Starnes Media Group’s news/talk KWAM, Memphis “The Mighty 990” wins its first Regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the RTDNA, in which it was recognized for its digital platform. Starnes Media Group owner Todd Starnes comments, “When I bought KWAM I promised our listeners that we were going to bring fair and balanced journalism back to the radio. I’m incredibly proud of our dedicated and hard-working team of broadcasters at KWAM.”
By Holland Cooke
It’s the most effective tactic in marketing: Free samples. And the attorneys, financial advisors, real estate agents, veterinarians, and other ask-the-expert hosts who broker time for weekend call-in shows can drum up lots of new business…IF they execute well.
It’s a big “if,” because they’re not career broadcasters. So, technique that’s second nature to us is news to them. And because, at too many stations, there’s little or no coaching. Here are some of the fundamentals I convey to weekenders at client stations, and brokering hosts elsewhere who aren’t getting aircheck support:
— Plan each show. Re-write any news-about-your-topic or other material you will read, rather than reading verbatim paragraph-length excerpts from newspaper clippings or other source material you found on the Internet or elsewhere. That stuff wasn’t written for the ear. Put it into your own words. Practice aloud, to yourself, before the show.
— Remember: YOU are the expert. It’s Greek to them. So, avoid lingo and acronyms. Instead of percentages (“36%”) use fractions (“just over a third”).
— Listen carefully to the caller’s question. Don’t interrupt unduly…but don’t let ‘em ramble either. Once they’ve asked a question or described their situation, recommend what they should do. Listeners in similar situations will relate.
Do’s and Don’ts:
— DON’T squander time at the beginning of the show with long hellos, or small talk about the weather (which aired at the end of the newscast just before your show began), or other off-topic blah-blah-blah.
— DO introduce yourself, and succinctly explain how you can help the listener. I tell weekenders I coach to begin with their elevator speech: “I’m Chuck Thompson, from Chuck’s Auto Repair, and I’m here to help you get more miles out of the-car-you’ve-already-paid-for.” If your business has a slogan, that should also be the mantra for your radio show, to keep your on-air message consistent with your other marketing.
— DON’T wait! Give out the call-in number right-off-the-top, even if your first segment is an interview or you tee-up a topic by reading news/product reviews/etc. During that segment, your call screener can be lining-up callers.
— DO solicit calls overtly. And announce the phone number real slowly, like you’re reading the winning lottery number. Say “call me right now.” And at the end of each call (unless all the lines are lit), offer that “that opens up a line for you,” and re-announce the phone number.
— DO get to the phones ASAP, best caller first. Callers call when they hear other callers, so nothing explains that it’s a call-in advice show like you answering callers’ questions with helpful advice.
— DON’T assume that anyone but you hears your whole show. Listeners constantly tune-in. So DO re-set throughout the hour. Come out of each commercial break as though the show was just beginning. “Welcome back to ‘Larry Explains the Law.’ I’m attorney Larry Jamieson, answering your legal questions right now on WXXX. So, call me! [phone number, nice and slowly, twice].”
All of the above is host technique. And there’s another character, behind the scenes, whose method is critical to brokered hosts’ return on investment: the call screener. Share with yours my 6-minute video at SolidGoldWeekend.com, where I also explain how to warm-up slow phones.
Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and the E-book and FREE on-air radio features “Inflation Hacks: Save Those Benjamins;” and “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books. Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke
By Holland Cooke
“They have the time and tools to listen, they like spoken word contest,” and Edison Research president Larry Rosin reminds us, they’re big-money consumers.
Baby Boomers – born between 1946 and 1964 – are now age 59-77. Those 55+ comprise 30% of total USA population.
Per Edison’s ongoing “Infinite Dial” research, and with data and listener videos captured for this study done with NPR:
— 55+ consume more than 3 hours and 39 minutes of audio PER DAY. And 78% own a smartphone. And “Boomers listen to way more radio than do their children and grandchildren.” And they’re “adopting online audio.”
