But her passion remains the ability to tell a broader story via the avenues of public radio, and as a result, she recently concluded her 2 1/2-year stint with Tucson's afternoon daily.
"I'm really grateful to the Citizen for bringing me here and giving me a chance," said LoMonaco, a University of California, Berkeley, graduate who reported on the border and immigration for the Citizen. "I'm a much better reporter, but I always intended to go back to radio."
The focus of the Citizen ultimately strayed from the reporting route LoMonaco wants to pursue.
"This is a trend with papers on a national level: 'We just want hyper-local.' They're channeling the resources as best they can, but it's just a trend you see in newspapers. My personal interest as a consumer of news is broader than just Southern Arizona as a region," LoMonaco said. "I'll have more opportunities to cover that through freelance radio and possibly through TV documentary work."
LoMonaco already has a successful résumé in public radio. Her border and immigration features are a regular staple of Marketplace, the business and economic program broadcast by American Public Media. LoMonaco's work has also appeared on the PBS program Frontline/World. She recently received a National Headliner Award for one of her pieces.
"You toil away at a small paper, and it came as quite a shock," LoMonaco said of the award. "When I do national stuff, I get recognition."
News reporting in a traditional sense has been all but gutted in the commercial radio realm, replaced in large part by the talk format. The theater of the mind--the peripheral sounds that help to place the listener in the stories--has become an obsolete art form in the ADD world of commercial radio. However, it still remains a viable storytelling function in the public radio forum.
"You get real people's voices," LoMonaco said. "There's not the pressure to turn out the daily news. In public radio, you're trying to find something to help people understand the larger picture as opposed to getting caught up in the minutiae of the daily news cycle. ... I much prefer to be a freelancer where you can pick and choose your stories as opposed to that beat thing. It's a break for me. You're doing more feature work, and you can be more in-depth and find the human story. It's fun. You get to actually hear people's voices. It's incredibly engaging. I love the process."
LoMonaco is working on a radio documentary about the Armenian genocide and cultural survival viewed through the lens of her grandmother's village, a treasured family recipe and the hunt for the only man who might still know how to make it.
"It's the hunt for a long-lost family recipe," LoMonaco said. "I'll be taking a trip to Turkey for that.
"I have a bunch of projects lined up. I just needed to figure out when was the right time. I needed the time to do them."
"Bud has the most respect and knowledge of any local television reporter for what's going on in the government, what's going on in the city and where the skeletons are in the closet," said KOLD general manager Jim Arnold. "We have Interstate 10, the (Regional Transportation Authority), all these things coming up, then the big elections in 2008 already heating up and a local election in 2007, so our move with Bud is a content thing. We think he's better served becoming sort of a political specialist. ... When there's a political story, he's our go-to guy, and we can utilize him in more newscasts than just the mornings. He's always been a reporter by heart, anyway."
Foster's political analysis has already led off a number of KOLD evening newscasts. His move from the morning desk means the search is on for a replacement alongside Jenny Anchondo.
"Bud will be in periodically. We'll have a couple people in for a couple weeks," Arnold said. "The move was not made with a fill-in in mind, which is kind of unusual, but there's political stuff heating up, so we thought Bud's contributions leading into the July book and into the fall season were more important than having two anchors on in the morning."
The search for the right morning personality is not as simple as finding someone capable of reading the news.
"Probably a little more ad-lib and interview ability (is needed), a little more fun natured," Arnold said. "Morning news in television is becoming a more and more important category, but it's still almost like picture radio, because people are doing other things. That's why the anchors will say, 'Hey, if you look at your screen now, we have this fantastic video.' We remind people to come back to the screen to see the video, because we don't assume they're merely sitting there enthralled with us. They're combing their hair, brushing their teeth and watching us at the same time."
"Randy's been all over and has been successful everywhere he's anchored," said KTEN news director Steve Korioth, who had a brief stint in Tucson in the KVOA Channel 4 newsroom, via a press release. "Randy just finished nearly a decade in the Tucson TV market, where he took his station from third to first. He won't have that same challenge here since KTEN just recently outpaced the market's only competing news station in several key demographics."
Garsee spent 9 1/2 years on the anchor desk in Tucson. During that time, the news team of Garsee and Kris Pickel helped move KOLD from the cellar to the top spot in the market, where it remains today.
Last summer, Pickel accepted a job in Sacramento, Calif. Garsee was let go shortly thereafter. Sherman is market No. 161 in size; Tucson is 100 spots bigger.