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The Young Guns of Talk Radio

| September 27, 2012

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS magazine
Executive Editor

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – There’s a perception held by many – especially those working in the consumer media – that all talk show hosts doing shows on news/talk stations are men 50 years of age or older.  They further postulate that when those hosts retire (or die!) there will be no one left to work in the format.

Given the radio industry’s general lack of a farm system, it’s hard to blame those who think it’s an industry of old white men.  But the truth is there are young people breaking into talk radio and working successfully at stations across the country.  We asked some of them what influence they believe their youth plays in hosting a radio talk show on a news/talk station.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

| July 30, 2012

KABC, Los Angeles Adds John Phillips to AM Drive.  Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor is reporting Cumulus Media’s KABC moves talk host John Phillips to the “McIntyre in the Morning with Terri Rae Elmer” program with host Doug McIntyre and news anchor Elmer.  Phillips had been the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon host at KABC until the company began developing Geraldo Rivera in the late-morning slot on WABC, New York and then adding him to KABC.  For a while, Phillips was doing just the 9:00 am hour and a lot of fill-ins around the schedule.  Now, it looks as though Phillips becomes a morning drive cast member at KABC.  Earlier in his radio career, Phillips was sports anchor and executive producer for KABC’s “McIntyre in the Morning Show” and he also produced the station’s Al Rantel program.  He also served as a newswriter at crosstown KNX, Los Angeles.

Beasley Broadcast Group Q2 Revenue Down 2.8%.  Total revenue was down to $24.8 million for the second quarter of 2012 – a drop of 2.8% compared to the same period in 2011.  Beasley Broadcast Group attributes the lower revenue to declines at its Fayetteville, North Carolina cluster.  However, station operating income was up 11.6% for the period reflecting declining station operating expense and more than offsetting the lower revenue.  Chairman and CEO George Beasley says, “Our second quarter revenue performance principally reflects overall industry weakness in the first month of the quarter, a revenue decline at our Fayetteville cluster partially related to lower levels of auto advertising and lower revenue in the Ft. Myers market due to the fact that in the year-ago period we hosted a concert.  While net revenue was down mid-single digits in April, low single-digit revenue growth resumed in May and June and extended through July.  The company’s streamlined operating structure and ongoing expense management initiatives combined with a music license fee settlement drove the $1.1 million rise in 2012 second quarter station operating income.”

Estate of the Late Neil Rogers Settled; Feds Take the Balance.  According to Jose Lambiet’s “Gossip Extra,” the late Miami talk host had about $4 million to his name four years ago but he loved to play the ponies and was not a very savvy personal finances guy, so after the lawyers get paid and the IRS takes about $500,000, there’s basically nothing left in his estate.  Longtime friend, agent and estate executor Norman Kent tells Lambiet Rogers basically spent his money.  He cashed in taxable annuities prior to his 2010 death from multiple medical issues at age 68.  The piece also notes Rogers spent about $700,000 on a home in Toronto where he lived with a 21-year-old man when he wasn’t in South Florida or Amsterdam.  Several of Rogers’ friends had been contesting his wills – apparently there were more than one that conflicted – but ultimately, there appears to have been little left over which to fight.

Compass Media Networks Expands and Extends Relationship with Learfield Sports.  This is for college basketball and football play-by-play – the arena in which Compass Media Networks has been expanding so rapidly.  Learfield Sports is the exclusive broadcast and sports marketing partner to more than 50 of the nation’s leading colleges and universities including Alabama, Boise State, Indiana University, Iowa, NC State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Purdue, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, University of North Carolina, Wisconsin and the Big Ten Conference.  Under the terms of the extension Compass retains first right of refusal to broadcast any Learfield Sports home football and men’s basketball  games, retains the exclusive national radio rights to broadcast The Big Ten Football Championship Game and the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, and will broadcast expanded coverage of regular season men’s basketball and football games.  The exact number of games Compass will broadcast has yet to be determined but the new agreement calls for a minimum of 20 football and 20 men’s basketball games to be broadcast.  Compass Media Networks will then produce a unique, national, play-by-play broadcast of these games available to radio outlets across the country.  Compass CEO Peter Kosann states, “Learfield Sports has been a wonderful partner.  We are honored to continue this partnership and will continue to expand the breadth and depth of our coverage.”