— Nearly 2/3 of Boomers’ audio is consumed at home. “Only about a third of that group is still working…they have the time to listen to podcasts.” And home is the #1 podcast listening location.
— But compared to 25-54s, they’re podcast consumer laggards. Rosin sees opportunity: “They’ve entered the top of the sales funnel.”
Compared to 25-54s, Boomers are podcasting laggards.
— Many Boomers think podcasting is a time-shifted radio show.
— “Overwhelmingly,” 55+ podcast listeners prefer news-related podcasts.
— We need to explain how-to-listen better than “available as a podcast” and wherever-you-get-yours.
Broadcasters and podcasters: Know how busy you are, I don’t make this recommendation casually. It’s well-worth your time to see the on-demand replay of this informative webinar.
Now I’m off to fabulous, fabulous Las Vegas for the 2023 NAB Show. Look for my convention notes here next week.
Talkers contributor Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” and the E-book and FREE on-air radio features “Inflation Hacks: Save Those Benjamins;” and. Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke
By Walter Sabo
Consultant, Sabo Media
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Radio Host, Sterling on Sunday
A shocking number of highly qualified broadcasters have lost their jobs. The venture capitalists that financed the big radio companies are the people who should be fired, but that’s the next column. Let’s get you a job.
When you lose a job there are three actions that will help you land the next job.
— For the first few days, say nothing. Don’t post on social media, don’t answer the phone. You will say something very wrong.
— Every word from you should be that the company that fired you is a great company and you were proud to be there.
— File for unemployment. It’s your money.
Get the Job
— Resumes are a waste of time. I’ve never written one. Focus on the exact job you want, identify the decision maker (which is never in HR) and study. Learn everything you can about the target company and their problems. Write a solution plan. Identify exactly how you can be of service to your potential employer.
— Go to the gym. Just go. A lifetime of pizza delivery doesn’t look great! Get busy. The busier you are the faster you’ll get the job you want. Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and Dollar Tree will hire you today. Get into the stream of work life, it will change your energy.
— In your solution plan, write out how you will help your new employer. The more knowledge you show of your “new” job and company, the more flattered and impressed the decision-maker will be. No one will hire you because you need a job, they will hire you because you will solve a problem. Your plan and solutions will probably be very wrong. It doesn’t matter. You have demonstrated a sincere, studied interest in the company and have made a remarkable effort. Then they have to deal with you. A plan in a three-ring binder cannot be filed. Your plan will sit on the top of a credenza and every time an exec walks into that office, there you are at eye level!
— When you get the interview, show up 20 minutes before the meeting (not an hour). Check out in advance how the employees of the company dress and dress like that. This is no time for self-expression. After the interview, send thank you notes to everyone you met on real paper with a real postal stamp, no emails.
— The goal is to start doing the job weeks or months before you are actually hired. Bring a sales order. Write a positive critique from a listening monitor. Show up at a remote and help.
— TIP. Your odds of landing a job are much greater if you aim for one in the city where you now live.
— Go to the gym.
Walter Sabo was the youngest Executive Vice President in the history of NBC. The youngest VP in the history of ABC. He was a consultant to RKO General longer than Bill Drake. Walter was the in house consultant to Sirius for eight years. He has never written a resume. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. or mobile 646-678-1110. Hear Walter Sterling at www.waltersterlingshow.com. Meet Walter Sabo at TALKERS 2023 on Friday, June 2.
— SiriusXM and sports talk personality Adam Schein agree to a new, four-year contract that keeps Schein hosting his daily late morning show “Schein on Sports” on the Mad Dog Sports Radio channel. Schein will also continue to host his newly rebranded SiriusXM podcast, now titled “Rise and Schein,” which features compelling long-form interviews with athletes and celebrities.
— Hillsdale College’s WRFH “Radio Free Hillsdale 101.7 FM” in Hillsdale, Michigan takes home the top honors at the 2023 Michigan Student Broadcast Awards, hosted by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. The station was named the “2023 College Audio Station of the Year” and received nine individual awards. Station general manager Scot Bertram comments, “Our student broadcasters and journalists are committed to producing high-quality content that keeps listeners engaged. We’re honored to have that work recognized by such a prestigious organization.”
