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By Holland Cooke
- “The Station That Reaches The Beaches,” the legacy liner with which long-ago PD Al Herskovitz bludgeoned high-band directional AM format competitor WICE; and
- “The Greatest Summer of Your Life,” by then-PD Jay Clark. And for me it sure was. He hired me for Saturday and Sunday nights, $2.50 an hour, and I would have paid him. That gig was my career turning point.
As Jay showed me around the station that day, he pointed to the whiteboard, and said – winking as he took the pipe out of his mouth – “Keep saying those two lines.” And he had us walking-the-talk, showing-up everywhere, creating our own events and hijacking others. Delivering experiences.
iHeartMedia Voluntarily Prepays $250 Million Loan. The company announces that its indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary, iHeartCommunications, Inc., has successfully completed the previously announced voluntary prepayment of a portion of both its $2,070 million Term Loan and its $446 million Incremental Term Loan, utilizing cash on hand, while concurrently repricing the Incremental Term Loan at a new rate of LIBOR + 3.25%. The prepayment was applied to the Term Loan and the Incremental Term Loan on a pro-rata basis, resulting in $206 million being used to prepay the Term Loan and $44 million to prepay the Incremental Term Loan. The interest rate on the remaining $402 million balance of the Incremental Term Loan was lowered by 100 basis points, including the impact of a 25-basis points LIBOR floor reduction. The prepayment and the new rate are expected to save iHeartMedia approximately $13 million in interest expense on an annualized basis.
Emmis to Cease Broadcasting on WFNI-AM After Agreeing to Transmitter Site Deal. According to a report by Alex Brown at Inside Indiana Business, Emmis Communications will shut down the 1070 AM signal of sports talk WFNI, Indianapolis “The Fan” after August 1 because it has sold a part of the transmitter site. The company will continue to broadcast “The Fan” on WIBC-HD2 and FM translators W228CX at 93.5 and W298BB at 107.5. Emmis founder and chairman Jeff Smulyan says, “As long-time owners of 1070, we are working diligently on finding the next great use for the signal. We were offered a wonderful opportunity to monetize the property and felt it was our obligation to explore that. Ultimately, it made the most sense.” Emmis tells IIB that “it had the tower site rezoned for mixed-use commercial, office, and residential developments more than a year ago. The entire site covers 70 acres on Perry Worth Road near I-65 in Whitestown and additional parcels are currently listed for sale.”
Music Radio Royalty Update: Are Labels Hastening ‘The Day The (free) Music Died?’ — Battle lines are drawn over performance payments FMs fear. And dueling congressional actions demonstrate Washington-speak 101: “Fairness” vs. “Freedom.” On his TV show “The Big Picture,” consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke (above, center) discusses with Talkers Radio GM David Bernstein (left) and Texas station owner Paul Gleiser (right). And for Talk stations, how’s Life-after-Limbaugh? Panelists react to a clip from Michael Harrison’s Fireside Chat with Bill O’Reilly at the June 11 TALKERS 2021 Conference at Hofstra University. Watch it here.
SRN’s Eric Metaxas Interviews Mike Pompeo at Turning Point USA’s Student Action Summit. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network host Eric Metaxas (left) with former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during their live broadcast interview from Turning Point USA’s Student Action Summit in Tampa yesterday (7/19). This year’s event attracted more than 3,000 high school and college activists and included speakers such as Pompeo, Congressman Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Salem Radio Network host Dr. Sebastian Gorka, and Turning Point USA founder and SRN talk host Charlie Kirk.
