debuts tonight (4/20).
Salem Rolls Out Metaxas Show. The radio syndication of popular author and TV personality Eric Metaxas by Salem Radio Network was announced back in late February but today the show celebrates its national debut. Although Metaxas is well known in the Christian community, Salem says it believes his program will crossover into the news/talk format as well. The show will launch in 26 of the top 30 markets, mostly on Salem O&Os. Salem SVP Phil Boyce says, “This is the biggest rollout for Salem Radio Network in 10 years. Eric’s show will be different, and a little bit about everything. His personality and sense of humor will shine through.” The show airs live from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET.
Scott Hopeck Named President of iHeartMedia New York. This is a move from the market president position at iHeartMedia’s Phoenix station group for Scott Hopeck. Prior to his work in Phoenix, Hopeck was SVP/sales for the company in Atlanta where he was also general manager of the Braves Radio Network. Hopeck will report to EVP of operations Hartley Adkins, who says, “Scott’s unique skills and experience in digital and technology are perfect for the evolution of this market from traditional media to world-class, multiplatform media with a tremendous impact on advertisers. Additionally, his sports and MLB experience are ideal for the important and unique opportunities we have in New York.”
Entercom Sacramento Raises Richard to VP/Market Manager. The vacancy in that position in California’s capital city was created this past week when Sean Shannon was named to replace the retiring Jon Pinch at Cumulus Media Atlanta (RadioInfo, 4/17). Entercom Sacramento immediately promotes vice president of sales Lance Richard to be Shannon’s successor. According to Entercom station group president Weezie Kramer, “Lance has helped to improve our sales organizations, our coaching ability, and our ability to deliver multi-platform programs that work for advertisers. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to reward that success with a promotion to vice president and market manager in Sacramento.” Richard comments, “We have the best brands in the market, great local talent and content, strong ratings, and an excellent team in-place. I look forward to continuing our momentum and leading Entercom Sacramento’s market leading portfolio of brands.” The Auburn University graduate has been with Entercom since 2009, previously as its corporate vice president of integrated sales. His resume also includes two years as regional sales director for Monster MediaWorks; four years as director of sales for Emmis Chicago; and two years as executive vice president of sales and strategic marketing at IP2M. Entercom Sacramento consists of KCTC “ESPN 1320″; CHR KDND “The End”; alternative KKDO “Radio 94-7″; KRXQ “98 Rock”; classic rock KSEG “The Eagle”; and hot AC KUDL “Star 106.5.”
Industry Programmers to Take Part in ‘Programming Talk Radio in 2015’ at Talkers New York Conference. On Friday, June 12 at the India House in Manhattan’s Financial District, the talk media industry will gather for the 20th annual edition of the TALKERS magazine-presented conference. One of the nine panel discussions and presentations will be titled, “Programming Talk Radio in 2015” and will feature panelists: Carl Anderson, EVP, Programming, iHeartMedia; Mike Bendixen, Program Director, Newstalk 1010, Toronto; Valerie Geller, CEO Geller Media International; Scott Masteller, Program Director, WBAL, Baltimore; Mike McVay, SVP, Content & Programming, Cumulus Media; and Paul Vandenburgh, owner and GM, WGDJ, Albany. It will be moderated by TALKERS magazine VP and executive editor Kevin Casey. Issues addressed will include: integrating digital into news/talk programming; dealing with resistance to advertising; the challenge of keeping the format fresh; finding the next generation of talent; allocating resources to the actual program and to social media; seeking alternative ways to monetize the format; balancing the levels of local and syndicated talk content; and more. Casey says, “I’m really looking forward to talking about the state – and the future – of the format with this outstanding panel of industry heavyweights. These questions are on the minds of industry programmers and it will be enlightening to hear what our panelists have to say.” Registrations for Talkers New York 2015 are moving fast. To reserve your place, call 413-565-5413. For more information about the event, click here.
