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Monday Memo: RIP Bill Balls

| May 2, 2022

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — The 1970s-sounding “Star Wars” type lasers and WHOOSH that still plague sound-alike station imaging now seem as dated as those 1960s TV “Batman” fight-scene graphics: “POW!” And doggedly dodging them all is the Central Casting baritone, shouting or growling-through whatever copy the station sends.

“To stand out, take whatever you think is normal, and do the exact opposite.”

50 years ago, I was an English teacher; and I’ve been assigning reading ever since. And here’s a page-turner that will not only inform your station’s on-air marketing, it may inspire your career.

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Friday, April 8, 2022

| April 8, 2022

 

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Atrocities,” looks back at this past week of 4/4 to 4/8. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSDerek Hunter, talk show host, WCBM, Baltimore; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood OneWalter Sterling, talk show host, “Sterling on Sunday”; Arthur Aidala, criminal trial lawyer/talk show host, AM 970 The Answer, New York and Matthew B. Harrison, associate publisher, TALKERS/law professor, Western New England University School of Law. The show airs weekends on WONK-FM, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; KMZQ, Las Vegas;  WTPL, Manchester, NH; WEMJ, Laconia, NH; WTSN, Dover-Portsmouth, NH; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPodcast Radio UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

 

KVI, Seattle to Add Rita Cosby Show to Program Lineup. Programming changes will take place at Lotus Communications’ talk outlet KVI-AM, Seattle “Talk Radio 570” on Monday (4/11). The station will move the Radio America syndicated “The Dana Show” starring Dana Loesch to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm daypart and will add “The Rita Cosby Show” in the 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm slot. Lotus says, “Cosby is one of the most recognized and respected broadcasters in America who has attained an extraordinary level of success in multiple arenas that few in the media landscape have achieved. Cosby was named Radio Ink’s 2018 Most Influential Woman Legend of the Year and has won six Gracie Awards in radio, including for Outstanding Host and Outstanding Talk Show. She is also a renowned Emmy-winning TV host, who anchored highly rated primetime shows on both FOX News Channel and MSNBC.” KVI program director Rick Van Cise adds, “Dana Loesch has proven to be a great addition to KVI’s nighttime lineup – so much so that we are expanding her show and moving it to an earlier timeslot. We are also thrilled to announce the addition of Rita Cosby who will help KVI listeners wrap up their evening with a deep-dive into the latest news along with powerful and compelling interviews.”

 

Former Missouri House Speaker Elijah Haahr to Host Afternoon Show on KWTO-AM, Springfield. Beginning Monday (4/11), former Missouri House Speaker Elijah Haahr will host the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm show on Zimmer Midwest Communications’ news/talk KWTO-AM/K227AO, Springfield, Missouri. The station says that Haahr graduated with honors from the law school at the University of Missouri and practiced law before serving eight years in the Missouri General Assembly, including as Speaker of the House from 2018-21. The station employs another former House Speaker in morning host Tim Jones. Zimmer-Springfield operations manager Tom Ladd says Haahr was a “no-brainer for a station that’s quickly becoming known as the ‘Speaker’s House.’ Elijah brings so much passion for radio and a connection with listeners. His show will be informative, bit it will also be a lot of fun.”

 

Good Karma Brands Announces New Digital Program ‘Good Karma Wrestling.’ Last night (4/7), Good Karma Brands debuted its new digital content venture, “Good Karma Wrestling (GKW),” across its social and digital platforms. The weekly show, hosted by ESPN Chicago’s Jonathan Hood, ESPN Milwaukee’s Gabe Neitzel, and ESPN West Palm’s Brian Rowitz, now streams every Thursday at 7:00 pm ET. Good Karma Brands VP of content Evan Cohen says, “We are extremely excited to launch our first coast-to-coast show with Good Karma Wrestling. Jonathan, Gabe and Brian will bring a fresh insight and fun energy to the show, and nothing speaks to sports and entertainment quite like wrestling.” GKB adds that every “Good Karma Wrestling” show will be viewable to watch back and linked on GKB’s platforms.