By Walter Sabo
Consultant, Sabo Media
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Radio Host, Sterling on Sunday
It’s tough enough for radio talent to navigate stable careers in these days of consolidated station ownership, personnel cutbacks and drastic salary reductions – but the NAB’s newly stated stance on non-competes adds insult to injury and is out of step with the interests of beleaguered professionals still hanging on for dear life in the programming sector of this industry. I understand that the National Association of Broadcasters is at heart a lobbying group representing the interests of the medium’s ownership but, c’mon – non-competes really are of another era and egregiously unfair.
This week the NAB announced that they were not in favor of the FTC ruling to ban non-compete clauses that prevent radio talent from crossing the street. The FTC is proposing the ban on non-competes for a broad section of industries compelling dozens of industry lobbies to sign a letter to Congress in opposition to the ban.
The lobbyists’ letter says that the FTC’s rule would invalidate millions of contracts around the country that courts, scholars, and economists have found entirely reasonable and beneficial for both businesses and employees. “Accordingly, we ask you (Congress) to exercise your oversight and appropriations authority to closely examine the FTC’s proposed rule-making.”
Government interference with the practices of any industry, especially in the area of freedom of competition, is never a good idea. The NAB and other industries believe banning non-competes constitutes FTC overreach. And that is a solid argument. However, the NAB also suggests that broadcasters present a unique case for non-compete clauses due to the “substantial investments broadcasters make in promoting on-air talent.” That’s where they are grossly behind the times.
Maybe in TV. But it has been decades since any radio company has made any investment in promoting their on-air talent. Do you have a $500 “name” jingle? Where are the billboards? Whatever happened to TV and newspaper ads?
Non-competes are deployed in most industries to protect trade secrets. All of radio’s trade secrets are on the air!
Monday Memo: Your Podcast Isn’t a Broadcast. “Everyone-who’s-anyone is podcasting,” consultant Holland Cooke observes. “And – like Howard Stern migrating to satellite radio – their content is growing the platform.” Thousands and thousands of hobbyists are podcasting, “some doing quite well, though many sound amateurish compared to the more polished way we professional broadcasters can execute.’ In this week’s column, HC notes how, “for all their rough edges, podcasters are better than broadcasters at one thing podcasts do well.” Read it here.
Pending Business: Local Host vs Facebook. Should an ad read by your local talk show host command a higher CPM than a Facebook ad? Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says absolutely yes, and for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is the host’s credibility, personal touch, and the trust they have built with their audience. Read more here.
Harry Hurley, WPG Morning Star, to Contribute $6,000 to Broadcasters Foundation at TALKERS 2022. In what has become somewhat of a radio industry tradition, WPG, Atlantic City, NJ morning show host Harry Hurley’s Hurley in the Morning Charity Foundation (501c3) will pay tribute to the Broadcasters Foundation of America (501c3) at TALKERS 2022 at Hofstra University on June 10 and in the process donate $6,000 to the cause. Each year since TALKERS 2017, Hurley has made a donation to the BFoA in increasing amounts of $1,000 per year beginning with a one thousand dollar grant the first year achieving a total of $21,000. The Broadcasters Foundation of America’s mission is to improve the quality of life and maintain the personal dignity of men and women in the radio and television broadcast profession who find themselves in acute financial need due to a critical illness, accident, advanced age or other serious misfortune. Photo: Harry Hurley holding a check to the BFoA at TALKERS 2019. To listen to a conversation between TALKERS founder Michael Harrison and Harry Hurley about this year’s donation please click here.