TALKERS News Notes. Denver talk radio host Steffan Tubbs was interviewed recently by KCNC-TV, Denver about his bout with COVID-19. Tubbs is afternoon drive personality on Salem Media Group’s news/talk KNUS, Denver and he told KCNC-TV that he was not vaccinated, spent a week in the hospital and missed 51 days of work. While he says he’ll not tell others to get vaccinated, he did say, “To those who think COVID is a hoax, you’re crazy”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Aisha Jefferson is promoted from her part-time digital content producer role at Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM to full-time producer. She joined the station in 2019. WBBM brand manager Ron Gleason writes in a memo to staffers, “Aisha has been with us for a couple years and has patiently awaited this well-deserved opportunity.”…..SiriusXM announces a week-long tribute to legendary comedienne Joan Rivers. The SiriusXM Comedy Greats channel will play exclusive, never-before-released recordings from the final 20 years of Rivers’ career. SiriusXM says that now, for the first time ever, each day throughout the week fans will get to hear some of Rivers’ best stand-up moments. The special will include material from Rivers’ performances in London, Boston, West Palm Beach and more…..The “Motley Fool Money” show starring host Chris Hill adds Midwest Communications‘ WHTC-AM/W259CO, Holland, Michigan as its newest affiliate station.
PodcastOne to Launch New Show ‘Cheating: When Love Lies.’ The new podcast from PodcastOne is called “Cheating: When Love Lies” and his hosted by Jillian Hamilton. PodcastOne says it’s a “deep dive into the complex emotions surrounding these secret unions.” Creator and host Hamilton delves into the taboo topic of cheating and asks the hard questions about affairs: how common are they, who’s having them, and why? These questions illicit unexpected answers that reveal both men and women as people actively seeking something – validation, escape, understanding, vengeance, thrill, love, sex, and romance – outside of committed partnerships. “Cheating: When Love Lies” resists the condemnation of affairs as uniquely wrong or bad and instead considers their usefulness in learning as much about relationships as we learn about ourselves.
Audacy Debuts New Podcast Starring Carmelo Anthony. Top-10 all-time NBA scorer, 10-time NBA All-Star, and three-time Olympic gold medalist Carmelo Anthony today announced that he and his multi-platform content company Creative 7 are partnering with Audacy’s Cadence13 to launch his viral, wine-focused YouTube series, “What’s In Your Glass?” On the podcast, Anthony invites listeners to sit in on intimate chats with leading guests from the worlds of sports, wine, business, entertainment, music, politics, and more over a glass (or two) of wine. Notable guests include Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, songstress Andra Day, Oscar-winning filmmaker Shaka King, rapper T-Pain, NBA star JJ Redick, and more.
COVID-19, Twitter Suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene, U.S. Blames China for Microsoft Hack, Voting Legislation/Texas Dems Case, Biden Infrastructure Bill, Urban Crime Wave, January 6 Investigation, Western Heat and Wildfires, Bezos Space Trip Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/19). The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in all 50 states and the stalled rate of vaccinations; Twitter temporarily suspends Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene for spreading COVID misinformation; the Joe Biden administration publicly blames China for the recent hack of Microsoft’s exchange email server; the numerous state laws toughening voting requirements and the Texas Democrats who fled the station to avoid voting on that state’s bill; this week’s debate on the $1 trillion Biden infrastructure bill; the soaring rate of violent crime in many of America’s big cities; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the sentencing of the first to be prosecuted; the heatwave and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West; and billionaire Jeff Bezos’ trip into space were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Salem Media Group Seeks Talk Host for Christian Talk KKLA-FM, Los Angeles. Salem Media Los Angeles is looking for the next host for its live daily talk show on Christian formatted 99.5 KKLA. The company says: “This is talk radio with a difference. It’s a Christian perspective on news of the day. The average length of time hosts have held this position is eight-plus years, and our current host is moving on to other ministry work. Affinity for and understanding of the target audience of Christians, or spiritual ‘seekers’ is necessary. Impacting the culture and lives can be deeply satisfying, so much more so than many typical ‘shows.’ If you are still reading this posting, tired of less meaningful hosting, if you are ready for a change, if you are intrigued by this opportunity, pray about it and don’t hesitate to get in touch for more details. This show can tend to be off the radar of ‘general market’ talk radio, so in case you are wondering, this is a legit afternoon drive talk show, topics, guests, listener calls. Salem is a public company, we are not a church, we are a commercial radio station. Most of us here have a background in competitive ‘general market’ radio. And we have been attracted to working for Salem because of the difference it makes in our own lives, and the lives of our audience base and communities. The show is heard in both Los Angeles and San Diego during afternoon drive each weekday. It’s a huge opportunity for the right person. We would enjoy speaking with you if you have any questions.” Contact KKLA program director Rodney Miller at: Rodney.email@example.com.