Journalist and Radio Host Indicted on Felony Wiretapping Charges.  “Free Talk Live” co-host Adam “Ademo” Mueller faces three counts of felony wiretapping after recording on-duty public officials while preparing a vlog about a case of alleged police misconduct, according to “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman.  The comments were part of a video report posted on the site CopBlock.org.  He tells TALKERS, “A public official who is on duty and in a public space has no expectation of privacy, the First Circuit Court of Appeals has already ruled on this in Glik v. Cunniffe.  The person who should face consequences is the officer who threw that poor kid into a table during lunch at the school cafeteria, not the journalist who reported about it.”  Freeman says each charge of felony wiretapping could carry seven years, meaning Mueller faces up to 21 years in prison if convicted.

NPR and WWNO, New Orleans Partner for Non-Profit News Source.  University of New Orleans-owned classical and news/talk WWNO is entering into a partnership with NPR to staff and operate the “non-profit multimedia newsroom” neworleansreporter.org.  The site plans to create reports for WWNO and will be available on a mobile app and for other local and national outlets free of charge.  NPR president and CEO Gary Knell states, “NPR is honored to join with the University of New Orleans and WWNO as they launch this ground-breaking news service. We are excited about the opportunity to provide national support for this critically important local effort to serve the public in creative and new ways.”

CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton to Resign at Year End.  Saying he believes “CNN needs new thinking,” Jim Walton will end his 30-year career at the cable news broadcaster when his contract expires in December, according to TVWeek.  Walton says the new thinking “starts with a new leader who brings a different perspective, different experiences and a new plan, one who will build on our great foundation and will commit to seeing it through.  And I’m ready for a change.  I have interests to explore and I want to give myself time to do it.”  Walton has been in the leadership role at CNN Worldwide for almost 10 years.  Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent leads the search for Walton’s successor.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive host Pat Campbell fills in for late-morning talk host Charlie Sykes on Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee August 1-3…..Talk show host and former Congressman J.D. Hayworth sits in for WPGB, Pittsburgh-based Quinn & Rose every day this week except Wednesday.  On that day, he’s filling in on the KCMO, Kansas City AM drive program…..Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO, Ft. Wayne, Indiana adds Notre Dame football to its fall sports schedule…..Britain’s UTV Media announces its talkSport network acquires exclusive rights to broadcast Football Association’s FA Cup in the UK and the worldwide rights to talkSport International scheduled to launch on August 18…..KTRB, San Francisco – 860 AM ESPN Deportes – will carry Spanish-language play-by-play of San Francisco 49ers football through the 2018 season.

Chicken: Banned in Boston?  That’s WRKO, Boston PM drive host Howie Carr (l) with, well…a chicken (r).  Carr is wearing a t-shirt with a caricature of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and holding a Chick-fil-A sandwich – both of which Carr and staff gave out to people on the streets in front of Boston City Hall after Mayor Menino jumped on the anti-Chick-fil-A bandwagon and threatened to prevent the company from opening a restaurant in the neighborhood after the company’s president publicly supported those campaigning against gay marriage.  Menino has since backed off the threat to stop the restaurant from opening the Boston store.

 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

| December 29, 2011

TALKERS Top Talk Media Industry Stories for 2011. 

TALKERS looks back at the top talk radio/media stories of 2011. It was a year marked by financial stress, corporate shuffling, format flips and the relentless march of technological change.

1.  Radio Faces Continued Economic Hardship.  Mired in debt and hampered by soft advertising sales, most radio broadcasting companies found 2011 to be challenging.  Marked by cutbacks, limited budgets and job insecurity, talk radio – as well as all commercial radio – was a tough business in which to work.