Steve Scully to Host New Show on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel. Longtime C-SPAN journalist Steve Scully is joining SiriusXM to host the new program “The Briefing with Steve Scully” on SiriusXM’s political talk channel P.O.T.U.S. Scully, who serves as SVP at Washington DC’s Bipartisan Policy Center, “will take listeners inside the stories and conversations that are shaping the day in the nation’s capital. From breaking Supreme Court rulings to debates in Congress and briefings from The White House, the program will consider all sides and every perspective, helping listeners stay on top of what’s happening within the Beltway and beyond.” Scully says, “I am thrilled to join the SiriusXM P.O.T.U.S. family to share my enthusiasm for politics and public policy with a very smart audience. I look forward not only to focusing on the developing stories of the day, but also to giving listeners a deeper context to complex issues. Together, we will peel back the layers of stories to provide new information with elected officials, key policy makers and leading journalists.”
WWO: Study Reveals Value of AM/FM Ad Campaign. The Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group shares the results of a study it commissioned The Harris Poll to do in an effort to understand the performance of the leading meal kit delivery service’s advertising performance. Some of the findings of the study include: 1) AM/FM radio worked for the meal kit delivery service. The test of AM/FM radio advertising was very successful. Between the pre- and post-campaigns, heavy AM/FM radio listeners generated immense brand equity growth, two times greater than the average. Heavy AM/FM listeners, those with the greatest opportunity to hear the campaign, delivered the largest lifts for familiarity and consideration; 2) Heavy historical use of podcast advertising resulted in significant awareness, consideration, and brand equity among the podcast audience for the meal kit delivery service brand. Due to sustained prior use of podcast advertising, podcast listeners far outperformed the average consumer across tested brand measures. Comparing podcast listeners to the general population, the meal kit delivery service had much stronger brand equity (+43%), consideration (+34%), and familiarity (+34%); 3) The meal kit delivery service’s AM/FM radio and podcast campaign boosted purchase intention metrics. The AM/FM radio campaign drove positive movement throughout the purchase funnel. Since the pre-campaign period, there was growth in familiarity (+22%), trial (+5%), and usage (+10%) among heavy AM/FM radio listeners. Among podcast listeners, familiarity grew +4%, trial +21%, and usage +51%; and 4) Growth opportunity: Expand to consistent use of AM/FM radio advertising. As media effectiveness grows with the number of media channels utilized, meal kit delivery service brands have an opportunity to add reach and avoid podcast message saturation by using AM/FM radio. Among meal kit users, 56% only listen to AM/FM radio and don’t listen to podcasts. Expanding the media buy to AM/FM radio reaches the 56% of meal kit category users who aren’t exposed to podcast advertising. See more here.
TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk radio legend Jim Rome is now heard in San Diego on XEPRS “The Mightier 1090.” Rome’s CBS Sports Radio syndicated program has been off the air in the market since February but returns on the Bill Hagen-led station. Rome says, “San Diego is where the Jungle really took hold. It’s where I met my wife. And where I experienced some of the greatest moments of my entire life. There is no better town, no better market and you absolutely CAN go home. And that’s what I plan on doing. And I can’t wait. Let’s do this!”…..Recently, Art Vuolo (pictured below) made a special appearance on Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM, Chicago sitting in with legendary Windy City personality John Records Landecker as the station celebrated its 100 anniversary on the air. “Radio’s Best Friend” and operator of Vuolo Video produced his appearance in a YouTube video that you can see here.
Weekend Shootings/Gun Control, January 6 Hearings, the Economy, Russia-Ukraine War, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Boris Johnson Troubles, Korean Missile Launches Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Gun violence over the weekend that took the lives of five people in Philadelphia and Chattanooga and debate over potential gun legislation; televised congressional hearings on the January 6 Capitol breach to begin on Thursday; the still rising price of gasoline, food and consumer goods and fears of a recession; Russia’s continuing invasion of Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s warning to the West not to supply Ukraine with weapons; November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces a vote of no confidence by his conservative party over the partygate scandal; and the U.S. and South Korea launch missiles in response to North Korea’s launch of eight missiles 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 — Be there or be square. Legacy media are scrambling to follow eyes and ears beyond old towers and deliver the on-demand options users now favor. NBC’s got Peacock; CBS touts its Paramount+ and invites us to watch the rest of “60 Minutes” interviews online; and CNN sure stubbed its toe scrambling to catch-up.