Odds & Sods. At the Salem Media Group’s New York news/talk outlet WNYM “AM 970 the Answer,” the new Eric Metaxas show being syndicated nationally by the company’s Salem Radio Network (see story above) bumps Chicago-based Joe Walsh from the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot on the station. Walsh had been heard there since January of 2014. Walsh remains on WIND, Chicago…..In Boston, market news pro Henry Santoro leaves his gig with streaming station RadioBDC (operated by the Boston Globe and Boston.com) to join pubcaster WGBH as midday anchor. Prior to joining RadioBDC, Santoro had spent almost 30 years with the old alternative outlet WFNX.
Longtime CBS RADIO Engineer Scott Mason Dead. Details are few but a statement from CBS RADIO Los Angeles SVP/market manager Dan Kearny was made public earlier this morning. Kearny writes: “The entire CBS RADIO family is grieving today over the passing of Scott Mason, who has been part of CBS since 1979. With his spirited passion for radio and unwavering dedication to his work, Scott’s accomplishments were numerous, from being an on-air personality at KROQ to hosting diverse programs like the popular “Loveline” and “OpenLine,”a long-running public affairs show, to overseeing the design and construction of CBS RADIO LA’s state-of-the art facilities on the Miracle Mile. Our thoughts today are with his family and all those who knew and worked alongside Scott during his amazing life and career. Due to Scott’s wishes, no funeral services will be held. A memorial will be planned in the weeks to come.”
iHeartMedia Brings News Pro Dan Mitchinson to Mornings at KFBK, Sacramento. Saying that Dan Mitchinson “brings a unique combination of experience and success in the news/talk format, along with a passion to evolve our appeal to the next generation of listeners,” iHeartMedia Sacramento SVP of programming Don Parker announces the radio and TV news pro will join Amy Lewis as co-host of the KFBK Morning News, effective Monday April 6. In a press statement, the station notes that “Mitchinson’s radio work has been heard on the FOX and CBS networks. His TV credentials include stories appearing on ‘ABC‘s World News Tonight’, ‘Nancy Grace’ and ‘Geraldo.’ He’s covered presidential visits, natural disasters as well as some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Mitchinson has received the Edward R. Murrow Award for ‘Best Newscast,’ a Golden Mic award for Best News Special, and the Best Newscast and Single News story award from the Oregon Association of Broadcasters. KFBK program director Bill White adds, “We’re very fortunate to have someone of Dan’s talent and his credentials speak to his passion for covering and delivering news. He’ll be a great partner with Amy Lewis as the ‘KFBK Morning News’ continues to inform Sacramento and Northern California.”
Looking to the Future at KCMO, Kansas City. TALKERS magazine observes that heritage news/talk outlet KCMO, Kansas City has been gradually adjusting the “attitude” of its programming to reflect the style of issues-oriented talk that a younger audience are reported to be demanding these days. Just two months ago, the station brought in Rob Carson to host the daily morning show. Carson’s hiring appears to dovetail well with Greg Knapp’s afternoon drive show, the nationally syndicated Dave Ramsey show in early afternoons and the late morning Chris Plante program. Carson (who’s been in and around the business for the past 26 years, ironically writing for Rush Limbaugh during a portion of those years) tells TALKERS, “I really believe there is a quantum shift happening in talk radio, and it involves a move away from purely political monologue and phone call talk shows and more towards a conservative-style ‘The Daily Show.’” Note that Carson uses the word conservative. He adds, “Some are moving completely away from politics and I believe they do so at their own peril as politics is such a massive part of the popular culture.” Still, Nielsen Audio’s PPM survey tells the tale of the tape and KCMO-AM ranked 18th (1.7 share, persons 6+) in the February PPM survey, well behind talk leader KMBZ-FM (10th place with a 4.2 share, persons 6+) and non-com runner-up KCUR-FM (12th place with a 3.9 share, persons 6+). Only time will tell if KCMO’s programming strategy will pay off, but it’s apparent that Rob Carson is going to keep swinging from his position in morning drive and that something new and interesting is afoot.
