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Cumulus Media to Remake Geraldo into an NYC-Only Show. A little more clarity on the status of journalist and talk media personality Geraldo Rivera after last week’s quickly dispelled rumors that he would be exiting Cumulus altogether. It turns out Geraldo will be leaving the national syndication game and his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET program will be heard exclusively on WABC, New York beginning January 1, 2014. A statement from the company says the show “will focus on the most-talked-about topics involving the nation’s largest city — everything from social issues to politics.” Rivera will also continue his fight against unemployment by broadcasting live from upcoming “Put Americans Back to Work” job expos and events hosted by Cumulus. Rivera comments, “For the last four decades, in war and peace I’ve been chasing the news around the world. But there’s a universe of stories right here in my hometown. Energized and excited by this opportunity, I’m taking our show to the four corners of the five boroughs. I’ll be on the streets and in the face of lawbreakers and newsmakers, ready with a hot mike and a helping hand.” Cumulus COO John Dickey adds, “We are excited that one of the most recognized and respected names in media will be sharing his perspectives on New York issues and supporting local causes that matter most to listeners in one of our top markets.”
Nielsen to Acquire Harris Interactive. The company best known for The Harris Poll – Harris Interactive Inc. – is announcing plans to be acquired by Nielsen Holdings N.V. In a statement, it reports: “Nielsen will commence a tender offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Harris Interactive’s common stock through a wholly owned subsidiary formed for the purpose of making the offer. Holders of outstanding shares of Harris Interactive’s common stock will receive $2.00 per share in cash, subject to adjustment as provided in the merger agreement. The $2.00 per share cash purchase price (which excludes any adjustment which may be required under the merger agreement) represents a 2.0% premium to the volume weighted average closing price of Harris Interactive’s common stock in the 60 consecutive trading days prior to announcement of the transaction, and 8.7% below and 81.8% above the 52-week high and low, respectively.” The final purchase price will be based on Harris Interactive’s average cash (subject to certain adjustments and calculated as specified in the merger agreement) calculated during a 10-day period before and after a reference date expected to occur approximately 20 business days after commencement of the offer. Nielsen president, Americas, John J. Lewis says, “For our existing CPG and media clients, our combined capabilities will provide better and more integrated insights to help them drive business outcomes. Harris Interactive’s strength with other industry verticals allows us to serve these clients with Nielsen’s differentiated solutions in areas such as marketing effectiveness, social and digital to achieve our growth objectives.”
Castleberry Exits Sports WAXY, Miami; Marc Hochman Status Uncertain. Program director Tod Castleberry has exited Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk WAXY, Miami “790 The Ticket” and the Miami Herald is reporting that WAXY morning drive co-host Marc Hochman is bound for afternoon drive at crosstown WQAM after sitting out a three-month non-compete (he would start in April). Since LFM won’t comment on personnel matters, we may never know if the reports that Castleberry was dismissed from WAXY, in part, for missing an exclusive negotiation period in Hochman’s contract (which lapses on December 31) are accurate. The Herald is also reporting that Hochman has been telling friends he’s done at WAXY after his contract expires or sooner if the station chooses to keep him off the air. However, there are also reports from Miami that LFM and Hochman are negotiating a new deal for him to remain at WAXY. Hochman was the executive producer and a cast member on Dan Le Batard’s PM drive show on WAXY for many years until moving into morning drive a year and a half ago where he works with Jonathan Zaslow and Joy Taylor.
Opinion: Why I Went to Dallas. KOIL, Omaha talk pro Tom Becka writes about his approach to Friday’s 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. He explains that he doesn’t buy into the notion that it was merely commemoration of a news event to which only older audiences can relate. “It was theatre of the mind…I went to Dallas and [talked to] people who were actually there that day. I interviewed a man who was in the high school marching band that played “Hail to the Chief” the last time JFK heard it. I interviewed a former congressman who was on the house select committee of assassinations. I interviewed a few conspiracy theorists. I gave a different perspective direct from the grassy knoll. I was just a few feet from where many say a second gunman stood.” Read Tom Becka’s entire piece here.
