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MICHAELS, LEE LAUNCH PODCAST

Tucson radio veteran Alan Michaels and his longtime morning-show co-host, Joan Lee, are teaming up again, this time for a weekly podcast at radioexiles.com.

For nearly three decades, Michaels was one of the most well-known radio personalities in the market. He was a morning-show mainstay at oldies station KOOL (KWFM) FM 92.9 and later at KOOL (KWFM) AM 1450 when Clear Channel pulled the format from the FM dial.

Lee is a well-known media personality as well. She left her position as Michaels' morning sidekick for a stint as the local face of KWBA Channel 58/Cable Channel 8 during its fledgling days as a WB affiliate, and for a brief time when it transitioned to the CW network, before she returned to radio aside Michaels. Both were victims of Clear Channel's layoffs in January.

"He's my favorite person. I have a good time with him," Lee said of Michaels. "I think Alan doesn't mind me making fun of him. He's a great personality. People love him in town. We know each other well enough that I can poke fun at him. We'll bounce ideas off each other."

The Michaels-Lee team joins Tucson veteran morning-show tandems Jonas Hunter and Andy Taylor, and Mike Rapp and Betsy Bruce at radioexiles.com. Carrie Moten, currently a part of Clear Channel's syndicated Johnjay and Rich morning show, hosts the most popular show on the Web site, which is designed as an outlet for radio hosts without gigs on traditional radio stations, although that's clearly a lax distinction in Moten's case.

The same holds true for me. I co-host a pair of shows online with Brad Allis, my radio partner for UA football and basketball pregame and postgame broadcasts on KCUB AM 1290.

"Jonas Hunter and Andy Taylor, Mike Rapp and Betsy Bruce, now Alan Michaels and Joan Lee. Imagine a local radio station with that lineup. They'd be No. 1 in a heartbeat," said radioexiles.com founder Brian Baltosiewich via e-mail. "Add the other talent we've been able to assemble, and we now have eight podcasts a week, all brand-new, edgy and hugely entertaining. Kenn Hayes and Bob Cady joined us a few weeks ago out of New York City; they love the format, and the listeners love them. We're developing other shows with other talent from across the country, and I fully expect by this fall to be in a position to offer a minimum of two or three new podcasts every day of the week—something for everybody."

Lee said she hopes Michaels can make the jump to the medium's new wave.

"It's hard to get him on a computer. He has e-mail (and) barely uses it. He knows how to text, but it's hard. He's just coming around to the whole this-is-the-future thing, the social networking and podcasts and things like that," Lee said. "He was on for 28 1/2 years at the same formatted radio station. He's been out of the business since January, and I think he's going stir-crazy. It's kind of like the kids in the summertime. He's starting to wonder, 'What am I going to do tomorrow?' It's a great outlet for him. He's got a lot of opinions about a lot of things."


LEE VOTES AGAINST REVERSE SPLIT

The board of directors of Lee Enterprises, owner of the Arizona Daily Star, voted against a reverse stock split at a meeting late last month.

A reverse stock split usually happens to keep a struggling stock above the New York Stock Exchange's $1-per-share requirement.

Lee was notified of noncompliance in late December, but has until this December to get the stock above a dollar on a consistent basis. Because of the market downturn, NYSE has suspended the dollar requirement through July.

"Despite recent volatility in Lee's share price, owing in part to index rebalancing, we believe our long-term prospects remain strong and will become apparent to more investors as the recession begins to recede," said Lee chairman and CEO Mary Junck in a news release. "We believe our recent debt refinancing has given us ample flexibility to manage through the downturn.

"Our newspapers and their Web sites continue to reach, by far, the vast majority of adults in our markets, with growing strength across all age groups. We remain, hands-down, the leading provider of local news, information and advertising in our markets. As the recession drags on, we are staying focused on building further on these strengths and increasing our lion's share of local advertising spending."

Since Junck issued that optimistic outlook late last month, Lee stock has slipped by about 15 percent. It was selling for 53 cents per share at the close of business on Monday, July 13.


KSMB: IT'S NEVER TOO EARLY FOR A COUNTDOWN

Despite lingering economic uncertainty, the good folks at KMSB Channel 11 are keeping the faith. They believe so much in Arizona's future that they're counting down the 1,000 days until Arizona's centennial in 2012.

This small but vital feature, broadcast on the station's nightly 9 p.m. newscast, coincides with a sort of this-date-in-Arizona history tidbit.

And Feb. 14, 2012, gets ever closer. Perhaps sometime in 2010, the KMSB newscast can say that on this date in 2009, Fox News at 9 started its 1,000-day centennial celebration. That's certainly historic.

So what if Arizona hasn't actually bothered to actually fund a celebration yet?

Hopefully, on Feb. 15, 2012, KMSB will start its bicentennial countdown.


TRAFFIC SHOULD FLOW AGAIN SOON AT KOLD

CBS affiliate KOLD Channel 13 is expected to fill its morning traffic position at anytime. The on-air position is actually funded through Metro Networks, a traffic-update service, but KOLD agreed to assist in the hiring process. The station's morning show has been without a traffic reporter (meteorologist Erin Jordan often steps in to handle updates) since Dee Cortez's departure in June.

More by John Schuster

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