Opinion: Radio in 2015 – Getting Back to the Basics. Radio sales and management pro Bill Brady writes in an opinion piece published in TALKERS magazine today (3/31) that owners and operators must deal with the fact that it’s not 1988 anymore and adjust their programming accordingly. Brady writes, “For the most part, the talk format has devolved into a niche within a niche within a niche. Today’s talk product is not mass appeal ‘topic A’ stuff. It’s not even mass appeal politics – just conservative politics which severely limit the format’s appeal. The answer to the problem is very simple: play the hits.” Read more from Bill Brady here.
Ackerman Retires from Coleman Insights. Vice president Chris Ackerman exits Coleman Insights following a 22-year run at the Raleigh-area research company. President and chief operating officer Warren Kurtzman comments, “Chris is going to be missed on so many levels. Our clients will miss his advice and counsel. We will miss his presence as a fabulous mentor to employees at every level of our organization. Most of all, however, I am going to miss having my good friend for the last 20 years down the hall. Everyone at Coleman Insights wishes nothing but the best for Chris and we thank him for his incalculable contributions to the success of our company.” Ackerman remarks, “[My wife] Kathy and I are deeply grateful for the opportunity [founder and chief executive officer] Jon Coleman and Warren Kurtzman have provided us, and for the support and friendship of all our Coleman colleagues. I am also grateful for the many clients I’ve had the honor and privilege to serve through the years.” Prior to joining Coleman in August 1992, Ackerman was vice president and general manager of Capitol Broadcasting Orlando’s WSTF “Star 101.” The Miami University (of Ohio) graduate previously held the same vice president and general manager title at Renda Broadcasting Pittsburgh; WJYE, Buffalo; and WKQQ, Lexington, Kentucky.
CBS Radio Transfers Blumhagen to Los Angeles. Nine-year general sales manager of CBS Radio San Francisco hot AC KLLC “Alice@97.3″ and CHR KMVQ “Now 99.7″ Larry Blumhagen will relocate in three weeks (4/20) to become vice president and director of sales for the company’s six-station Los Angeles cluster. CBS Radio Los Angeles senior vice president and market manager Dan Kearney states, “Larry has been successful since the day he joined the company in 1992. He has developed great relationships internally as well as throughout the advertising community. We are very fortunate that Larry is bringing his strategic and creative expertise to Los Angeles.” Blumhagen remarks that he is “very excited” to have the opportunity “to work with some of the most legendary brands in broadcasting,” and that he is “fortunate to continue to work with CBS Radio.” Past credits for University of Oregon alum Blumhagen include being general sales manager of Portland adult alternative KINK (2001 – 2006). CBS Radio Los Angeles properties include mainstream CHR KAMP “Amp Radio”; adult hits KCBS-FM “Jack-FM”; all-news KNX; alternative KROQ; classic hits-oldies KRTH “K-Earth 101″; and smooth AC KTWV “The Wave.”
Odds & Sods. Last weekend, Virginia Associated Press Broadcasters presented its annual awards at a luncheon in Charlottesville and Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington picked up five honors – four superior and one meritorious. WTOP reporter Andrew Mollenbeck was awarded superior in the Best Documentary or In-Depth Report category for “New Arrivals,” reporter Megan Cloherty meritorious in the Best Feature or Human Interest category for “A Typical Day Turned Deadly,” and Chris Core superior for “Core Values” in the Best Editorial or Editorial Series category. The WTOP Newsroom also received superior awards for the following: Best Coverage of a Spot News Story – “The Bob McDonnell Verdict”; and Best Coverage of a Continuing News Story – “The Search for Hannah Graham.”…..The Philadelphia Eagles and CBS RADIO-owned sports talker WIP, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94WIP” renew their deal for the station to serve as flagship for Eagles play-by-play for years to come. The agreement also includes new elements such as an HD Radio station devoted exclusively to the Eagles 24/7 with year-round programming. CBS RADIO Philadelphia stations have carried play-by-play coverage of the Eagles since 1992. Eagles radio announcers Merrill Reese, the NFL’s longest tenured play-by-play announcer, and former Eagles All-Pro wide receiver Mike Quick will continue to provide commentary of the games…..All-Pro receiver Steve Smith, currently with the Baltimore Ravens – is joining the roster of expert hosts on SiriusXM NFL Radio. Smith will host “The Opening Drive” alongside co-host Bob Papa every other Wednesday live from 7:00 to 11:00 am ET.
