iHeartMedia Minneapolis announces new deals for streaming and radio partnerships with the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx. As part of this multi-faceted partnership, every Timberwolves game will be available on the newly created Minnesota Timberwolves channel on the iHeartRadio app. This is the first team with an exclusive streaming channel on the iHeartRadio platform. In addition, sports talk KFXN-FM “KFAN 100.3” becomes the basketball organization’s new flagship radio station for select Timberwolves games and the majority of Lynx games. iHeartSports president Kevin LeGrett states, “We are excited about this partnership and honored to be the broadcast and streaming home of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx. We are thrilled to deliver innovative Timberwolves and Lynx coverage, programming and integrations to millions of their fans across the state and beyond!”
WIBC-FM, Indianapolis Personality Rob Kendall Sues Political Activist for Defamation. WIBC-FM, Indianapolis late morning personality Rob Kendall is suing conservative political activist Gabriel Whitley, Spencer McDaniel, and Young Conservatives of Southern Indiana for defamation after the group posted comments on Facebook in which they refer to Kendall as “Pedo Rob,” implying that he’s a pedophile. The Evansville Courier & Press reports the story, noting that Whitley is a declared candidate for mayor of Evansville. Kendall co-hosts the late morning program on Radio One’s WIBC-FM with Casey Daniels. Kendall is being represented by fellow WIBC personality Abdul Hakim-Shabazz. McDaniel says the Facebook page is a satire page and as such is protected speech. He says, “Gabriel Whitley had no part in this, I run the page but it was a joke and I take full responsibility for the joke. We will win and all charges will be dropped.” The suit states, “The satiric effect emerges only as the reader concludes by the very outrageousness of the words that the whole thing is a put-on.” Hakim-Shabazz says that “the context of the post does not allow a reasonable reader to think the defendant’s words were a ‘put on.’” Kendall is seeking $50,000 in damages, punitive damages as the court deems proper, attorney fees and court costs, and other relief the court deems proper.
Comrex Unveils New Remote Contribution Solution. The new cloud service for remote, on-air or production contribution from Comrex is called Gagl, and it allows between one and five users to send and receive audio from computers and smartphones. Each user receives their own mix-minus to hear other connected guests, and the Gagl audio is delivered to a Comrex hardware codec (such as ACCESS or BRIC-Link, usually in a studio). All participants can hear other participants and the codec “sends” audio back to them. Comrex says that participants can connect and send audio by simply clicking a link using any common web browser. Gagl is designed to be used with consumer grade equipment, so contributors only need a device and a headset to get on the air. Gagl uses the Opus audio encoder, with a bit rate that delivers both voice and music in excellent quality. Gagl also delivers audio directly to a Comrex codec with all the stability enhancements, pro-grade audio connections, and features that hardware codecs provide. The simple user interface makes it easy for users with any level of technical experience to use. Comrex adds that Gagl could be used as the hub for a news program or for a morning radio show to support multiple simultaneous contributor connections. Because it offers low latency, it’s appropriate for call-in talk radio. Gagl could also be used to allow a single contributor to connect back to the studio from a computer or smartphone. Gagl works with Comrex hardware IP audio codecs including the AES67-compatible ACCESS NX Rack IP audio codec and ACCESS MultiRack multi-channel IP audio codec as well as the BRIC-Link series. Find out more about Gagl here.
Edison Research: Spotify Takes Over as Top U.S. Podcast Network. The latest Q2 2022 data from Edison Research’s ranking of the Top Podcast Networks in the U.S. reveals that Spotify, SXM Media, and iHeartRadio take the top three spots, respectively. Spotify surpassed SXM Media’s weekly reach by a tiny margin. Edison’s ranking is based on surveys of 8,000 podcast listeners in the U.S. and measures reach as a percentage of the weekly podcasting audience. Rankings are compiled by measuring the total unduplicated reach of all the shows represented by a given network. See the complete list of the top 30 podcast networks here.