KNBR, San Francisco Seeking Full-Time Writer/Web Producer. San Francisco sports talker KNBR is seeking a full-time writer and web producer. The station says: “As a member of the San Francisco Cumulus digital team, the writer and web producer will be responsible for covering Bay Area sports as a writer, reporter and content creator, while also supporting the KNBR digital team’s efforts in creating digital content related to the KNBR radio station. The job will include but is not limited to writing, on-site reporting, interviewing, editing, headline writing, social media skills, going on-air or on-camera, collaborating on digital content both within the department and with other departments such as programing, sales and promotions.” See more information about the position and apply here.
Monday Memo: Selling The Sorehead Show. Because “we live in a divided America” in which many use talk radio to validate grievance, consultant Holland Cooke sees sales opportunity: “Affinity = entre.” In this week’s column, HC suggests an approach to kindred prospects, and recommends four packages and specific copy points for improving results from endorsement spots. Read it here.
Pending Business: Wobbles. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column about the challenges of selling when the ratings wobble. He says, “After over a year of COVID craziness, the last thing you want to deal with is game planning for more negativity. Business should be accelerating, yet here we are looking at many large market news/talk radio stations down trending after lineup changes designed to improve audience levels have been slow to show upticks. Maybe a little too soon to judge, maybe sampling wobbles, maybe work-life patterns shifting, maybe we should start dealing with what we can control – our game plan.” Read more here.
Round Four of June PPM Ratings Released. The fourth of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s June 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s June 2021 sweep covered May 27 – June 23. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from these markets. In Austin, Waterloo Media’s news/talk KLBJ-AM loses nine-tenths for a 4.0 share (6+ weekly AQH share) finish and the #9 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM, Raleigh rises six-tenths, finishing with a 5.8 share good for the #6 rank in the market. In Indianapolis, Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM tacks on one-tenths for a 7.0 share and rises from #3 to #2 in the market. In the Milwaukee market, Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ remains in the #1 rank even though it lost three-tenths. It finished with an 8.9 share on the strength of Brewers baseball and Bucks basketball and easily topped iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk WISN, which lost one-tenth and finished with a 6.5 share and the #4 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (and the first three groups) here.
FAIR’s Hold Their Feet to the Fire Event Sets Record Attendance. The 14th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row event is taking place this year on September 29 and 30 at the Phoenix Hotel on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The annual event in which talk radio hosts from around the nation gather to broadcast from Washington and discuss the issues surrounding American immigration policy with legislators and experts is almost completely booked. FAIR executive director Bob Dane says, “Thanks to Biden’s border crisis – and apparently the itch to just get out after a year of being isolated – this year’s 14th Hold Their Feet to the Fire radio row has set record attendance with 70 hosts now confirmed to broadcast September 29 and 30. After 14 years of doing this, I guess next year, we’ll need a bigger boat!” Inquiries can be made to Matt Tragesser at firstname.lastname@example.org
California Recall Controversy as Larry Elder Left Off Official List of Candidates. The official list of candidates in California’s recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom was released Saturday and Salem Radio Network host Larry Elder – who’s taking a leave from his nationally syndicated talk radio program in order to run – was not on the list. KCRA-TV reports that state officials say Elder’s filing did not include complete tax returns for the past five years, which are required to run. The report does not explain what was missing from Elder’s filing. In response, Elder tweeted the following: “Politicians know I’m the only candidate who will beat Gavin Newsom — and that’s why they don’t want me on the ballot. They’re using shenanigans that they invented to block the doors to the Governor’s Office and make sure they stay in power.”