Cool Job Opportunity. KKOH, Reno needs a full-time talk show producer and on-air operator with mad skills who can do it all: run the studio, screen calls, schedule guests, research topics, locate/edit audio, post content to social media, update the website, maintain podcasts, create promos and work with a well-established team. The ideal candidate has on-air experience and passion for the news and important issues of the day, plus the ability to multi-task, handle stress and deadlines. We’re a conservative talker, but it isn’t just about politics. It helps if you don’t mind crazy hours, too. Reply with resume and air check to email@example.com. EOE.
WCKG, Elmhust, Illinois Teams with High School Station to Create ‘Study Hall Radio.’ An award-winning Chicago-area high school radio station – WLTL, La Grange (serving Lyons Township) – is working with commercial talk radio station WCKG, Elmhurst to produce: Study Hall Radio” that will air on WCKG on Saturdays at 2:00 pm. Student broadcasters, under the guidance of faculty advisor Chris Thomas, will feature student reporters, interviewers and more. Thomas says, “WLTL’s student broadcasters are generating the topics, researching and reporting the stories and conducting the interviews. I am just the person helping to put all of the pieces together and making connections for the listening audience as to why adults should care about what is on the minds of students today.” The April 4 premiere episode will focus on driving and teenagers. Additional programs are planned to cover topics such as prom and dating, graduation and summer plans, jobs and activities for teenagers. The purpose of each program will be to inform Suburban Chicago listeners of what is happening at the high school level, and how and why it affects our community.
Religious Freedom Act Controversy, Obama-Netanyahu Relationship, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Iran Nuclear Program Negotiations, Hillary Clinton Email Case, ISIS Violence, Germanwings Flight 9525 Investigation, and NCAA Hoops Tourney Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/30). The political controversy in Indiana over the implementation of that state’s religious freedom act; the strained relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her private email for State Department business; the battle against ISIS; the state of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz and the downing of Germanwings Flight 9525; and March Madness were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Heather Cohen Named TALKERS “Woman of the Year” — Will Be Presented Award at Talkers Los Angeles 2013 by KFI/KTLK PD Robin Bertolucci. Hard-working industry super-agent, Heather Cohen, executive vice president of leading radio talent representatives, the Weiss Agency, has been voted by the TALKERS editorial board to be the 2013 recipient of the prestigious “Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Talk Radio by a Woman.” This award is often referred to by the title, “Woman of the Year.” Cohen has accrued a stellar list of accomplishments in a career that spans more than a decade and a half in the radio industry and includes her current work as an agent at Eric Weiss ‘s Weiss Agency since 2007, based in the firm’s New York office. Prior to that, Cohen briefly led the programming arm of GreenStone Media, LLC — where she was VP of programming and significantly contributed to that initiative’s being awarded three Gracie Awards. During the decade prior to GreenStone, Cohen served as executive producer of the legendary, award-winning, Joan Hamburg show on WOR, New York and as the then-Buckley Broadcasting-owned heritage station’s assistant program director. Cohen is a graduate of Hofstra University and serves on its School of Communication Advisory Board. On making the announcement of Cohen’s selection for this honor, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “If anyone deserves this award recognizing an individual woman for not just her personal accomplishments in talk radio – but her contributions to the industry as well – then the selection of Heather Cohen is the quintessential choice. She is a marvelous broadcaster and her personal career achievements as a producer, APD and corporate programming executive speak for themselves — but as an observer of this scene who has been tracking the career of this extraordinary