Podtrac: iHeartRadio Top Podcast Publisher for August 2022. The ranking of top podcast publishers from Podtrac has been released for August and, based on Unique Monthly Audience, iHeartRadio is ranked #1 with more than 35.5 million UMA for its 689 active shows. Wondery is ranked #2 (24.5 million UMA) for 204 shows, and NPR comes in at #3 (19.7 million UMA) for 49 shows. See Podtrac’s entire chart of the top 20 podcast publishers for August 2022 here.
Brian Kilmeade in Albany. Pictured above is FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio star Brian Kilmeade (center) on stage at The Egg Performing Arts Center in Albany on September 8. With him is FOX News Channel producer Alyson Mansfield (left) and news/talk WGDJ, Albany owner Paul Vandenburgh (right). Kilmeade’s radio program is heard from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on WGDJ.
KFAN’s Dan Barreiro to Be Enshrined in Hall of Fame. Longtime Twin Cities sports talk personality Dan Barreiro – host of “Bumper to Bumper with Dan Barreiro” and “Sunday Sermons with Dan Barreiro” – is being honored this Saturday (9/17) at the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Barreiro was a sports columnist at the Star Tribune for 17 years. He joined iHeartMedia’s KFXN-FM, Minneapolis “KFAN 100.3” in 1992. iHeartMedia Minneapolis market president Greg Alexander says, “Dan epitomizes the make-up of a tremendous talk show in the Twin Cities. He puts together compelling interviews and has the ability to break down any and every topic to entertain our listeners. He is a true talent.” Market SVP of programming Gregg Swedberg adds, “There isn’t a radio personality who has had the kind of ratings success over the last three decades that Dan Barreiro has. He has done it by hosting intelligent, entertaining, and compelling radio. He’s more than the ‘Big Ticket,’ he is the blueprint.”
Audacy’s I’m Listening Mental Health Campaign to Produce Sixth Annual Special Program. The ongoing mental health public service campaign from Audacy includes the two-hour audio program, “I’m Listening,” once again co-hosted by Carson Daly and by Dr. Alfiee M. Breland-Noble. Each year, Audacy activates “I’m Listening” through national campaigns featuring artists, celebrities, and athletes who share their experiences with mental health. Partnering with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, these events help raise awareness and support of issues that we all face in our daily lives. Guests on this year’s program will include: Carrie Underwood, Ed Sheeran, Adele, Vice President Kamala Harris, Lizzo, Ricky Williams, Maren Morris, Charlie Puth and Stephen A. Smith, who will share personal mental health stories. The special airs nationwide on Wednesday, September 21 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm local time across more than 230 Audacy stations and will be live streamed via its digital app and website. Also, returning to the Hollywood Bowl for its ninth year, the star-studded concert “We Can Survive” takes place on Saturday, October 22 with featured acts including Alanis Morrisette, Garbage, Halsey, OneRepublic, Weezer and more.
Trumps vs DOJ, Inflation/Financial Markets/Railroad Strike, Lindell Search Warrant, Russia-Ukraine War, British Royalty, Musk-Twitter Case, and Ken Starr Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/13). Former President Donald Trump’s battle with the Department of Justice over its investigation into documents he kept at Mar-a-Lago; the still rising rate of inflation, Tuesday’s financial markets beating, and the looming railroad strike; MyPillow founder Mike Lindell has phone taken by FBI in warranted search; Ukraine’s retaking of territory from Russian forces; the royal family’s activities in the aftermath of Queen Elizabeth’s death; the court battle between Elon Musk and Twitter over his canceled acquisition bid; and former special prosecutor Ken Starr dies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Michele Tafoya Joins Salem Podcast Network. National sports media figure Michele Tafoya is joining Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network to host a new podcast titled, “Sideline Sanity.” The former NBC Sports sideline reporter’s new show – focusing “life, politics, and world news” will be produced four times per week, beginning on May 23. Tafoya’s broadcasting career includes a lot of radio in addition to her TV work. She served with iHeartMedia’s sports talk “KFAN,” hosted afternoon drive on Audacy’s WCCO-AM, and worked alongside morning star Tom Barnard at Cumulus Media’s KQRS-FM. She says, “I’m thrilled to launch my first podcast with the Salem Podcast Network. It’s exciting to join the chorus of talented Salem voices discussing the historic issues facing America and the world.” Salem Twin Cities general manager Nic Anderson comments, “I cannot wait for the rest of the country to get to know Minnesota’s own Michele Tafoya beyond her successful years of reporting from the sidelines. She’s full of insight, passionate about her platform, and she’s ready to speak her mind. And Salem Media-Twin Cities is eager to help as we produce her podcast for a national audience and look forward to working with her locally as opportunities arise.” Tafoya announced her retirement from NBC Sports in February of this year and has joined the campaign of Republican Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Kendall Qualls as campaign co-chair.