 

‘Island Time in the Desert with TMac & Noah’ Joins Up On Game Presents Podcast Lineup. A new podcast joins the Up on Game Podcast Network led by FOX Sports Radio’s LaVar Arrington.  The new show, “Island Time in the Desert with TMac & Noah,” featuring University of Arizona freshman football players Tetairoa “TMac” McMillan and Noah Fifita to the Up On Game Presents podcast lineup. The podcast gives “listeners a front row seat as two student athletes navigate the rigors of college life in the classroom and on the field. The duo will share their thoughts and opinions on the week’s trials and victories, as well as interviews with guests along their journey.” Arrington says, “I’m excited to welcome these young men, who I watched grow up in front of my eyes, to the Up on Game Presents feed. Noah and TMac changed the whole landscape of high school football in the Trinity League – arguably the toughest league in the country. They played a vital role in making Servite High School football relevant again and I believe they will do the same for Arizona. Powerful, impactful, young voices are needed and essential for our youth in this day and age, and I’m proud and honored to welcome Noah and TMac to the Up On Game Presents family.”

 

The Russia-Ukraine War/U.S. Foreign Policy Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 4-8. The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, allegations of war crimes against Russian soldiers, and the U.S. foreign policy combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the economy, including still-high gas prices, the high cost of food, and the supply chain, followed by the actions of the January 6 Committee at #3. 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. See this week’s complete chart here.

Monday Memo: Your Egg-Timer?

| March 14, 2022

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Baseball stations: Exhale. WE HAVE A DEAL. As you read this, Spring Training is underway, and Opening Day is April 7.

We need it. Pandemic-weary and weathering climate change, we’ve been tested. Now, the Ukraine crisis breaks our hearts and inflation busts family budgets. And one of baseball’s best showed me a simple trick that suggests how radio can matter more to listeners in these challenging times.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2022

| February 9, 2022

Report: Mike Golic Jr. Exits ESPN Radio. According to a piece in the New York Post, Mike Golic Jr. has left his role as co-host of the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET show alongside Chris Canty. Although the paper says Golic Jr. didn’t respond to a request for a comment, he tweeted, “life update” tweet: yesterday was officially my last day at ESPN. it was 6.5 years of my professional life, but really it’s been all I’ve ever known. simply put, ESPN changed my life in ways I will never be able to properly express my gratitude for.” As the Post notes, Golic Jr. joined ESPN in 2015 and originally contributed to the “Golic & Wingo” show with his father, Mike Golic, and Trey Wingo. Golic Sr. left the company in 2020. The Post report says a source told it ESPN made an offer to Golic Jr. but he chose not to take it. Chris Canty will continue hosting afternoons with rotating guest hosts joining him for now.

WLS-AM, Chicago Adds ‘The Pete McMurray Show.’ Windy City news/talk WLS-AM, is picking up the weekend program starring market media pro Pete McMurray that will air Saturdays from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Cumulus Media says “The Pete McMurray Show” that also features Chicago performer Lisa Kotara and veteran Chicago radio personality Rob Martier and will “serve up two hours of Chicago-style laughter, lifestyle and local content” and “cover entertainment, celebrities, sports, politics, social issues, and everything that is topical and fun in a highly listenable format that feels like an evening spent with friends.” McMurray comments, “We are SO EXCITED to be back on the radio in Chicago, especially the ‘WLS 50,000-watt blowtorch!’ WLS is our 7th station added in six months to our growing Illinois and Northwest Indiana network. We couldn’t be more pumped! We all have enough problems in our lives. We want to make you laugh when you tune into the show.”

RAB: Radio’s Digital Sales Up 33%. According to the 10th annual benchmarking report on the industry’s digital activities from the Radio Advertising Bureau, local radio stations hit the jackpot with digital sales last year, generating $1.5 billion. The report adds that stations are poised to follow last year’s growth of 33% with another strong year, with digital sales forecast to grow 22%, approaching the $2 billion mark. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments, “The findings from this report highlight the rewarded efforts of stations’ digital offerings to drive results for local advertisers. The focus on the importance of digital training has produced dividends for stations and sellers alike. RAB continues to provide business and professional development training that will help stations to super-serve their local businesses.” The report was compiled by Borrell Associates whose CEO, Gordon Borrell, says, “I’m happy to report that we underestimated radio’s digital determination when we published last year’s report. We predicted that radio would hit a double by increasing sales 18%. They hit a triple – maybe even a home run. It’s quite impressive, especially when you see that little stat that shows how digitally savvy radio sales reps are in the eyes of local advertisers.” The annual report showed that the average station made $362,250 in digital revenue in 2021, and the average market cluster made $1.6 million. Top-performing market clusters made more than $10 million, even in some of the smaller markets. The report, “Finally, A Digital Bounty: Radio’s Digital Sales Rise 33%,” is available to RAB members.