young woman for years, I must say, she is the Mother Teresa of agents. She personally shepherds the careers of approximately 10% of TALKERS’ entire ‘Heavy Hundred’ and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I have never seen an agent or manager care so deeply with heartfelt dedication to each and every one of the Weiss Agency’s impressive list of clients. In other words, she GIVES to the business on a level that changes the lives of everyone with whom she is connected and continues to make a real difference on a daily basis. It is extremely gratifying to see a truly outstanding industry woman of this quality receive the award.” Harrison goes on to say, “I have often stated that all of us at TALKERS look forward to the day when it is no longer necessary or appropriate for there to be a special ‘woman’ award in talk radio — but unfortunately, as the numbers so starkly indicate, that day is not today. Thank you, Heather, for your tireless, selfless dedication to both the hard working women AND men of talent out there in the tough trenches of today’s radio trying to keep the spirit of our unique culture alive in the 21st century.” Heather Cohen will be presented the “Woman of the Year” award in a special ceremony at Talkers Los Angeles 2013 on Thursday, October 10 by last year’s distinguished recipient, KFI and KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci. Talkers Los Angeles 2013 is nearing a sellout within about a week. It is open only to members of the working media. For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.
CBS Radio Makes Management Moves in Los Angeles and Tampa. Former Cox Media Group Miami market manager Dan Kearney is named senior vice president and market manager for the company’s Los Angeles cluster that includes all news KNX, CHR KAMP-FM “97.1 AMP Radio,” adult hits KCBS-FM “93.1 Jack FM,” alternative KROQ, classic hits KRTH “K-Earth,” and AC KTWV “94.7 The Wave.” As explained by CBS Radio EVP of operations Scott Herman, the change allows current LA market manager Steve Carver to move back East as desired where he’ll head up the Tampa cluster. Kearney managed the Miami cluster for CMG from 2012-2013 after moving down from news/talk WSB, Atlanta. He first joined Cox at news/talk KFI, Los Angeles in 1998 as local sales manager when that company owned the station. CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason says of Kearney, “Dan is an accomplished broadcaster and exactly the right executive to shape a new future for our iconic radio stations in Los Angeles. He has an impressive record of experience managing the operations of a multitude of different radio formats, producing noteworthy growth across all key measures. Dan’s a fabulous addition to our organization.” Steve Carver will replace Ben Hill whom the company says agreed more than a year ago to work across the state from his home in the West Palm Beach area. He will work through the transition until October 11 and be available to the company through the end of the year. CBS Radio operates six stations in Tampa including: sports talk WHFS-AM “CBS Sports Radio 1010” and WHFS-FM “98.7 The Fan,” rhythmic CHR WLLD “Wild 94.1,” country WQYK, classic hits WRBQ “My Q105,” and Spanish WYUU “92.5 Maxima.”
Rob Babin to Lead CMG’s Miami Cluster. Cox Media Group promotes Rob Babin to vice president and market manager for its Miami station group that includes hot AC WFLC “97.3 The Coast,” urban contemporary WHQT “Hot 105 FM,” hip hop WEDR “99 Jamz,” and soft AC WFEZ “Easy 93.1.” Cox EVP of Radio Kim Guthrie states, “We are delighted to tap into our amazing, internal leadership talent pool and have Rob step into this new executive role, overseeing our Miami operation. He has been an outstanding leader in his 12 years with CMG, both in our Orlando and Atlanta radio markets. His strategic vision, incredible performance track record and desire to be the best make him a great fit for this opportunity.” Babin most recently was vice president of sales for the Atlanta stations, including news/talk WSB, one of the top 10 billing stations in the country. Babin comments, “I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with so many great people at CMG Atlanta, and I know their tradition of success will continue. Now I am thrilled to work with the phenomenal group of radio stations and talented team that make up CMG Miami!”