WGN, Chicago and McCormick Foundation to Raise Funds for Tornado Victims. On Tuesday, Tribune’s WGN, Chicago and the McCormick Foundation are declaring it Illinois Tornado Relief Day. Starting with the Steve Cochran show at 5:00 am, the station will host a 24-hour campaign for listeners to donate to the newly established Illinois Tornado Relief Fund. WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune are also partnering with the effort to promote additional fundraising for the day. WGN VP of content Todd Manley says, “We’ve all been touched by the stories of communities coming together following last Sunday’s storms. Our WGN and Tribune families kept searching for ways to help. Now, like so many times before, we’ll trust in the generosity of our wonderful listeners, viewers, and readers.” The McCormick Foundation will match the first $500,000 raised at 50 cents on the dollar. All administrative costs are paid by the foundation and its partners, allowing 100% of all money raised, including the match, to be granted directly to the nonprofit agencies. The first round of grants will be distributed by the end of 2013.
Hosts Can Now Conveniently Cut Their Own Clips. A new service recently launched that aims to take the technical know-how out of creating sound clips for radio. Called Grabien, the site allows users to browse news videos, creating custom audio/video clips that come with transcripts. Launched by the executive producer of The Peter Schiff Show and former long-time producer of The Laura Ingraham Show, Tom Elliott, the site was designed to be so simple that hosts could create their own clips. “Recognizing radio margins can be thin, I wanted to help shows that can’t afford a big production staff achieve the same professional sound as the biggest shows out there,” Elliott tells TALKERS. “Grabien posts the best news clips every day, making it an easy one-stop shop for quickly assembling a sound packet.” By helping keep production costs down, Elliott says he hopes the site will help stations preserve original programming. For more information about this innovative service please click here.
Slocum Named President/CEO of Texas Public Radio. NPR chief administrative officer Joyce Slocum will begin her responsibilities as president/chief executive officer of Texas Public Radio starting January 6. ”I am delighted to join the wonderful team in building on the momentum to make TPR a vital resource to the community and a preeminent voice regarding the news, events and culture of the region,” the Dallas native and Southern Illinois University (B.A.) and St. Louis University School of Law (J.D.) graduate comments. NPR acting president/chief executive officer Paul Haaga remarks, “Joyce has made many contributions to NPR over the years, including her pioneering work within our legal division during her time as general counsel, and leading the teams that moved NPR into our new building under budget and ahead of schedule. We will certainly miss her but are thrilled she is staying in the public radio family.” In 2011, Slocum was NPR’s interim president/CEO. Before joining NPR five years ago, she was general counsel at HIT Entertainment and supervising attorney for 7-Eleven. San Antonio-based Texas Public Radio operates noncommercial talk KSTX and classical KPAC (both in San Antonio); talk-classical KTXI, Ingram; and talk KTPR, Snyder.
The Joy of Hearing One’s Syndicated Show in One’s Home Market. In this era of remote broadcasting and crowded competition, it is not uncommon in talk radio for a syndicated talk show host to be without an affiliate in the market in which he or she actually lives. Such was the case with Michael W. Dean, the talented co-host of the nationally syndicated Genesis Communications Network (GCN) program “The Freedom Feens.” That was, until now — as the rapidly growing program has been cleared on KVOC in Dean’s hometown of Casper, Wyoming. KVOC is owned by Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting which O&Os 14 stations in Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nevada. Dean is pictured, in this artsy photo, listening to a DB of “The Freedom Feens” on his car radio parked in the shadow of KVOC’s tower. Ah… the magic of it all!
Super Cool Morning Gig Opening. Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle is seeking to fill the shoes of Linda Thomas who is exiting the morning news anchor/host position in morning drive program. The company says the successful candidate will have the backing of a 24/7 award-winning newsroom, the heritage brand of KIRO Radio, a market leading website MyNorthwest.com, all in a world-class international city with unparalleled quality of life. Candidates must have integrity and be a credible news personality; must be exceptionally curious about both local and national news; must be intellectually honest and conduct entertaining, yet civil conversation while maintaining high energy and a sense of humor. The morning news show will reflect the purpose at KIRO Radio: To connect entertainment to value; to connect discussion to understanding; to connect communities and enrich lives. To apply, visit: here.