WPTF, Raleigh’s Tom Kearney Retires. Longtime evening talk radio host Tom Kearney has retired from Curtis Media Group’s news/talk WPTF, Raleigh after almost 40 years with the station. Kearney joined the station in 1982 and in 1988 he began his full-time role as evening talk host. The Raleigh Observer says Kearney didn’t copy political hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, but “chose a folksier path: garden chats, computer repair tips, stamp collecting, Friday night trivia. He picked guests who could pass on something useful: the astronomer who explained Pluto’s non-planetary status, or the assistant attorney general who offered advice on fighting elder fraud.” WPTF VP of content Rick Martinez is quoted saying, “Whether he’s talking to a political leader or an auto mechanic. Tom always seems to know what questions the listeners want answered. Tom has always put the listener first.”
iHeartMedia Miami Promotes Mark McKenzie to Sales Manager. Radio sales pro Mark McKenzie is promoted from account executive to sales manager for iHeartMedia’s Miami station group in which he’ll be responsible for overseeing all sales operations for “103.5 The Beat,” “Throwback 105.5 Miami” and Miami’s BIN 880 WZAB “Black Information Network.” iHeartMedia Miami market president Shari Gonzalez says, “Since joining iHeartMedia, Mark has led our team in multiple capacities. It is wonderful to make it official. As sales manager, I am confident that Mark will take this brand and team to new heights.”
Opinion: Mama, Don’t Let Your Daughters Grow Up to Be Sportscasters. Author Michael Levin writes an opinion piece after reading Julie DeCaro’s new book, Sidelined: Sports, Culture, and Being a Woman in America, which he says, “details what a slime pit the world of sports broadcasting really is.” He says, “DeCaro is an attorney turned sports talk radio host who, in her book, decries the piggish nature of virtually all men in the world of sports, from the male broadcasters to the executives who run teams and broadcast outlets, to many of the players, and certainly to the fans.” But, Levin says, DeCaro is guilty of the legal concept called, “coming to the nuisance.” Read his piece here.
TALKERS News Notes. WSGW, Saginaw operations manager Dave Maurer is being inducted into the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Maurer has also served as the host of news/talk WSGW’s morning show for the past 42 years. The station lists Maurer’s accomplishments during his time with the station: Maurer and his news team were named AP Station of the Year for 25 consecutive years; in 2005, he received the Michigan AP Lifetime Achievement Award; and in 2016, he was named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International for his coverage and contributions to humanitarian causes in Northeast Michigan. Under his leadership, WSGW was awarded the 2020 NAB Crystal Award for Community Service and the 2020 NAB Service to America Award for the Sharing Hope Radiothon…..NuVoodoo Media Services, is revealing findings from its recently completed Ratings Prospects Study 18 that indicates more than 40% of those 14-54 year-old radio listeners most likely to participate in ratings say that they have gotten out of the habit of listening to local morning radio shows. NuVoodoo will be presenting results from the study in a series of webinars beginning on Wednesday July 21. Interested attendees can sign up for free at NuVoodoo.com/webinars…..Triton Digital, the global technology and services provider to the digital audio and podcast industry, announced today the release of the latest U.S. Podcast Report for the June 2021 reporting period (May 31 – June 27, 2021), as measured by Triton’s Podcast Metrics measurement service. The Top Network Reports are ranked by Average Weekly Downloads and Average Weekly Users, in accordance with v2.1 of the IAB Podcast Technical Measurement Guidelines. In this reporting period, Stitcher Media remained in the #1 spot with 31M Average Weekly Downloads and 9M Average Weekly Users, followed by NPR with 30M Average Weekly Downloads and 7M Average Weekly Users. The Audacy Podcast Network ranked #3 with 16M Average Weekly Downloads and 6M Average Weekly Users. See the whole report here.
