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'EXPLORER' OWNER CLOSE TO BUYING 'EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE'

Barring unforeseen hang-ups, it appears that Thirteenth Street Media, the Colorado based-publishing firm that owns the Explorer, will buy a big presence in the Phoenix metro area in the form of Mesa's East Valley Tribune.

Thirteenth Street purchased the Explorer, a 50,000-circulation free-distribution weekly two years ago. The Explorer, which focuses on news related to the Oro Valley and Marana areas, has undergone its share of transition since the takeover—including drastic newsroom cuts.

Thirteenth Street publisher Randy Miller told the East Valley Tribune—which won a Pulitzer Prize earlier this year—that he hopes to retain "a substantial number" of employees.

Current Tribune owner Freedom Communications previously announced plans to close the newspaper by the end of the year when it didn't appear a respectable offer for the Tribune would come in.

The deal is contingent on approval from federal bankruptcy court, as Freedom is in the midst of Chapter 11 restructuring.


KUAT, TUCSON 12 CLEAN AT UP AT ROCKY MOUNTAIN EMMYS

PBS affiliate KUAT Channel 6, a subsidiary of Arizona Public Media, returned from the Rocky Mountain Emmy presentation with a number of statues.

Sooyeon Lee Johnston received a pair of arts and entertainment honors and a cultural-documentary plaque, while Luis Carrion garnered an award for religion-related news coverage. Dan Duncan and Pam White earned a regional Emmy in the Informational/Instructional category.

The city of Tucson's Tucson 12 was well represented, too. Mitch Riley was on the receiving end of an award for historic and cultural programming (his "Daniel" feature was also honored for editing and photography, one of two of Riley's photography related wins) in addition to sports reporting. He also teamed with Gene Einfrank for a politics/government honor. Jennifer McKinney and Dan Sheffer were rewarded for their magazine/programming efforts, while Lety Bazurto-Matthews and Dulce Mascareño won for public/current/community affairs.

KOLD Channel 13 garnered some recognition as well. Daniel Adelman, Mike Ford and Raul Hernandez earned Promotional News Promo accolades. Ford, Jill Beissel, Wade Stai and Matthew Van Hoesen were recognized for Advanced Media/Interactivity.

Will Holst of UAnews.org was honored in the Advanced Media Public/Current Affairs category and Advanced Media video editing, while James Gregg of the Arizona Daily Star took home honors in Advanced Media/Sports and Advanced Media/Photographer.


MEDIA ORGS RAMP UP HOLIDAY FUNDRAISERS

Numerous radio and television media outlets are again rallying the masses in a variety of donation-drive efforts.

On the television front, KVOA Channel 4 has been engaging in its Season of Hope campaign for a couple of months.

"Season of Hope is our big charity drive," said news director Kathleen Choal via e-mail. "It started in October and goes through Dec. 19. We have joined with area professional firefighters to collect nonperishable food for the Tucson Community Food Bank and new, unwrapped toys for the Marine's Toys for Tots program."

Food-collection efforts have been underway since the onset of the drive, and KVOA is focusing more heavily on the Toys for Tots portion during the Thanksgiving-to-Christmas window.

KOLD Channel 13 got a pre-Thanksgiving jump on fundraiser events as well. The hot-air balloon glow on the UA mall the Friday prior to Arizona's football game with Oregon garnered 2,000 pounds of food for the Food Bank. KOLD partners with Toys for Tots as well during the Reid Park Zoo Lights event. It will also coordinate with Wells Fargo for a Food Bank donation drive Dec. 10 at two Wells Fargo locations.

KGUN Channel 9 and KWBA Channel 58 are joining forces for a Stuff the Bus endeavor Dec. 11 at Sam Levitz Furniture on Pantano Road and Broadway Boulevard, and another at Walgreens at Ina and Thornydale roads on Dec. 18. The goal is to fill a Sun Tran bus with toys for the Salvation Army.

KGUN's parent company, Journal Broadcast Group, also has radio charity drives on the docket. KMXZ FM 94.9 conducts its Diaper Drive Holiday Play Kick Off at the Gaslight Theatre this Saturday. Tickets are already sold out.

KQTH FM 104.1 is participating in Operation Holiday Helpers, a gift-card collection drive for Bravely Waiting, which helps families with deployed family members. Gift cards can be mailed or dropped off at the station, located near Speedway Boulevard and Kolb Road.

Clear Channel, which operates numerous radio stations in the market, is busy for the holidays. The Johnjay and Rich Show and KRQQ FM 93.7 have kicked off the Christmas Wish campaign. It continues through Dec. 18. The Pablo Show, broadcast on KOHT FM 98.3, is gearing for a four-day Toys for Tots drive in conjunction with area McDonald's from Dec. 14-17, and KWMT FM 93.9 FM will release its Studio C CD Vol. 4 next week. It will be available at Bookmans and Sunflower Farmers Market, with proceeds benefiting various Tucson charities.

Down the road at Citadel, KIIM FM 99.5 is prepping for the annual Penny Pinch at Foothills Mall, its successful spare-change fundraiser. The three-day event, on tap from Dec. 16-18, hopes to collect a million pennies, or $10,000. Earlier concerts by Rodney Atkins and Darryl Worley have already raised some funds for Arizona's Children Association.

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