Premiere Reverses Course; Keeps Randi Rhodes on Syndication Menu. There are no reports indicating just what happened between Randi Rhodes and syndicator Premiere Networks but the latter is confirming the widely reported news that Rhodes will continue to be syndicated by Premiere, at least through 2014. Premiere SVP of affiliate relations Peter Tripi emailed affiliates, “In a happy turn of events, we are pleased to announce that Premiere Networks will continue to produce and distribute the Randi Rhodes show. In an industry of constant change, it’s a pleasure to provide good news about a talk talent we think so highly of. We apologize for any inconvenience the previous announcement caused, but look forward to a very successful 2014 with the Randi Rhodes show.” Several weeks ago, Rhodes began telling her audience she was foreseeing the end of her program and later Premiere notified affiliates the relationship would be ending.
KABC and KLOS Could Fetch Roughly $90 Million. Before you start feverishly looking for loose change behind sofa cushions and envision putting together a consortium, that is the estimated price for (just) the real estate of the Cumulus-owned talk and rock combo. For decades, KABC and KLOS have operated from a 45,000-square-foot broadcast facility that sits on a 10-acre Los Angeles site at La Cienega and Jefferson Boulevard. It is close to a stop on the Expo Line rail route connecting downtown LA and Culver City. In an article in yesterday’s (11/14) Los Angeles Times, Roger Vincent notes that, “The area is considered ripe for mixed-use development that might include apartments, offices and stores. Real estate experts familiar with transit-oriented development say the Baldwin Hills site could command $200 a square foot, or more than $90 million,” although Cumulus reportedly has not officially set a price for the KABC-KLOS property. The LA Times piece quotes an unnamed Cumulus spokesperson who indicates company officials feel the Los Angeles property is a “greatly underutilized asset.” Cumulus has decided to sell it “to free up cash to redeploy in other areas of the business.” One option under consideration would be to have KABC and KLOS remain as tenants at the location following the sale.
Nielsen Trims Payroll by as Many as 500 Positions. The statement from Nielsen is vague company-speak – “As part of the integration of Nielsen Audio, Nielsen is implementing changes across the company to enhance growth and to align our resources to meet and exceed client needs. These changes will improve productivity and innovation for the benefit of our organization, clients and shareholders.” However, unsubstantiated reports swirling through the industry are that as many as 500 former Arbitron staffers are being let go as Nielsen brings the radio ratings division fully into the parent company. The move is not surprising – or shouldn’t be – to anyone who’s been in this business for a while. Nielsen reported to shareholders that it would be able to realize $20 million in “synergies” and that money has to come from somewhere. In late September, when TALKERS wrote that staffers at Arbitron are wondering how many jobs will be cut as a result of the acquisition, Nielsen was quick to issue a statement saying the company had, “no plans to reduce headcount at this time,” which we reported on October 2. TALKERS sees the dismantling of the Arbitron brand and all that it stood for in this clandestine manner as a red flag that should not go by without at least comment. Those who recall the sale of the iconic trade publication Radio & Records to Nielsen in 2006 will remember the company making similar statements about its intentions to use its formidable resources to grow the magazine and increase its services to the radio industry. However, in 2009, Nielsen shut the publication down. In a recent speech at the NAB Radio Show in Orlando, TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison stated that for radio to thrive, let alone survive, in his new digital era – it must celebrate and protect its “radio-ness,” and avoid being assimilated into the multi-media soup of the 21st century at the expense of its unique industry and cultural identity. We hope that the powers-that-be at Nielsen show more respect for the specialness of radio in the days going forward and that they will be held accountable for significant discrepancies between their words and actions.