Cumulus Media and Bulwark Partner for Podcast Distribution. An agreement between Cumulus Media and political news and analysis network The Bulwark will put the latter’s podcast content on the Cumulus Podcast Network. Under the terms of the agreement, Cumulus monetizes all existing and forthcoming podcasts from The Bulwark, a first for The Bulwark shows. Cumulus also markets and distributes the podcasts, which include “The Bulwark Podcast,” “Beg to Differ with Mona Charen,” “The Focus Group with Sarah Longwell,” and “The Bulwark Goes to Hollywood.” Bulwark publisher Sarah Longwell comments, “The Bulwark is committed to building a home for the politically untethered through smart political analysis free from tribal loyalties. Our partnership with Cumulus Media will enable The Bulwark to build on its strong audience growth over the past three years. Cumulus is first class in political podcast advertising and we’re extremely excited to begin this partnership.”

Al Roker and Deborah Roberts to Host BFoA Golden Mike Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that husband and wife broadcasters Al Roker and Deborah Roberts will host the charitable organization’s Golden Mike Award dinner and ceremony. The 2022 BFOA Golden Mike Award returns following a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic and will take place Monday, March 14, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. As previously announced, this year’s BFOA Golden Mike Award honoree will be Hilton Howell, Jr., chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Gray Television and Atlantic American Corporation. The Lifetime Achievment Award will be presented to renowned sportscaster Lesley Visser.

Gordon Smith to Receive NAB’s Distinguished Service Award. Former National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith will receive the organization’s Distinguished Service Award during the 2022 NAB Show in Las Vegas at the NAB Show Welcome session on Monday, April 25. Smith served as president and CEO of NAB from November 2009 until his transition to special advisor at the end of 2021. NAB president and CEO Curtis LeGeyt states, “As the head of NAB for more than a decade, Gordon was instrumental in advancing our agenda to help radio and television stations thrive. Gordon’s leadership, dedication and political acumen have enabled broadcasters to continue serving their local communities in ways no other medium can. It is an honor to present him with the Distinguished Service Award in recognition of the immense impact he has left on broadcasting in our country and around the world.”

Women in Radio to Host Live Event in Atlanta. The organization Women In Radio is holding its 6th annual “Cocktails, Cupcakes, and Conversations” conference on Saturday, March 5, at WeWork Ponce City Market in Atlanta from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. WIR says that RTDNA/Newhouse School at Syracuse University research found women are under 40% of the radio workforce, which is down from last year. WIR founder Meaghan Taylor (who serves as digital content producer for “The Steve Harvey Show”) says, “Women working in the radio industry somewhat decreased over the last year due in part to the pandemic. This event will provide in-depth radio expertise from women working across all platforms in this space including, trends and shifts in the market they may be experiencing.” WIR ambassador Chelsea LeMore will serve as the host. Panelists include on-air personality, Voice of Nights at Q99.7 FM Jade Jones, Cox Media Group integrated sales manager Beth Nifong-Mitchell, “CockTales” podcast host Kiki Said So, “Power 106.1” Atlanta on-air personality Shelby SOS, Pandora hip hop programming curator Dominique Higdon, and iHeartMedia SVP of programming Meg Stevens. You can buy tickets here.

TALKERS News Notes. Houston sports media pro Charlie Pallilo says he’s no longer a host on Gow Media’s KFNC-FM “ESPN 97.5.” He tweeted, “Most things have a shelf life. My tenure hosting daily at 97.5/92.5 is finished. Please wake me when the Astros’ season starts. Or May 1, whichever comes first.”…..Software provider vCreative names Drew Cain senior vice president of technology. Cain joins vCreative to oversee its product development team, platform operations, security and IT, and will report directly to CEO Susie Hedrick. Most recently, Cain held senior engineering roles and oversaw mission critical cloud infrastructure projects at Simpli.fi, helping to design, code and deploy products that optimize workflow and provide omnichannel programmatic advertising solutions across CTV, audio, mobile, display, and other media types.