Clear Channel Flips KOY, Phoenix to Business as ‘Business 1230 KFYI.’ Gone are adult standards on KOY-AM and in is business talk format using predominantly Bloomberg Radio content. The station is airing the “Big Business with Sully” program from 9:00 am to 11:00 am with more local programming on the way according to program director Neil Larrimore. He states, “The business format fits well into the KFYI brand. Businesses and individuals are always looking for ways to manage their money better, to do more with less, and to make sure their futures are secure. This touches everybody – it’s a natural relationship for the established and trusted KFYI information brand to be part of this format.”
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Doyle Hadden of Hadden & Associates Media Brokers. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Doyle Hadden of Hadden & Associates Media Brokers located in the Orlando area of Florida. Hadden went into being a broker after years of being in radio and television sales, management and ownership. He says he wasn’t “good enough” to be an on-air talent so he found a way to make money “behind the scenes.” He says, “Based on the past five or six years, things are on the rise in buyers’ interest in getting back into the game, now that the economy has shown signs of improving. Look at Larry Wilson, who sold Citadel for more than $2 billion and now he is back in the hunt, along with many other great players in the business.” He adds, “There are some very attractive deals out there but the prices seem to be going up across the board, especially in the larger and top 20 markets.” Per the custom of this feature, Hadden offers several opportunities for displaced station managers and first-time entrants looking to roll up their sleeves and take on an ownership project. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
Odds & Sods. WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” talk show host Tom Waddle is joining the mothership’s “Football Sunday on ESPN Radio” beginning this season and starting with the first show September 8 at 1:00 pm ET. Waddle co-hosts the “Waddle & Silvy” show on WMVP. Waddle will work from the company’s Bristol, Connecticut studios and will also appear on Sunday editions of ESPN’s “SportsCenter” and on ESPN2’s “Cowherd on Football” – the new hour-long program focusing on both college and pro football discussion and commentary with host Colin Cowherd that airs from 9:00 am to 10:00 am ET…..St. Louis Rams great Torry Holt signs on with Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” to serve as the station’s football insider providing exclusive weekly call-ins to the station. He’ll make three weekly appearances on the station: Each Monday morning during “Zach and Rammer,” Wednesdays on “The Turn” with Chris Duncan and Anthony Stalter, and Friday afternoons on “The Fast Lane” with Randy Karraker and D’Marco Farr.
Salem Communications Sponsoring Kevin Jackson’s “Reparations Comedy Tour.” Talk show host, speaker and author Kevin Jackson’s “The Reparations Comedy Tour” gains more support as Salem Communications agrees to join Americans for Prosperity and The Daily Caller as sponsors for his new conservative comedy tour featuring Brad Stine, Tim Wilkins, Even Sayet, and Tim Young. WLSS, Sarasota “News Talk 930 AM” and WGUL, Tampa “Talk Radio 860 AM” are leading the promotional efforts on behalf of the company. A press release for the tour states that “Jackson and his friends will be taking aim at the politically correct world America has become, especially when it comes to dealing with race relations. The tour kicks off on Thursday, September 12, with two shows at The Crest Theatre in Delray Beach, Florida, and moves to the Palladium Theatre in St. Petersburg, Florida the next evening with future dates to be announced soon.”
Two Katz and a (former) Congressman. Former Congressman Allen West (l) is pictured here with Boston Herald Radio morning drive host Jeff Katz (r) and Katz’s eldest son Harry (c). As part of the Hausman Memorial Speakers Series in Stoughton, Massachusetts on August 15, Jeff Katz was featured along with former Congressman West. According to Jeff Katz, his son Harry’s review of the event was as follows: “Allen was great! And my Dad was pretty good, too.” Photo by Eric Kahn.