David ‘Mad Dog’ DeMarco to Exit ‘The Game’ in Lansing After 26 Years. Sports talk personality David “Mad Dog” DeMarco is leaving his role as afternoon drive host on Townsquare Media’s WVFN, Lansing, Michigan after tomorrow’s program, capping a 26-year sports talk career in the market. According to a story in the Lansing State Journal, DeMarco began his sports talk gig in 1996 as part of “The Sports Guys” on WVFN. For four years in the early aughts, the “Mad Dog & Company” show aired on crosstown WQTX-FM, returning to WVFN in 2007. For the past 12 years, DeMarco has been selling for the station, as well. He says, “I had to be like Clark Kent and then go into sales mode and hit the streets as a salesman. That’s what a lot of people don’t understand. They just think that I did the show for three hours and I go home and smoke cigarettes and get high and stuff. I had to really buckle down and be disciplined that I was going to do this. And I did. It’s not even ratings anymore. It’s how much money that you can bring in. It’s like the mafia — you’re an earner is what you are. And if you can’t earn, you’re not going to be around.”
Edison: Comedy Top Podcast Genre for First Quarter of 2022. According to data from Edison Research’s Edison Podcast Metrics, the top podcast genre in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2022 was comedy. This list of podcast genres is based on weekly audience size. (Nineteen genres are identified as having at least one percent reach among those in the U.S. age 18+.) The list of the Top 10 Genres for Q1 2022 is: 1) Comedy, 2) News, 3) Society and Culture, 4) True Crime, 5) Sports, 6) TV and Film, 7) Business, 8) Arts, 9) Religion and Spirituality, and 10) Education. Edison Research SVP Melissa Kiesche comments, “As advertisers increasingly seek to target podcast listeners, it becomes more important to understand the appeal of various genres in the space.”
TALKERS News Notes. There’s special programming available from ABC Audio for the coming Memorial Day weekend. ABC News Radio will present, “Honor, Hope and Healing,” hosted by correspondents Aaron Katersky and Alex Stone. The program reports on America’s heroes, including those who lost their lives serving their country and individuals performing good deeds at home. It features Katersky’s interviews with Gold Star families who lost loved ones last summer in Afghanistan as the U.S. withdrew its troops. The special also shines a light on COVID-19’s toll on the country as well as the resilience of Americans trying to emerge from the pandemic and recover from the past two years…..WNYC Studios announces that Kenya Young is appointed to the newly created position of SVP, WNYC Studios – part of New York Public Radio. In this position, Young will oversee a portfolio that includes “The New Yorker Radio Hour,” “The Takeaway with Melissa Harris-Perry,” “The United States of Anxiety with Kai Wright,” “Death, Sex and Money with Anna Sale,” “La Brega: Stories of the Puerto Rican Experience,” and the “Blindspot” series co-produced with HISTORY. Young was most recently managing editor for collaborative journalism at NPR. Young will be responsible for setting the strategic direction for WNYC Studios’ portfolio of podcasts, and leading and supporting the teams developing and producing shows. In partnership with Emily Botein, VP, original programming, she will manage and grow current Studios productions and build out WNYC Studios new documentary unit devoted to producing longform nonfiction audio works…..Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal “Save Democracy” Tour 2022 will make a Los Angeles appearance at The Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. Joining Miller will be Hal Sparks, Frangela, and John Fugelsang on Saturday, October 22 at 8:00 pm for an evening of standup comedy and special guests. Miller says, “We have a lot of work ahead of us supporting the Democratic agenda that moves all of America forward by delivering an even bigger majority to Capitol Hill.”…..“The Regular Joe Show,” hosted by Joe Giganti and syndicated by Genesis Communications Network, adds two new stations to its roster of affiliates. Pan American Broadcasting’s KDAZ-AM/K245CD, Albuquerque adds the program to air from 7:00 am to 10:00 am and WPA Radio LLC’s KTLR-AM/K279CR, Oklahoma City is now airing two hours of the program daily. Giganti says, “These are exciting opportunities to bring our upbeat, witty take on some of the most pressing and challenging issues of the day. I think it’s so important to maintain your ability to laugh and have a little fun, especially when tackling some of the heavier hot topics – perhaps now, more than ever.”