COVID-19, January 6 RNC Rift, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill, Ukraine Tensions, North Korea Missile Tests, and Beijing Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/8). The numerous states preparing to eliminate mask mandates in schools and other public places and the Canadian truckers’ Freedom Convoy; the January 6 investigation and the rift between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the RNC over the proposed censure of Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announces support for state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill that would prevent discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in primary schools; diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the latter’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; North Korea’s recent test of long-range ballistic missiles; and the Beijing Winter Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

| December 14, 2021

Good Karma Brands to Acquire ESPN Stations in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The three sports talk radio stations owned by Disney/ESPN are being acquired by Good Karma Brands, LLC under a deal that is expected to close during the first quarter of 2022. The stations are WEPN-AM, New York; KSPN-AM, Los Angeles; and WMVP-AM, Chicago. The deal will also have Good Karma Brands perform ESPN’s obligations under the current Local Marketing Agreement for WEPN-FM, New York “98.7 ESPN.” As part of a long-term affiliation agreement, all three stations will remain as ESPN Radio affiliates and continue broadcasting ESPN Network Radio content as well as locally produced programming. There is no price revealed in the press release from GKB. The company has been operating WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000” under an LMA since October 2019. Good Karma founder and CEO Craig Karmazin says, “We are thrilled to add ESPN New York and ESPN Los Angeles to GKB. These stations and teammates give us an expanded footprint and increased resources to help meet our mission of serving our teammates, fans and advertising partners at a best-in-class level.” ESPN Audio vice president Scott McCarthy comments, “At ESPN, we are focused on evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of our business, providing the outstanding content that our fans expect, and growing our audience in critical, leading markets. We have a strong, 20-plus year relationship with Good Karma Brands and know they will further contribute to the success of these great local audio operations.” In addition, the companies have agreed to extend their ESPN Digital sales agreement, which began in 2015, in which GKB represents display and video inventory on ESPN.com and the ESPN App to local and regional advertisers in 14 select markets.

Porth Joins WSCR, Chicago as Assistant Brand Manager. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Ryan Porth is leaving his program director position at Cromwell Media’s sports talk WPRT, Nashville “102.5 The Game” to joins Audacy’s sports talk WSCR-AM, Chicago “The Score” as assistant brand manager, effective January 3. WSCR operations director and brand manager Mitch Rosen is quoted saying, “He will assist us in multiple facets — from organization, digital ideation and assisting all of us moving ‘The Score’ brand forward into the future.” Porth has served as PD of WPRT since 2016 and also served as executive producer for the Nashville Predators Radio Network.

Bonilla Rises to PD at KXNT, Las Vegas. TALKERS magazine hears that Audacy has promoted Mark Bonilla from his assistant program director position at news/talk KXNT-AM, Las Vegas to program director for the station. He assumes the role previously held by Paul Ihander.

Audacy and Voicify Partner for Voice Capabilities Across Digital Platform. A new multiyear partnership is struck between Audacy and Voicify, a company described in a press release as “the market leader in conversation experience management software that combines voice optimized content management, cross-platform deployment, and voice-specific customer insights.” As part of this deal, Audacy will leverage Voicify’s services to drive interactive voice capabilities across the Audacy platform and make station-branded skills more easily accessible for listeners via any voice assistant-enabled device. Audacy will also license Voicify’s patented platform – The Voicify Conversation Experience Platform – to create and deliver innovative, interactive voice ads and voice commerce experiences through digital audio content for advertisers. The Voicify Conversation Experience Platform enables marketers to connect with their customers by creating highly engaging and personalized voice experiences that are automatically deployed to a broad array of voice platforms, including smart speakers. Audacy chief digital officer J.D. Crowley comments, “As we continue to expand and enhance the Audacy direct-to-consumer platform, adding new interactive voice capabilities and enabling voice commerce experiences across a wide range of devices is an important area of future growth, especially in an age where flexibility and speed to market are a must have for our advertising partners. We are excited to partner with Voicify to provide next generation interactive advertising solutions to our clients to help make their advertising more actionable.”

Former WLS-AM, Chicago Talk Host Stephanie Trussell to Run for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois. Former weekend talk host Stephanie Trussell is joining Illinois State Senator Darren Bailey on the Republican ticket for lieutenant governor and governor, respectively. Trussell had hosted the Saturday afternoon program on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago after winning the station’s “Next Talk Star” contest in 2012. She left the weekend gig in 2019 but continued to host a podcast for the station for a period.

