For more than 20 years, Dan Ryan brought the world of sports to Tucson living rooms as a sportscaster at KVOA Channel 4. Now he's entering the public-relations world, as the director of community relations for the Augusta Resource Corporation's Rosemont mine project.
"The media thing is done," said Ryan, who left a sales position with Journal Broadcast Group to accept the Rosemont offer. "I've been in Tucson for 22 years and been in broadcast media one way or the other that whole time, and now this is an entirely different dimension."
The opportunity presented itself through a phone call from longtime friend Jay Zucker, the former owner the Triple-A baseball Tucson Sidewinders and the current owner of the independent-league Tucson Toros.
"About three hours later, I'm setting up a meeting with the CEO," said Ryan. "That meeting turned out to be a 3 1/2-hour interview. In the course of five days, the deal was agreed to in principle. It was very surreal the way it happened. It's a wonderful ground-floor opportunity, and it's all due to the thoughtfulness and kindness of Jay Zucker."
Ryan has made a career out of publicizing the results of organized conflict; now, part of his duties will be to officiate. The controversy connected with mining projects is well-known, and Rosemont's effort in Southern Arizona is certainly no exception.
"I understand the challenge," said Ryan, who will both deal with media inquiries and conduct public get-togethers in affected communities. "I have been in discussions as part of the interview process and talking with experts. Through technological advancements, the footprint they leave behind in this 20-to-25-year venture is going to be half the size of the Sahuarita mine, and a third the size of the Pima mine. They are going to take it upon themselves in this mining venture to reclaim the land and turn it as close as they can to its natural habitat. They'll get it as close to 100 percent normal as it can possibly be. They are taking a lot of steps to assuage and alleviate the fears of the folks in those communities.
"If I'm stepping into this kind of position, I need to be comfortable with (the environmental implications). (Augusta has) won numerous environmental awards because of their approach to mining. They have the kind of approach that I think will really help with this project. It's also bringing a lot of money to the state, and a lot of jobs. John McCain and Jan Brewer have backed this, and I'm hoping the jobs generated from this will help to stimulate our economy and get Southern Arizona back on its feet."
Lee Enterprises, the Davenport, Iowa-based publisher that owns the Arizona Daily Star, has strung together its second consecutive profitable quarter.
The company's fourth-quarter 2009 profit was $27.9 million, a significant turnaround from the $48 million-plus loss that Lee suffered in the same quarter in 2008. However, much of the profit was due to deep cost-cutting, and money streams continue to suffer.
Online ad revenue dipped 8.4 percent in the fourth quarter—which is actually a significant improvement from the 24 percent drop it endured in the year's third quarter. Overall, print and online advertising slipped by more than 16 percent, so it remains to be seen whether the profit numbers will continue trending positive—or revert to a negativity that has been plaguing the industry as a whole.
Brian Baltosiewich, who served as creative services director for Belo television stations KMSB Channel 11 and KTTU Channel 18 for 3 1/2 years, has split with the company.
Baltosiewich, who was employed by Belo for more than four years total, will continue with other endeavors, including radioexiles.com, the podcast Web site he founded that hosts shows from current and former Tucson radio personalities including Mike Rapp, Betsy Bruce, Alan Michaels, Joan Lee and yours truly. It has also expanded into other markets.
Baltosiewich is also nearing the end of his 12th season as the play-by-play voice of UA Icecats hockey on its radio broadcasts.
Baltosiewich's departure has also put the locally produced The Very Bad Movie on hiatus. The Very Bad Movie, which aired Saturday night/Sunday morning at midnight on KTTU, featured local hosts in something of a Mystery Science Theater 3000-style scenario, chiming in regarding the general awfulness of the film. The show was in its fourth season; Carrie Moten hosted it for three years, but when her move to Phoenix interfered, Baltosiewich was kind enough to ask KIIM FM 99.5 morning show co-host Shannon Black and me to fill the slot, which is what we did from September through last weekend.
"We started running these movies over and over and over, and I don't have a budget to refresh it," said Lou Medran, Belo's operations manager, regarding the station's decision. "This is like the third pass on some of these titles. We just need to refresh the titles. It's a budget thing right now. Hopefully, if we can refresh titles, we might consider bringing it back again."
That said, it's more than a coincidence that The Very Bad Movie's "hiatus" occurred in conjunction with Baltosiewich's departure. To be truthful, our job was simple: Shannon—who has an excellent television persona—and I would show up and try to basically ad-lib off a cheat sheet provided by Brian. Sometimes it worked pretty well; other times, it missed the mark—but it was Brian who handled the heavy lifting. Once we were done, he had to edit the segments and get them ready for broadcast, a process that regularly kept him around after-hours.
I enjoyed the experience; The Very Bad Movie was great fun, and if KTTU has the desire to do it again, I'd love to be a part of it.