COVID-19, Facebook Anti-Vax Charges, January 6 Investigation/Sentencing, Critical Race Theory, the Economy/Inflation, Trump and the GOP, Voting Bills, European Floods, and Western Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about the Delta variant, and the debate over restrictions; Facebook is called out by President Joe Biden who says it is “killing people” by allowing anti-vax posts; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the sentencing of those who’ve pled guilty; the furor over the teaching of “critical race theory” in public schools; the state of the U.S. economy, the shortage of workers, and concerns about inflation; the relationship between former President Donald Trump and the GOP; the various voting laws recently passed and the controversy over Texas Democrats leaving the state to avoid voting on that state’s bill; the devastating floods in Europe; and the wildfires in the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Last week’s column dealt with the product aspect of talk radio’s negativity problem. This week, about sales.
- We live in a divided America. Many are dug-into “rigged election” and similar grievance mantras.
- Say “talk radio,” and you conjure a caricature. A decade ago Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke faux pas scared-away major advertisers who never came back.
TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – Panel Discussion, “What Radio Must Do to Survive and Thrive.” The eighth video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11, is posted. This installment features the panel discussion, “What Radio Must Do to Survive and Thrive.” Moderated by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, introduced by Dr. Ira Nash, senior VP/executive director, Northwell Heath Physician Partners, and sponsored by The Ramsey Show, the panel featured (in alphabetical order): Bruce Avery, GM, WRHU Radio, Hofstra University; Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group; Gary Krantz, CEO, Krantz Media Group; Chris Oliviero, senior VP/market manager, Audacy, New York; Walter Sterling, talk show host, Sterling on Sunday; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. TALKERS will be posting a new video from TALKERS 2021 each business day until all 10 are archived and available for on-demand viewing.
Monday Memo: But what IF…? Consultant Holland Cooke reckons that “there’s too much argument and too little assessment for political talk radio to remain habit-forming.” He says that as radio programmers and performers we have a specific goal: to repeat occasions-of-listening, same-time-tomorrow (what the ratings people call “horizontal recycling”). If today sounds like yesterday, would they feel they’re missing something by not coming back tomorrow. Calling it “a grim Groundhog Day,” his column this week suggests a simple pivot. You can read it here.
Pending Business: Old Habits. Sales pro Steve Lapa asks if your sales department’s old habits are preventing it from working efficiently? “My marketing work requires working with sellers and managers in 50 to 60 markets annually. No matter what market size, when a proposed schedule is finally delivered, nine out of 10 times we see CPP presented, not CPM as specifically outlined, requested, maybe ignored. Too much work to change that overused template? The selling and buying dialogue is brought to a cold standstill as we correct schedule parameters two, maybe three times before a submission is possible. Momentum swings from positive to frustrated, because that’s the way we’ve always submitted: CPP not CPM. What you’re transmitting to the advertiser is, ‘I’m not listening, and my habits are in control.’” Read more here.
Radio Hall of Fame 2021 Nominees Announced. The nominees for the Radio Hall of Fame class of 2021 have been announced. Twenty-four people and shows in six categories have been selected by the Radio Hall of Fame nominating committee, with input from the radio industry and listeners. A panel of 600 industry professionals will begin voting today in four of six categories – Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more), Active Local/Regional (10 years or more), Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more), and Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more). On July 26, listeners nationwide will vote on the other two categories, Music Format On-Air Personality and Spoken Word On-Air Personality. The winners in those categories will be determined by the public and the Radio Hall of Fame Nominating Committee. The outcome of the listener vote will count as one vote among the committee votes. Listeners may vote once beginning Monday, July 26 at: www.radiovote.com. 2021 Radio Hall of Fame inductees will be announced Monday, August 16, and honored in-person at the 2021 Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Thursday, October 28, 2021, at Chicago’s Wintrust Grand Banking Hall. The nominees are:
Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more)
John & Ken – KFI-AM, Los Angeles
Melvin Lindsey -Washington “The Quiet Storm”
Matt Siegel – WXKS-FM, Boston
Brother Wease – WAIO-FM, Rochester
Active Local/Regional (10 years or more)
Laurie De Young – WPOC-FM, Baltimore
Mercedes Martinez – KMXB-FM, Las Vegas
Elliot Segal – WWDC-FM, Washington
Bob Stroud – WDRV-FM, Chicago
Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more)
Dr. Bobby Jones – “The Bobby Jones Radio Show”
Dan Patrick – “The Dan Patrick Show”
“Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” – NPR
Suzyn Waldman – New York Yankees Network
Active Network/Syndication (10 years or more)
Bob & Sheri – “The Bob & Sheri Show”
Kim Komando – “The Kim Komando Show”
Sid Mark – “Sounds of Sinatra”
Chris “Mad Dog” Russo – SiriusXM
Music Format On-Air Personality
Russ Parr – “The Russ Parr Show”
Javier Romero – WAMR-FM, Miami
Alex Sensation – Spanish Broadcasting System
Steven Van Zandt – “Little Steven’s Underground Garage”
Spoken Word On-Air Personality
Larry Elder – “The Larry Elder Show,” Salem Radio Network
Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison – WMMR, Philadelphia
Sally Jessy Raphael
TALKERS News Notes. Longtime “Better Lawns & Gardens” host Tom MacCubbin is retiring from the Florida radio show at the end of this month after 33 years. The show that he hosts along with his wife Joan is heard on more than 20 affiliates, including: WFLF-AM, Orlando, WSKY-FM, Gainesville, WNDB-AM/FM, Daytona Beach, WHNZ-AM, Tampa. The new host of the program will be Teresa Watkins, a veteran gardening show radio broadcaster, horticulturist, and UF/IFAS Master Gardener for more than two decades. Jim Poling is director of operations for Florida News Network and he says, “‘Better Lawns & Gardens’ is a heritage name in Florida gardening and the show will continue with Teresa at the helm. The show name will continue and the basic premise of serving Florida gardeners will continue but that’s where the similarity will end. It will be Teresa’s show. We hate to lose a legend like Tom MacCubbin, but with Teresa, the program won’t miss a beat.”…..Beasley Media Group has expanded the signals for its sports talk “ESPN Southwest Florida” emanating from WBCN-AM, Fort Myers. The station is now also heard on WRXK-HD2 (96.1 FM), as well as translators W282BY at 104.3 FM and W251AL at 98.1 FM…..The Society of Broadcast Engineers announces the results of its sixth annual compensation survey to determine salary levels and benefits among broadcast and media technology engineers. The SBE says the survey provides a wealth of useful information, and it adds to the baseline being developed for subsequent surveys to establish compensation trends. SBE president Wayne Pecena says, “The SBE Compensation Survey garners interest from SBE members and non-members. We provide this information as a service not only to our members, but the industry. We appreciate the support of those who participated in providing data.” The complete results of the survey are available at no charge to SBE members as a benefit of membership. The survey is available here…..Pictured below is Salem Radio News’ Lori Tradup interviewing U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) at the CPAC 2021 conference in Dallas this weekend. Gaetz called Donald Trump “our best candidate for president in 2024. I do not believe there’s even a close second.” Other talk radio show hosts addressing the attendees at the three-day conference included: Todd Starnes, Jason Rantz, and Glenn Beck.
COVID-19 Hot Spots, Extreme Heat and Wildfires in the Western U.S., Trump CPAC Speech, Inflation, the Economy and Employee Shortages, Branson Goes into Space, Cuban Protests, and South China Sea Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Rising rates of COVID-19 cases in hot spots in Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and Nevada; the extreme heat affecting much of the Western U.S. and the outbreak of wildfires; former President Donald Trump’s Sunday speech at CPAC in which he reiterated his claims of a stolen election; inflation’s effect on consumer prices; the soaring U.S. economy and employers’ difficulties hiring enough staff; billionaire Richard Branson makes history as first private individual to launch a space vehicle; the protests in Cuba over the communist country’s shortage of food; and U.S.-China tensions over China’s domination of the South China Sea were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research fromTALKERS magazine.