Newsmax Names Duchardt Congressional Correspondent. Journalist Kilmeny Duchardt is joining Newsmax as congressional correspondent. A press release says that Kilmeny brings more than 15 years of media experience with the Associated Press, Reuters and most recently as an anchor with Turkish TV’s TRT World. Duchardt has spent the last three years anchoring “Turkish TV’s TRT World” U.S. primetime news bulletins out of Washington, covering the U.S. election, Congress, the White House and other major global news events. Newsmax news director Chris Wallace states, “Kilmeny is a well-regarded journalist known for getting the story right. She will be a great addition to our growing team.” Duchardt comments, “Trust isn’t given, it’s earned. I take great pride in earning the trust of my viewers. I look forward to gaining the respect of our diverse audience at Newsmax and being a source they can count on.”

TALKERS News Notes. Digital and tech services provider Triton Digital announces it is expanding its Podcast Reports to Canada. Triton says the Canadian Podcast Report will provide insight into the Top Podcasts and Networks in Canada each month, as measured by Triton’s Podcast Metrics measurement service. The inaugural Canadian Podcast report will be issued in late Q1 2022. Triton president of market development John Rosso states, “As podcast listening in Canada continues to rise, advertisers need reliable measurement to better understand the performance of on-demand and podcast content. Expanding our Podcast Reports to the Canadian market, where we already have a strong presence, highlights our commitment to eliminate inconsistent measurement practices and self-reported data, providing content marketers, media buyers, and the audio industry at large with access to validated and transparent podcast metrics in the Canadian market for the first time.”.….New Hampshire Public Radio promotes staffer Rebecca Lavoie to director of on-demand audio. Lavoie joined NHPR in 2010 to produce the daily magazine program “Word of Mouth” and most recently served as director of audience & engagement. NHPR president and CEO Jim Schachter says, “Rebecca has nurtured an explosion of excellent journalism and inspired creativity throughout NHPR. Her keen editorial ear is evident in all the material produced under her leadership. Her deep roots in the community and knowledge of the podcast industry make her an essential contributor to our senior management team.”…..Audacy announces that its Richmond stations – including news/talk WRVA – raised more than $670,000 to benefit Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU during the annual “36-Hours for Kids Radiothon.”…..The syndicated “Motley Fool Money” show hosted by Chris Hill is added to the weekend lineup on Bennett Radio Group’s news/talk duo “The Patriot” in WEZR-AM, Rumford and WPNO-AM, South Paris, Maine…..Pictured below is “Florida Man Radio” (WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando and WZLB-FM, Fort Walton Beach) personality Shannon Burke (left) with Key Networks syndicated radio star Bill O’Reilly (right) backstage at the Amway Center in Orlando on Sunday (12/12). Burke attended the “History Tour” event with O’Reilly and former President Donald Trump – a series of live conversations between Trump and O’Reilly about the four-year Trump administration.

FOX News Radio’s Jimmy Failla to Be Part of FNC’s New Year’s Eve Programming. This New Year’s Eve, FOX News Channel is presenting special programming from 10:00 pm to 1:30 am ET featuring “FOX & Friends Weekend” co-hosts Pete Hegseth, Rachel Campos-Duffy and Will Cain live from the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville. Joining the trio in the holiday programming will be Jimmy Failla, host of FOX News Radio’s “FOX Across America” midday show, who will perform stand-up comedy from the Wildhorse Saloon. Also involved in the programming will be FOX Nation’s Lawrence Jones, “Outnumbered” co-host Emily Compagno and FOX News correspondent Griff Jenkins from Times Square, FOX News contributor Raymond Arroyo and FOX Nation host Abby Hornacek in New Orleans, and FOX News Congressional correspondent Aishah Hasnie from Folly Beach in Charleston, South Carolina and FOX Business correspondent Madison Alworth from Tampa Bay, Florida.

COVID-19, Economy/Supply Chain/Inflation, Software Vulnerability, Build Back Better, January 6 Investigation, Russia’s Ukraine Aggression, and Tornadoes Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/13). The rate of COVID-19 cases around the world, the Omicron variant, Pfizer’s pill, and mandates; the state of the U.S. economy, the ongoing supply chain woes, and high consumer prices; criticism of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack, Mark Meadows’ refusal to cooperate with the House committee, and new email revelations; the G7 nations’ warning to Russia about military action in Ukraine; and the aftermath of the deadly tornadoes in Kentucky and Illinois were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.