U.S.-Egypt Relations, Ted Cruz Citizenship Issue, Clinton Foundation Expenses Scrutiny, ObamaCare Implementation, 2016 Presidential Jockeying, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top Stories Yesterday (8/19). Violence in Egypt and the state of the United States’ relationship with the country; the case of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz’s Canadian citizenship status; controversy over the expenses at the Clinton Foundation; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the early jockeying for position in the 2016 presidential race; and financial markets activity were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Added to Blue Ridge Communications Cable System. The push to get more cable TV carriage for Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze continues and now the company announces it will be carried on Blue Ridge Communications’ system that serves the Poconos and the Central Pennsylvania region. It is the nation’s 21st largest cable operator. TheBlaze also entered into agreements with BEK Communications, Sweetwater Cable Television and Atwood Cable. TheBlaze president, business development, Lynne Costantini, states, “We’re thrilled to welcome these independent operators into TheBlaze family of television affiliates. These businesses understand the value of bringing TheBlaze’s original programming and unique perspective to their customers and their business.” TheBlaze says that customers of these cable operators will now be able to watch its full programming lineup including The Glenn Beck Program, news program “Real News from TheBlaze,” opinion show hosted by Andrew Wilkow, current events show “Pat & Stu” featuring radio personalities Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere, kid’s show “Liberty TreeHouse,” comedy news show “The B.S. of A.,” news magazine “For The Record,” and comical news and current events show “The Wonderful World of Stu featuring Stu Burguiere.” TheBlaze states that it is currently in carriage conversations with all major satellite, cable, telco and independent companies.
WTOP, Washington Stays #1 on List of Top Billing Stations. The annual list of top billing stations according to BIA/ Kelsey has been released and Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is at the front of the pack once again with $64.6 million in revenue in 2012 – that’s up a fraction from the $64 million it grossed in 2011. The rest of the top 10 – split by CBS and Clear Channel – are as follows (in millions): Clear Channel’s KIIS, Los Angeles ($56.8); Clear Channel’s WHTZ, New York ($48.2); CBS Radio’s WCBS, New York ($47.2); Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles ($46); CBS Radio’s WBBM, Chicago ($45.7); Clear Channel’s WLTW, New York ($43); CBS Radio’s WINS, New York ($41.5); CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM ($41); and CBS Radio’s KROQ, Los Angeles ($39.3).
SiriusXM Sports Talker Dino Costa Subject of New Film. Sports talk radio personality Dino Costa will be the subject of a feature-length film to begin production in April in Wyoming. Chesapeake Films announces that it has started pre-production for a documentary to be completed in 2013 about the life of “controversial SiriusXM Radio personality, Dino Costa.” The documentary film will be directed by Joel Franco, cinematography by Darko Nikolich, edited by Anthony Bernard, sound design by Karol Urban, and original music by Marianthe Bezzerides. The film will begin shooting in Wyoming, where Dino Costa resides and produces his daily radio sports talk show. The crew will then follow Costa to New York, to continue filming Costa’s hometown, friends, fans, and family. Franco says he wanted to do the film because, “Dino is a breath of fresh air in the world of cookie-cutter sports talk radio. He is fiercely independent, and connects with his audience like few can. I just knew that under that big personality was a story waiting to be told. I am so excited to begin.” Costa comments, “When I embarked on my career as a talk show host, I wanted to achieve many objectives; I never thought about the possibility of someone wanting to do a film about my career and my life. In speaking with Joel about his vision for this film, I’m confident that collaborating with the crew at Chesapeake Films will culminate in a documentary about my life that people will find interesting and compelling.”
Villanucci Producer Billy “Fatback” Cornelius Debuts Evening Show on KKOB. The departure of longtime afternoon drive host Jim Villanucci from Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque, resulted in evening host Scott Stiegler moving into the PM drive slot. That created an opening in the evenings and Jim Villanucci’s former on-air producer, Billy “Fatback” Cornelius, is now host of his own show airing in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot. He’ll still produce Stiegler’s program but “Fatback” tells TALKERS magazine, “When asked about the new opportunity, I simply replied, ‘The Fatback Nation will rise.’” His program debuts this evening.