2.  Big Deals: Cumulus Closes Deal Buying Citadel.  This was an enormous deal by any year’s standards with far ranging impact and implications on station formats and personnel — highlighted by serious material changes in format and personnel at KGO, San Francisco.  Another significant deal of the year — Bonneville sells 17 Midwest/east major/large market stations to Hubbard Radio.

3.  The Invasion of FM by Talk.  2011 was the year that the long-awaited migration of talk to the FM dial actually could be called a “trend” with numerous AM bastions picking up accompanying FM outlets for their programming.  All signs point to this continuing in 2012 and beyond.  Read the entire story here.

Geraldo Rivera Still a Possibility at KABC, Los Angeles?  KABC, Los Angles talk host John Phillips’ recent e-mail to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan once again fires up the rumor mill leaving open the possibility that Geraldo Rivera – soon to be hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York – will also be heard on the company’s KABC.  KABC management released the new program schedule on December 23 with Phillips listed as the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon host but now Phillips states he’ll do that shift through January 27.  After that?  No one’s saying.  So read into that what you will but if Cumulus is spending good money to develop a Geraldo radio show, why not put it on in the nation’s second largest market to give the sales team more to work with?  As for Phillips and his show that will follow Doug McIntyre’s morning program beginning next week, he tells Lycan, “The thought is your morning commute doesn’t end at 9:00 am, so neither will we.  McIntyre and I are good friends, and by that I mean he’s yet to run me over in the KABC parking lot with his car, so we’ll share the same ethos and won’t stop beating the drum about L.A. and OC issues that directly impact our listeners’ lives.”

WHAM, Rochester Adds More Bob Lonsberry and More Local News to Schedule.  Clear Channel’s WHAM, Rochester announces a new program schedule to begin in 2012 that adds another half hour of popular Rochester personality Bob Lonsberry to the schedule.  In addition to Lonsberry’s solo 9:00 am to 1:00 pm program, he’ll join the WHAM Morning News crew – Chet Walker, Shari Smith, Randy Gorbman and John DiTullio – for the new “1180 WHAM Free for All” show from 8:30 am to 9:00 am.  Additionally, the station expands the “WHAM Afternoon News” to a two-hour format from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Speaking to the changes, CC Rochester VP/GM Kevin LeGrett states, “We are very excited about this new 1180 WHAM lineup, which features 12 hours of local Rochester programming daily.  When it comes to Rochester’s adults, 1180 WHAM owns the franchise and consistently achieves excellent results for our listeners, community and advertisers.”

Brian Michel New Operations Manager at Clear Channel Atlanta.  The five-station Clear Channel cluster that includes news/talk WGST has a new operations manager.  Brian Michel comes to Atlanta from Salt Lake City where he was OM at Simmons’ stations there.  While he’ll serve as program director for country WUBL-FM, OM for the entire Atlanta cluster and  he’ll also be acting program director for WGST, which as reported earlier this week, may be getting an FM simulcast in the near future according to local rumors.

Iowa Caucuses/2012 Presidential Race, Iran’s Saber Rattling, 2011 Retrospective, Kim Jong Il Funeral Parade and Preliminary Holiday Retail Sales Figures Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday.  The fast-approaching Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, the year of 2011 in retrospect, the funeral parade of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and positive preliminary holiday retail sales reports were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, December 23, 2011

| December 23, 2011

WTMM-FM, Albany Host Bruce Jacobs Apologizes After Making Gay Joke.  Talk radio pro Bruce Jacobs finds himself  apologizing to the public (and probably fighting for his job) after referring to the WNBA teams the Los Angeles Sparks and the Phoenix Mercury as the “Los Angeles Lesbians” and the “Phoenix Dyke-ury.”  Jacbos said in an on-air apology, “My comments yesterday were ridiculous, stupid and amateurish.  I apologize for even uttering the comments, whether you heard them or not, whether you were offended or not.”  He told the Albany Times-Union he doesn’t believe he should be fired for the remarks.  “We live in a society today where no matter what you say, you’re a bigot or you’re a racist.  I don’t like it, but it comes with the territory.  So obviously I think that’s ridiculous.”  Brian Noe, program director of the Townsquare Media sports talk station, e-mailed the paper saying, “Bruce’s insensitive statement is a serious matter that is being dealt with internally.”  The station is no doubt feeling pressure from LGBT advocacy groups and others to terminate Jacobs for the misstep.

