CBS This Morning on Thursday returned to a favorite topic of the network's journalists: Legalized pot. This time, reporter Barry Petersen hyped an all marijuana radio station. With no hint at any downside, co-host Norah O'Donnell introduced, "A Colorado radio station is fine-tuning its format to reach a higher audience in the land of legalized marijuana."
Reporter Barry Petersen enthused, "With revenue and audience numbers climbing to the sky, at K-HIGH, it's good to be high." Explaining the station's lineup of hosts, he promoted, "And in the afternoon, there are the Weed Pimps."
On Tuesday, the network hyped "pot entrepreneurs" in Colorado. As the Media Research Center's Jeffrey Meyer noted, "Since recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado last year, CBS This Morning has run multiple segments touting the new industry":
• On January 24, 2014 CBS hyped “cannabis capitalism” and “pot tours” throughout Colorado
• On April 24, 2014 CBS touted the best marijuana in Colorado called “ghost train haze”
• On June 17, 2014 Petersen promoted pot as an empowerment tool for women
• On October 27, 2014 CBS This Morning pushed the Marijuana ‘miracle’ in Colorado
• On November 26, 2014 CBS wished its views a “Merry Marijuana” and a “Happy Cannabis!”
• On March 30, 2015 the pot-obsessed CBS This Morning highlighted “Facebook for stoners”
A transcript of the May 21 CBS This Morning segment is below:
NORAH O'DONNELL: And a Colorado radio station is fine-tuning its format to reach a higher audience in the land of legalized marijuana. Barry Petersen takes us to the studio in Colorado Springs where the format is now all pot talk.
BUBBA KUSHMAN (K-HIGH): Good morning. Thank you so much for tuning in to K-HIGH radio station, your weed station!
BARRY PETERSEN: Let's start with those call letters, K-H-I-G-H. That's right. K-High. All pot talk all the time.
UNIDENTIFIED: Maybe they should legalize weed there.
PETERSEN: Launched in April, the station features several different programs, takes calls –
KUSHMAN: Caller, are you there?
PETERSEN: And converses on all things cannabis
KUSHMAN: So, that's, like, something you couldn't get from, like, a kief box? .
PETERSEN: And what might get you fired somewhere else will make you a better talk show host here. Are you high now? I mean, do you smoke first thing in the morning?
KUSHMAN: Oh, yeah. I smoke pretty much throughout the day.
PETERSEN: His professional name is Bubba Kushman. Who or what do you want on your show?
KUSHMAN: Anybody and everybody who's for or against the legalization of marijuana.
KUSHMAN: Yeah. Even against. I welcome the naysayers.
PETERSEN: And in the afternoon, there are the Weed Pimps.
UNIDENTIFIED: Weed Pimps! High drive at five!
PETERSEN: Really, the name says it all.
UNIDENTIFIED: We like to talk about weed. So we're going to talk about it.
PETERSEN: It's not a surprise that someone finally dedicated a station to pot. The surprise is who did it. Conservative Republican station owner Mike Knarr.
MIKE KNARR: If you were to ask me about pot a year ago or a couple years ago, actually, I probably would have been, like, no way, no how, nowhere.
PETERSEN: But hat was before his son started having reactions to chemotherapy. Doctors suggested medicinal, synthetic marijuana and Knarr changed his mind.
KNARR: I'm talking within 12 hours this kid was stopped.
PETERSEN: Personal experience became a programming goal. He dumped sports talk for pot talk. Marijuana shops allowed to advertise in Colorado were among a host of new accounts. The changeover has been successful in terms of audience. What about in terms of revenue?
PETERSEN: Wow sounds good.
KNARR: It's been amazing. You know, we probably in the last 30 days have done what the this station has done in the last 12 months.
PETERSEN: What was your reaction when your boss came in and said all pot, all weed, all the time.
LEN WILLIAMS: I think collectively we all looked at him as if he had two heads.
PETERSEN: Len Williams is the program director. K-HIGH started on the radio as an AM Station but today it lives only on the internet.
WILLIAMS: Within a month we had over 110,000 hits on the website alone.
KUSHMAN: You're listening to K-HIGH and Letstalkpot.com.
PETERSEN: Back to Bubba Kushman. He promotes himself as a functional stoner and while pot is hot, there may be a few drawbacks even for him. How does that relate to talk show host?
KUSHMAN: Functional stoner, I would say that the fact while stoned I can carry on a decent and intelligent conversation. I don't know. Can you repeat the question? Short-term memory loss. That's a side effect.
PETERSEN: Still, with revenue and audience numbers climbing to the sky, at K-HIGH, it's good to be high.
KUSHMAN: High noon with Bubba Kushman. Letstalkpot.com.Your weed station.
PETERSEN: For CBS This Morning, Barry Petersen, Colorado Springs.