Radio stations archive reruns of on-air shows, though typically little more.
By Holland Cooke
Common example: The lawyer is in, the meter is off. Q+A about callers’ situations is relatable to other listeners. And hearing the attorney’s approachable manner, prospective clients come to know him or her better than others whose look-alike billboards and boastful TV commercials all blur together.
Jeff Rickard Exits WEEI-FM, Boston Brand Manager Role; Ken Laird Transitions to Operations Manager. The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn Tweeted the news that Jeff Rickard has exited his role as brand manager for sports talk WEEI-FM and the station is moving “The Greg Hill Show” producer Ken Laird to operations manager. Rickard joined the station in August of this year, replacing Joe Zarbano, who had left that role in January of 2021. Finn cites a memo from Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas, who writes, “I want to thank Jeff Rickard for his time here and all the work he put into this legacy brand since arriving last August. Jeff is returning to Indianapolis to be with his family and pursue other opportunities. We wish him nothing but the best and appreciate what he did as brand manager of WEEI. A new brand manager will be named in the future. In the meantime, we are excited to announce the promotion of Ken Laird to a new role at WEEI. Ken will be the day-to-day operations manager. He will be coming off producing ‘The Greg Hill Show,’ so he has time in his day to work closely with me and the entire content team on WEEI. One of his first projects will be to work with Greg, Chris and I, to name his replacement on the show.”
Jim Colony to Retire from Full-Time Role at Sports Talk KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh. Longtime KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “93.7 The Fan” personality Jim Colony is retiring from his full-time role with the Audacy sports talk outlet. The station notes that Colony has been “a constant in Pittsburgh sports media since the early 1990s” and has “been a critical part of ‘The Fan’ since we started over 10 years ago.” Colony says, “I have been pretty lucky since I stumbled into radio nearly 43 years ago, like when ‘The Fan’ came along just months after I’d been let go across town. It really was ‘right place/right time’ and it’s lasted for 12 years – an eternity in this business. While it’s not the right time for me to retire altogether, now that Linda is retired it is time for me to step back a bit so we can spend more time together but not too much time (she’d get sick of me)!” Colony will continue to work a fill-in role for the station. Audacy Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “Jim Colony is one of the great characters in Pittsburgh radio who is beloved by so many listeners. We are so appreciative for all of the work and entertainment he has brought to so many over the years. While we are excited for Jim and Linda (we think) as Jim moves to this next phase of his life we are just as happy that Jim will remain a big part of ‘The Fan’ in a variety of different ways.”
Talking About Michael Jackson – Producer Lyle Gregory is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The man who served as the late talk radio legend Michael Jackson’s producer for 30 years, Lyle Gregory, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Lyle Gregory is the official spokesperson for the Jackson family. Michael Jackson passed away this past Sunday (1/16) at age 87. Harrison and Gregory pay tribute to the legacy of a man who was one of the founding fathers of modern talk radio in a deep-dive discussion that covers his life and times… and offers the listener insights into the magic of one of radio’s most-golden eras. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
Texas Sues Google Over Radio Talent Phone Endorsement Campaign. Texas attorney general Ken Paxton has filed a suit in Montgomery County, Texas against Google, alleging that the big tech firm struck a deal with iHeartMedia for some of its radio personalities in the Dallas and Houston markets to endorse its new Pixel 4 smartphones even though they were not on the market yet and the personalities had not actually used the devices. The complaint says Google sought out radio talent for the campaign in 2019 and that the endorsement of goods that they hadn’t used violates the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act. The suit goes on to say that even though iHeartMedia told Google that endorsement-without-use violates regulations, Google did not provide phones for the personalities. Specific personalities are not named in the suit but a sample of the ad copy is included. Here’s one script:
“The only thing I love more than taking the perfect photo? Taking the perfect photo at night. With Google Pixel 4 both are a cinch. It’s my favorite phone camera out there, especially in low light, thanks to Night Sight Mode. I’ve been taking studio-like photos of everything…my son’s football game… a meteor shower… a rare spotted owl that landed in my backyard. Pics or it didn’t happen, am I right? Pixel 4 is more than just great pics. It’s also great at helping me get stuff done, thanks to the new voice activated Google Assistant that can handle multiple tasks at once. I can read up on the latest health fads, ask for directions to the nearest goat yoga class (yes, that’s a thing), and text the location to mom hands-free.”