KABC, Los Angeles Announces New Program Schedule.  Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles officially announces its new program lineup and, contrary to earlier reports, it will not include a simulcast of WABC, New York’s Geraldo Rivera.  Instead, evening host John Phillips moves from his evening slot to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  He follows Doug McIntyre and Terri Rae Elmer in the morning drive position.  The rest of the day is: Premiere NetworksSean Hannity, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Larry Elder, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; current morning drive host Peter Tilden moves to the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show; and Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” with Eric Harley and Gary McNamara in the overnight slot.  Program director Jack Silver states, “The revamped schedule is a great way for KABC to start the new year.  The new lineup puts all of KABC’s incredibly talented hosts into time slots that highlight their strengths.”

WOR, New York Clears Dave Ramsey.  Beginning January 2, the independently syndicated Dave Ramsey show will air on Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, New York in the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot.  WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “In these rocky economic times, New Yorkers need a voice they can trust to guide them in their money decisions.  We are proud to welcome the country’s top name in financial talk radio, Dave Ramsey, to our award-winning lineup in 2012.”

Rush Limbaugh May Be Moving to Clear Channel San Francisco Talk Outlet.  Liners promoting Clear Channel’s newly realigned KKSF, San Francisco are reportedly hinting “America’s anchorman” is coming to the station along with the other changes in programming and the new call letters.  You may have noticed that Clear Channel left a “to be determined” in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot in its announcement of the new schedule that we reported earlier this week.  Currently, Cumulus Media’s crosstown KSFO has the rights to the Premiere Networks program but it makes sense Clear Channel would want to bring the show into the company fold as it has done in some other markets.

ESPN Radio’s Dan Davis Retires.  He’s been one of the primary voices of ESPN Radio’s SportsCenter since 1999.  Now, Dan Davis – who began his radio career in 1962 at WEMJ, Laconia, New Hampshire – announces he’s hanging up the headphones to work on his golf game in Florida.  Davis joined ESPN’s radio network when it launched in 1992 and became its primary SportsCenter update reporter in 1999.

 

Talk Pro Tom Donahue Signs with Oracle Broadcasting.  Tom Donahue has been self producing webcasts and podcasts for the past six months but announced he’s joined Oracle Broadcasting as of this week (Dec. 19) hosting the live 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET program.  Donahue tells TALKERS Oracle  “is a bastion of free speech and offers a full spectrum of talk shows.  Additionally, Oracle Broadcasting Network has a consistently solid, confirmable loyal listener base!  I intend to cultivate my ties with radio stations and really grow my affiliate base.”  Oracle is an internet-based network that Donahue says has the fidelity, transmission capabilities and sub-audible tone technology necessary to accommodate station automation.

More Holiday Fill-Ins.  CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York takes advantage of its summer promotion/talent search “Fantasy Phenom II” and gives two-hour shows to the runners-up from the contest next week.  Neeraj Joshi, Patrick Creighton, Mike McMaster and Pat Totaro will host a 1:00 am to 3:00 am shift during the week…..Nicole Sandler is filling in for Premiere Networks talk star Randi Rhodes through December 30.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Motley Fool Money” with Chris Hill is added to Radio One’s soon-to-be “News 92 FM” (KROI) in Houston…..“The Costa Report” with Rebecca Costa is added to Fisher’s KVI, Seattle as it returns to talk in January.

Payroll Tax Cut Issue/Congress Adjourns Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 19-23.  The failure of Congress to agree on an extension of the payroll tax cut before adjourning for the holidays landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories of the week.  Coming in at #2 was the 2012 presidential race.  At #3 was post-Kim Jong Il North Korea followed by the euro zone debt crisis and financial markets activity at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is published weekly at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  View the entire chart, including the most-talked-about people of the week, here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

| December 15, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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