The Economy, Russia-Ukraine War, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Roe v Wade, COVID-19, Elon Musk & Twitter, and Western Drought/Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11). The high cost of food and gasoline, the roiling stock market & plunging value of cryptocurrency, and concerns about a recession; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, rumors of Vladimir Putin’s poor health, and Putin’s warning to Finland over plans to joins NATO; the Trump-approved primary candidates for the November midterms and Trump’s influence over the GOP; the protests over the leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about new variants, and the Chinese zero-COVID policy; the controversial attempt by Elon Musk to acquire Twitter; and the drought and wildfires affecting the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Casey Daniels Named Co-Host of WIBC-FM, Indianapolis’ Late Morning Show. Radio and television pro Casey Daniels is joining Emmis Communications to co-host the late morning daypart on news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis alongside Rob Kendall. Daniels was most recently program director of Grand Rapids’ classic hits WFGR. Prior to that, she spent six years hosting and producing a daytime talk show for WSBT-TV, South Bend. Emmis Indy VP of programming David Wood says, “Casey is a storyteller with great curiosity and creativity. Pairing her with Rob Kendall and his deep knowledge of how local and state government works (or doesn’t work) will create a very entertaining and informative show.” The new “Kendall and Casey Show” will begin on April 4. Daniels says, “I’m so thrilled to be back home again in Indiana at legendary 93 WIBC. I want to thank Taja Graham, David Wood, Matt Hibbeln and Rob Kendall. I’m grateful for this amazing opportunity and what’s next. I’ll see you on the circle!”
Jon Johnson New Overnight Host on Sports Talk WIP, Philadelphia. According to a report at Crossing Broad, Jon Johnson is assuming the role of overnight sports talk host at WIP, Philadelphia. Johnson tweeted: “Some professional news: I will be taking over for my good friend Big Daddy Graham & becoming the full-time host of the @SportsRadioWIP overnight show, starting tonight. In addition, I will still be part of @WIPMorningShow, & back at WFC, CBP covering big games again.” About Johnson’s recent role with the station, Crossing Broad’s Kevin Kinkead writes, “This is interesting. Jon has been a Swiss army knife for WIP for a long time now, filling a variety of shifts and roles. He covers for Angelo [Cataldi] in the mornings, works night and weekend shifts, and goes down to Citizens Bank Park and The Wells Fargo Center for games.” Big Daddy Graham passed away last September after a series of health issues.
Round Three of February PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s February 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s February 2022 sweep covered February 3 – March 2. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM tacks on one-tenth for a 7.7 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and remains ranked #4, while iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KEX-AM rises three-tenths to a 3.1 share good for the #14 rank. iHeartMedia’s KFBK-AM/FM, Sacramento falls six-tenths to finish with a 6.5 share but remains ranked #3. In Salt Lake City, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KNRS-AM/FM claims the #1 rank after climbing eight-tenths to an 8.4 share, while Bonneville’s crosstown news/talk KSL-AM/FM loses half a share to finish with a 6.0 share good for the #4 rank. Audacy’s KMBZ-FM, Kansas City adds six-tenths for a 7.8 share finish that boosts it to the #1 rank in the market. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the first two rounds) here.