Glenn Ordway Lands Weekend Gig at SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio. Longtime WEEI, Boston sports talk personality Glenn Ordway will begin hosting “The Big Weekend Show with Glenn Ordway” on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio channel this weekend. Ordway’s show will air Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00 am to 11:00 am. Ordway – who spent the early part of his radio career as a Boston Celtics commentator – was instrumental in the building of Entercom’s WEEI, Boston where he created “The Big Show” afternoon drive program. His work in sports talk radio in Boston goes back to his days at talker WRKO where he hosted “Sportscall,” beginning in 1981. He worked at WEEI from 1987 until leaving the station in the spring of this year.
WXOS, St. Louis Renews with Chris Duncan; Announces New Program Schedule. Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” announces it has signed a contract renewal with sports talk host – and former St. Louis Cardinals star – Chris Duncan. The term of the contract was not announced. Program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert states, “We are excited to have Chris continue with ‘101ESPN,’ he is a tremendously talented guy and a hard worker who prepares in great depth every day to entertain and inform the ‘101ESPN’ audience.” At the same time, the station announces its new post-morning drive lineup effective 11/25: Kevin Wheeler, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; “The Turn” with Chris Duncan and Anthony Stalter, 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm; and “The Fast Lane” with Randy Karraker and D’Marco Farr (with Brad Thompson joining the show on Monday, January 6th, 2013) from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
FCC Approves Hiking Foreign Ownership Limit; NAB Approves. The mood at the Federal Communications Commission was ebullient as all five commissioners signed on to a policy change that would allow for foreign investment in U.S. broadcasting signals. The new policy would not put a strict limit on the percentage of interest allowed but would only kick in the FCC’s scrutiny if the stake goes above 25%. The days of concern over foreign control over content on American airwaves are long over and the NAB weighed in on the change, with president and CEO Gordon Smith stating, “NAB applauds the FCC for providing flexibility in commission rules allowing increased foreign investment in broadcast TV and radio stations. We are especially pleased the FCC recognized that local broadcasters routinely provide ‘local news, Amber Alerts and public safety information’ to serve our communities. Today’s vote provides broadcasters greater access to capital that will allow local stations to continue our indispensable role as the primary purveyor of news, entertainment and lifeline information to the American people.”
Talk Media Network Brings Weekly Satirical News Program into the Fold. “Now It’s the News with Derrick Blair” joins the Josh Leng-led Talk Media Network. The company says in a statement, “While many shows embrace talking points and are overly predictable, Derrick Blair brings a refreshing approach to ‘Now It’s The News,’ in the genre of ‘enlightened entertainment’ that includes ‘The Colbert Report’ found on Comedy Central.” Blair adds, “In the truest spirit of bipartisanship, ‘Now It’s The News’ will continue to mock the left, the right, the center, and all points in between.” Josh Leng comments on the one-hour, weekly program, “’Now It’s The News with Derrick Blair’ appeals to core radio listeners who love news and politics, but also to a much wider audience who simply enjoy a good laugh and quality entertainment. Derrick’s show is 100% original, and serves as a perfect bridge between political and non-political programming, giving listeners a humorous transition. It’s also a great way to laugh off some of the stress that can build up during the week.” The program has been in syndication since 2010.
Cumulus-Townsquare Deal Closes. Yesterday, Cumulus Media announced that it had completed the sale to Townsquare Media, LLC of 53 radio stations in 12 small and mid-sized markets for approximately $238 million in cash, and the swap with Townsquare of 15 radio stations in two small and mid-sized markets in exchange for five radio stations in Fresno, California (together, the “Townsquare Transaction”). Cumulus reports in an 8-K filing that it intends to use the cash proceeds from the Townsquare Transaction to fund a portion of the purchase price payable to complete its previously announced acquisition of Dial Global, Inc., now known as WestwoodOne. This acquisition is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2013.
