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Smith Takes Reins at KMSB, KTTU

Tod A. Smith begins his duties as president and general manager of Belo-owned KMSB Channel 11 and KTTU Channel 18 on June 14. Smith replaces Nick Nicholson, who has been logging massive frequent-flyer miles while holding double-GM duties with the Tucson Fox and UPN stations and Belo affiliate KVEC, licensed for Hampton/Norfolk, Va., since the first of the year.

"Tod Smith is an outstanding leader whose diverse sales, marketing, research and management experience makes him a terrific choice to lead our Tucson television operations," said Skip Cass, executive vice president/media operations, in a press release. "(I) am thrilled that he will be rejoining Belo as general manager of two of the company's fastest-growing television stations."

Smith returns to Belo after a stint with a New Orleans advertising agency, but his path to the top spot at Belo's two Tucson TV entities didn't go exclusively through media-related locales. He spent nearly a decade with Shell Oil in Houston and Tulsa before returning to his hometown of New Orleans, where he began his career under the Belo umbrella as a marketing executive for WWL TV. He moved up the ladder to local sales manager in 1999, and also served in a recruiting capacity and as a lecturer for the Belo Sales Academy. Smith taught marketing in an adjunct capacity for Tulane University from 2002-2005. He spent 18 months with the Peter A. Mayer advertising agency before returning to Belo for the Tucson opportunities.

Smith has a degree in management from Loyola University in New Orleans and is active in numerous New Orleans civic organizations, highlighted by his involvement as a member of the board of directors for Lighthouse of the Blind and in an advisory board capacity for the United Negro College Fund, Louisiana region.


PICKEL, ANDERSEN LEAVE KOLD

KOLD Channel 13 news anchor Kris Pickel is heading west to anchor the 4 p.m. newscast for KOVR in Sacramento. Pickel and Randy Garsee have been behind the desk for the pivotal weeknight 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts during KOLD's rise to No. 1 in the local news ratings. Pickel has worked for KOLD since 1997.

Pickel is the second KOLD employee to leave for Sacramento within a month. Arran Andersen, the station's No. 2 sports reporter, accepted a position at the same station, and actually played a major role in breaking the Pickel story locally. Andersen called his former cohorts at The Shootout on KCUB AM 1290, the afternoon talk show hosted by the KOLD sports team. (Full disclosure: I get a paycheck from KCUB for doing pregame and postgame UA shows.)

Andersen suggested something might be in the air, and Pickel confirmed the report on the radio shortly thereafter.

Andersen almost accepted a position in Philadelphia, but pulled out of those talks at the last moment; the Sacramento opportunity became available shortly thereafter.


'ROADSHOW' BACK IN TUCSON

The Old Pueblo made quite a splash with the folks at Antiques Roadshow, the popular PBS appraisal series. When Ted Kuntz traipsed into the event in 1999 to determine a worth for his Navajo blanket, he had no idea he'd be making Antiques Roadshow history. His "national treasure" Navajo blanket appraised between $250,000 and $500,000, which remains a Roadshow record to this day.

Tucson has been tabbed as one of six cities represented during the show's 2006 appraisal tour. Antiques Roadshow will tape its primary appraisal segment beginning at 7 a.m., Saturday, June 17, at the Tucson Convention Center, but has plans to visit and spotlight the Tucson Rodeo Parade Museum, horse-themed art objects at the Tucson Museum of Art and a Navajo jewelry art studio.

The program and accompanying features will air in 2007.


STARNET BEGINS ASSOCIATION WITH FASTPITCH SOFTBALL

As the Arizona Heat begins season No. 3 as a member of the National Pro Fastpitch softball league, azstarnet.com will provide an outlet for local broadcasts. It marks the second partnership between Starnet and Brian Baltosiewich, who discontinued Sports Apocalypse, touted as the nation's first Internet-based sportstalk program, in January after four years on the Arizona Daily Star Web site.

In addition to Heat broadcasts, Baltosiewich will also host NPF Weekly, an Internet-based program that will provide a comprehensive look at the goings-on around the NPF league. The launch broadcast was Tuesday. It is available in mp3 and streaming formats at the NPF Web site (www.profastpitch.com).

"I approached the league about a weekly program that could provide content involving all teams each week, keeping fans in touch with the league on days when there are no games," Baltosiewich said. "The league's Thursday through Sunday schedule means there are three days a week that the league is dark. Well, not any more."

The program will feature a player of the week interview, recaps and previews, a coaching clinic and other player interviews and features.

"As the program grows, I expect to field listener e-mails and talk to league officials about the state of the league," Baltosiewich said. "This is a great opportunity for the league to develop a seven-day-a-week presence, and for me to talk about sports, which I'd be doing most of the time anyway."

Baltosiewich expects new programs to be posted on Monday evenings, for Tuesday-morning listening by fans.

"I'm excited," Baltosiewich said. "I think this time around, the NPF is here to make some noise; it's a great product. Hopefully, I can add to that equation and keep the league in the mind of the fans between weekends."

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