The complaint says any “customization” of the script had to be approved by Google’s ad buyer. Google has said it is reviewing the complaint but that it does not accurately represent what happened.
Mike Gallagher Broadcasts from SHOT Show. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher preparing to go on the air from the exhibit floor at the annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas where he is broadcasting this week. The Shooting/Hunting/Outdoor Trade Show is the largest professional event for the shooting industry…and Gallagher says he promises “high caliber” broadcasts on both radio and the new Salem News Channel.
TuneIn Offers New Program for Content Creators. Calling it a “new program that will provide emerging content creators, educational, and non-profit broadcasters in the United States with access to the same distribution tools as major broadcasters,” TuneIn unveils the TuneIn On Air program. TuneIn says the program “was created to empower emerging content creators by providing them seamless access to digital distribution capabilities. Immediately upon joining TuneIn On Air, broadcasters will expand their reach to TuneIn’s 30 million United States-based listeners. This new offering is aligned with TuneIn’s commitment to reinvent radio for a connected world by bringing radio distribution into the digital age and realizing its promise of an open platform for everyone.” The program costs $249 per quarter. TuneIn chief industry evangelist Andrew Bock says, “One of our aims with the launch of TuneIn On Air is to re-energize college radio stations and independent broadcasters around the US by providing them with a simple and easy-to-use way to dramatically increase their distribution through digital audio. College radio and independent broadcasters serve an important and irreplaceable role in their communities. Through the TuneIn On Air platform, we are giving these voices a clear path to expand and grow their audiences through digital distribution.”
TALKERS News Notes. On the heels of the recent retirement of partner Charlie Sislen, Research Director, Inc. announces staff changes and promotions. Kathryn Boxill creates and leads the new quality control team as the quality control team manager. She previously served as a senior sales research consultant. Nicole Somerville transitions to the production team manager position from her previous role as sales research consultant. Anne Doyle moves into the information systems administrator position from operations management. Nakia Smith and Hayden Waugh move from their sales research consultant positions to join the client service department as client service consultants.…..ABC Audio launches its new GMA channel on Apple Podcasts and announces three new podcast projects: a “Good Morning America” podcast, the second season of “Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson,” and new entertainment podcast “Close Up,” hosted by Kelley Carter. ABC Audio’s free GMA channel will house these new projects, as well as all of ABC News’ lifestyle, culture and entertainment on-demand audio content, including its popular “In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson” podcast…..Audacy’s Cadence13 partners with @DeuxMoi – the pop culture and celebrity Instagram account hailed as “the new outlet of choice for the celebrity obsessed” by The New York Times – for “Deux U,” a weekly show featuring an extensive analysis of the most popular and controversial posts from the account…..iHeartRadio and Sports Illustrated Media unveil an original podcast series focused on iconic names in the sports industry called, “Sports Illustrated Weekly.” Hosted by SI senior writer John Gonzalez, the weekly series takes sports fanatics through untold moments, iconic interviews and the best stories in sports thus far.
Biden Press Conference, Voting Rights-Filibuster, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, U.S.-Russia Tensions, Inflation/Supply Chain, Midterm Elections/Trump & the GOP, and Beijing Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/19). Reaction to President Joe Biden’s Wednesday press conference; Democrats fail to alter the filibuster and to take up voting rights legislation; the rate of COVID-19 cases, vaccine effectiveness, and schools’ policies; the Supreme Court nixes Donald Trump’s bid to keep records from January 6 Committee; the tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the Russian troops amassed at the Ukraine border; soaring retail and oil prices and the supply chain troubles; the battle for control of Congress in the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence within the GOP; and China warns athletes about political commentary while at the Beijing games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.