WPHT, Philadelphia Celebrates 57 Years of Sid Mark’s Broadcast Career. The Philadelphia broadcaster is best known these days for his nationally syndicated weekly program “The Sounds of Sinatra.” Home base – news/talk station WPHT, Philadelphia – is celebrating the career of Sid Mark tonight at a special, sold-out event at Galdo’s in Philadelphia to celebrate his 57th year hosting “The Sounds of Sinatra.” The evening will feature Bobby Rydell and the sounds of the 17-piece big band City Rhythm Orchestra paying tribute to Sid Mark. CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “Sid is not only a Philadelphia treasure, but a national treasure as well. His legendary voice has insured that another legendary voice has remained quite legendary. We are honored to have him as a member of our team at WPHT.” Sid Mark launched “The Sounds of Sinatra” in Philadelphia 57 years ago after a caller suggested that Sid spin one hour of Frank Sinatra songs. That tradition developed into “Friday with Frank,” as well as “Sunday with Sinatra” which presently airs on 1210 WPHT on Sundays from 9:00 to 1:00 pm. “The Sounds of Sinatra,” now heard on more than 100 radio stations from coast to coast, is the only radio program of its kind to have been personally authorized by Frank Sinatra.
Dave Ramsey Fills the House in Greenville. Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey is pictured here on stage in Greenville, South Carolina last night presenting his new “Legacy Journey LIVE!” The program discusses how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage. Ramsey combined forces with local affiliate WORD, to promote the event. Entercom Upstate director of news and programming Bob McLain states, “As a heritage partner with Dave Ramsey it’s a pleasure to be able to welcome Dave and Rachel Cruze to the Upstate…The opportunity for ‘WORD 106.3’ to partner with Dave in this venture, as we do on the air, just helps to cement the personal relationship our listeners have with Dave and the station.” Also, on Wednesday, Ramsey hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” in Birmingham, Alabama with speaker Chris Hogan addressing how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 350 employees.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Envision Radio Networks’ “America Weekend” featuring hosts Paul Harris, Turi Ryder and Rob Carson, is added to the program schedule at Blount Broadcasting Corporation’s talk WKVL and rock WNFZ in Knoxville, Tennessee…..Genesis Communications Networks-syndicated Dr. Daliah Wachs joins the program lineup at WZGM, Asheville, North Carolina.
ObamaCare Rollout Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM. The ongoing criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the fourth straight week. At #2 this week was the GOP strategy for the 2014 and 2016 elections tied with analysis of the November 5 elections. Following at #3 was President Obama’s declining poll numbers tied with the new Benghazi allegations and at #4 was the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s chart here.
Don Imus Signs Extension with Cumulus to Remain on WABC and in Syndication. Radio legend Don Imus inks a deal that will keep him in the morning slot on WABC, New York for another three years. The 72-year-old broadcasting icon has been hosting mornings on WABC for the past five years. Cumulus chief operating officer John Dickey says in a statement, “I am delighted that our listeners and advertisers have the certainty of knowing Don and his amazing team at ‘Imus In The Morning’ will remain on 77 WABC for at least three more years. Don is a radio legend and is an important part of our team.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was quoted in The New York Times addressing the quality of the Imus audience when asked by reporter Ben Sisario about Imus’ ratings relative to other big-name talk hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Harrison told the Times, “Although ratings count, they don’t count as much with Imus. He’s always had a very loyal and upper-echelon clientele. They’re active, affluent, and tuned in to politics, business and popular culture on the kind of level that radio companies and ad agencies like.”
The Laura Ingraham Watch Continues; Cumulus Denies Rumors of Ingraham Deal. Rumors of where talk media personality Laura Ingraham will surface with a new, nationally syndicated talk show after parting from Talk Radio Network several weeks ago continue to pop up. But Cumulus Media COO John Dickey tells TALKERS there is no truth to the rumor she is joining his company for a national syndication deal. TALKERS sources are hearing rumblings that instead of hooking up with a broadcasting corporation that also owns stations (Clear Channel, Cumulus), Ingraham is busy working on a project for a new radio talk show with legendary syndicator Norm Pattiz in that effort. Ingraham mentioned on Fox News Channel on December 7 that she would announce something this week but, as most broadcasters know, issues can pop up that delay these types of announcements.