Edison Research’s Infinite Dial 2022: Online Audio Consumption Jumps. The 2022 edition of Edison Research’s The Infinite Dial study was unveiled yesterday (3/23) at the Podcast Movement: Evolutions conference in Los Angeles. The big takeaway is that online audio consumption in the U.S. showed significant gains year-over-year. According to the data, 73% of the U.S. 12+ population (an estimated 209 million people) have listened to online audio in the last month, up from 68% in 2021. This jump was primarily driven by listeners age 35+, as the number of those age 35+ who listen to online audio monthly increased by 13% year-over-year. Weekly online audio listening also rose to 67% of the U.S. 12+ population, up from 62% in 2021. The report goes on to conclude that podcasting’s reach is wider than ever but listening behaviors have shifted a bit as Americans return to pre-pandemic routines. Sixty-two percent of those age 12+ in the U.S. (an estimated 177 million people) have ever listened to a podcast, up from 57% last year. Podcast listening – which skyrocketed during the beginning of the pandemic – has tailed off. Edison’s Tom Webster says, “Clearly, Americans went back to work and back to school last year, which brought podcasting numbers back in line with pre-pandemic figures. However, the trend line continues to go up, particularly with 35-54 year olds.”
‘On Being’ Host Krista Tippett Leaving Public Radio System. The executive producer and host of the award-winning public radio show and podcast “On Being” announces she will leave the public radio system effective this June. The national weekly show, which began as “Speaking of Faith” in July 2003, and was renamed “On Being” in 2010, will continue this fall as a seasonally produced podcast. Krista Tippett says, “The front edge of growth of the organization I founded in 2013, The On Being Project, is at the intersection of media and long-term social healing. It’s time for us to live more fully into that mission, and for me to be differently present to this moment in the life of the world. For me personally, this is an energizing and necessary transition. After hosting 52 weeks of programming a year for close to 20 years, I’m ready to move to a more sustainable rhythm and to open space and time for writing, public engagement, and new extensions of our content in the world that is emerging.” “On Being” is distributed by WNYC/New York Public Radio and has more than 650,000 weekly radio listeners on public radio stations around the country. The podcast has had over 375 million total plays and downloads.
Veritonic: Audio Logo Index Ranks Top Audio Logos. The results of Veritonic’s annual Audio Logo Index reveal the top in-market audio logos for overall effectiveness. An audio logo is the spoken or sung portion of an audio ad that identifies the product or service. The company says that effectiveness is measured by logo recall, creative resonance (i.e. uniqueness, trustworthiness, and innovation), and correct association to the brand and industry. Each logo is compared to Veritonic audio logo benchmarks developed and trained by 6-plus years of audio and human response data. This report was compiled based on responses from more than 2,800 panelists that represent the general U.S. population. The best audio logos score highly in 1) creative resonance because the most effective executions elicit resonant and positive feelings towards a brand; 2) in recall as memorability of a brand is paramount for winning future sales; and 3) in association because an audio logo is only effective if the brand is continuously and consistently associated with it (and not one of your competitors). The top audio logos in the 2022 study were: #1 Folgers, #2 State Farm, #3 Liberty Mutual, and #4 Farmers Insurance. You can see more about the study results and hear audio logo samples here.
KFAN’s Dan Barreiro Inducted into Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Twin Cities sports talk host Dan Barreiro was recently inducted into the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Barreiro is host of the afternoon drive “Bumper to Bumper with Dan Barreiro” program at iHeartMedia’s KFXN-FM, Minneapolis “KFAN 100.3” as well as the “Sunday Sermons with Dan Barreiro” weekend show. Barreiro was a sports columnist at the Star Tribune for 17 years. He joined KFAN in 1992. He also co-hosts the Fox 9 television program “Enough Said” on Friday nights. iHeartMedia market president Greg Alexander says, “Dan epitomizes the make-up of a tremendous talk show in the Twin Cities. He puts together compelling interviews and has the ability to break down any and every topic to entertain our listeners. He is a true talent.” SVP of programming Gregg Swedberg adds, “There isn’t a radio personality who has had the kind of ratings success over the last three decades than Dan Barreiro. He has done it by hosting intelligent, entertaining, and compelling radio. He’s more than the ‘Big Ticket,’ he is the blueprint.”
KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno Celebrates 100 Years of Service. Fresno news/talk KMJ celebrated its 100th birthday on March 23. Cumulus Media kicked off the station’s year-long Centennial celebration that will include a concert to be announced and a documentary film. KMJ began broadcasting on March 23, 1922 and is the 38th oldest licensed and continually operating radio station in America. It was originally owned by the San Joaquin Light and Power Corporation, was later acquired by the McClatchy Newspaper Company in 1925 and has seen a handful of owners in the past century. Cumulus Fresno VP and market manager Patty Hixson says, “I started listening to KMJ in my 20s. Over the past 33-plus years, I have had the great honor and privilege to have worked with some of the greatest talent in the business, both on air and in sales. I am truly grateful and humbled by the fact that I have been so blessed to serve our valued listeners – this is my home! The KMJ brand will continue to serve our community and central California through continued focus on relevant content, philanthropy, and ethical business practices. Every day we aspire to be great and it’s the men and women that work here every day, and have done so for the past 100 years, who deserve all the credit for achieving such a wonderful milestone.” Station program director Blake Taylor says, “It’s been an amazing run, and it’s far from over. KMJ has covered everything from the Harding administration to the Biden White House. Terrible tragedies to inspirational triumphs and everything in between. The service to the public of Fresno and the entire Central Valley of California will continue to be our sole focus for the next 100 years.”
TALKERS News Notes. Washington, DC sports talk outlet WTEM “The Team 980” will no longer serve as the flagship station for play-by-play of the NFL’s Washington Commanders. The station – formerly owned by Commanders team owner Dan Snyder – is now owned by Audacy and the station issued a statement on its website that host Kevin Sheehan made on air. It reads: “The organization and the company ‘disagreed on the value of the broadcasts [and] it is also very important for us as a sports talk station, even as a long-time flagship station for the team, it was important for us to continue to be able to provide honest, objective information and analysis about the [Commanders] on our talk shows.” The station obviously believed it could not report objectively while in a financial relationship with the team…..One of radio’s hardest-working talk hosts is adding some fill-in work to his schedule. WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway – who is simulcast to WMT, Cedar Rapids and WOC, Quad Cities – is filling in on iHeartMedia sister station WFLF, Orlando “WFLA” for “Good Morning Orlando” host Bud Hedinger, who is set to undergo heart bypass surgery. In addition, Conway will also be hosting the Premiere Networks nationally syndicated “The Weekend” show on Saturday (3/26)…..G Accelerate Networks announces it has signed a long-term agreement with the “Lou Dobbs Financial Reports” for exclusive advertising sales, affiliate sales, and distribution. The feature – delivered three times daily Monday through Friday, will launch April 18…..SiriusXM enters into a multi-platform agreement with Crooked Media, the independent progressive media company that produces “Pod Save America,” “Lovett or Leave It,” and “Pod Save the World,” through the 2024 election cycle and beyond. The agreement gives SXM Media, the advertising sales arm of Sirius XM Holdings Inc., exclusive global ad sales rights to Crooked Media’s extensive lineup of podcasts beginning in May. SXM Media also gains sales and sponsorship rights to digital video, social media, and live events produced by Crooked Media.
Russia-Ukraine War, Biden Europe Trip, Jackson Confirmation Hearings, Gas Prices/Inflation, COVID-19, Idaho Abortion Law, and Madeleine Albright Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/23). The ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Vladimir Putin’s threats to the West, and the economic effects of the disruption in Europe; President Joe Biden travels to Europe to rally support against Russia; day three of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson; still-soaring gas prices in the U.S. and the high consumer retail prices; concerns about the Omicron BA.2 variant and the airlines ask Biden to let mask mandates expire next month; Idaho Governor Brad Little signs new, restrictive abortion policy into law; and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright dies at 84 among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.