New Jersey 101.5’s Jim Gearhart to Be Inducted into the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. Jim Gearhart has been the morning host on Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” for the past 23 years and now he’s being honored by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association with induction into its Hall of Fame. Gearhart will be inducted at the Annual Awards Luncheon, which will be held during the NJBA’s 66th Annual Conference in Atlantic City this June 18-19. NJ 101.5 program director Eric Johnson says, “Jim will be acknowledged for providing quality content, news, public affairs and diverse entertainment to New Jersey. Jim’s contributions to the longevity and success of our industry in New Jersey will be recognized.”
WXOS, St. Louis Host Bernie Miklasz to Leave Radio Gig. Popular St. Louis sports media personality Bernie Miklasz will exit Hubbard Radio’s WXOS “101 Sports” when his contract wraps up next month. In a piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Miklasz says he’s leaving the radio show (weekdays 11:00 am to 2:00 pm) to focus on his work with the Post-Dispatch and its STLtoday.com where he’s been a sports columnist since 1989. He states, “I’ve always loved writing more (than radio), it’s my calling. Whatever good things I have in my life professionally have been because of the Post-Dispatch. It has led to other opportunities.” Miklasz says the stress of two jobs is wearing on him. WXOS program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “He’s such a dynamic personality, but at the end of the day how can you be mad at a guy who’s going back to his roots and giving it his all? He wants to do his part to help take an industry that has been down on an upswing. It’s bittersweet (for the station) because what he is doing is very honorable and really cool, so it’s hard to be upset with him. The guy is such an awesome personality.” STLtoday.com hints it will be branching out into audio and video on the website and will use Miklasz for that purpose, as well.
The Conclave Announces Agenda for July Learning Conference. The Conclave announces its preliminary agenda for the July 17-19 “Conclave 38: The Learning Conference” taking place at the Minneapolis/Park Place Doubletree Hotel. Executive director Bob Shannon states, “The very words ‘The Learning Conference’ implies that Conclave 38 will focus on teaching ideas our attendees can actually use. Focusing on what works today and the tools we’ll need for tomorrow, our faculty includes thinkers, visionaries and practitioners in a wide variety of disciplines including digital, marketing, mobile, programming, social media, and talent creation and training.” Some of the speakers appearing this year include: Ivan Braiker/HipCricket, Tim Bronsil/Point to Point Marketing, Jon Chelesnik/Sportcasters Talent Agency of America, Drake Donovan/Splice Video, Joel Folger/Folger Media, Les Garland/Afterplay Entertainment, John Gehron/AccuRadio, Bruce Gilbert/Clear Channel, Phil Hall/Audience Bakery, Michael Harrison/Talkers-Radioinfo.com, Dan Hill/Sensory Logic, Fred Jacobs/Jacobs Media, Randy Lane/The Randy Lane Company, Lori Lewis/Jacobs Media, Kipper McGee/Kipper McGee LLC, Kevin Metheny/Cumulus Media, Chris Miller/Chris Miller Digital, Tim Moore/Audience Development Group, Mark Shannon O’Neill/ROI Media Solutions, Bill Richards/Clear Channel, Larry Rosin/Edison Research, and Walter Sabo/Sabo Media. Shannon reports that this year’s Conclave begins on Wednesday, July 17 with the fourth annual “Jacobs Media Summer School,” and ends July 19 with “Conclave GAMEDAY,” a day devoted entirely to sports that ends with a reception at KTWN-FM’s studio just before the Minnesota Twins/Cleveland Indians game at Target Field, home of the 2014 All Star Game. For more information on the Learning Conference and Conclave educational programs, visit http://www.theconclave.com.
SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, North Korea Threats, Dr. Ben Carson Assault, Cyprus Banks Bailout, and Sequester Effects Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/28). The two days of arguments before the Supreme Court on gay marriage; threats of military action from North Korea; the backlash against Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson; the bailout of Cyprus banks by the EU; and the effects of the sequester were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.