“The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio” Panel from LA Seminar Now on TALKERS TV. One of the main panels at the recent TALKERS magazine New Media Seminar 2012 held in Los Angeles is now playing on TALKERS TV. “The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio” features an outstanding lineup of industry leaders from various points on the spectrum of talk radio programming including Don Martin, VP programming, Fox Sports Radio/OM, KLAC, Los Angeles; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media/WYM Media; Phil Boyce, VP/director, Spoken Word Format, Salem Communications; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; and Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News. The panel is moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who describes the session as “a sweeping overview of the key issues facing talk radio in 2012.” To view it please see the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.
Red Zebra Suspends Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin for “Intolerant” and “Insensitive” Language. Afternoon drive hosts Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin – hosts of the “Sports Reporters” program on Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980” – were suspended for two days this week after they were deemed to have engaged in “intolerant” and “insensitive” behavior while talking about a transgender athlete. The segment centered around an article about 50-year-old Gabrielle Ludwig, a junior college basketball player who wants to get back into organized sports to set an example for others. During the conversation, Czaban and Pollin referred to Ludwig as “it.” Director of programming Chuck Sapienza wrote in a statement, “We strongly believe two of our employees crossed the line when discussing a transsexual person on their program last Thursday. Such intolerance and insensitivity will never be tolerated by this company. Due to the nature of their conversation, the pair have been temporarily removed from ESPN980’s ‘Sports Reporters’ program.” On Monday’s program the two read an apology on air.
KCSP, Kansas City Names John Hanson Program Director. Entercom’s sports talk KCSP, Kansas City “610 Sports Radio” announces John Hanson is the new program director, taking over for Ryan Maguire who exited to take the PD post at CBS Radio’s sports outlet KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh. Hanson comes to KCSP from the Minneapolis market where he has worked with KSTP-TV and KSTP-AM “1500 ESPN.” Previously he programmed both KBAD “ESPN Radio 920” and KENO “Fox Sports Radio 1460” in Las Vegas. Entercom vice president and market manager Dave Alpert states, “Kansas City is a highly competitive sports radio market. I know that John’s drive and passion for sports radio, along with his extensive radio and broadcast experience, will build on the station’s success and take it to the next level.” On taking the gig at KCSP, Hanson says, “I’m leaving an excellent situation in my own hometown to take this opportunity at ‘610 Sports Radio.’ That sums up how much I think of what has been built there, and what can still be accomplished. Kansas City and ‘610 Sports Radio’ are simply too great for me to pass up.” Hanson begins his new post on January 14.
Odds & Sods. SiriusXM gives comedian and Opie & Anthony co-host Jim Norton his own weekly advice program on the O&A channel. Norton, who also hosts a music show called “Norton’s Obsessed” on Ozzie’s Boneyard channel, begins his one-hour, call-in show at 10:00 am today (12/12)…..WOLB, Baltimore morning drive host Larry Young will do a live broadcast at The AFRO headquarters from 6:00 am to 10:00 am for the 12th Annual Toy Teddy Bear and Clothing Drive. Young says, “I’m always excited about Christmas and being able to help others, especially the children. Last year we took care of more than 500 kids and we expect to at least match that this year.”…..Vox Radio Group eliminates the news anchor position of 16-year market veteran Tom Conklin who handled morning news duties at WBEC-FM, Pittsfield, Massachusetts and WSBS, Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
Fighting Golic. ESPN Radio and ESPN2 morning show co-star Mike Golic gives the camera his best “Fighting Irish” pose after being presented with a 50th birthday cake in the same image. Golic’s alma mater Notre Dame — for which his two sons currently play — is facing Alabama in the National Championship game January 7.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, NC ‘Choose Life’ License Plate Flap, Syria Violence, Egypt Protests, and North Korea Rocket Launch Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/11). The fight in Washington over solving the “fiscal cliff” problem; the political controversy in North Carolina over the court’s ruling on its “choose life” license plate; continuing violence in Syria and the threat of chemical weapons use; protests in Egypt and the region’s instability; and North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.