KIIM FM 99.5 program director and afternoon-drive DJ Buzz Jackson will be spending this coming weekend in Las Vegas.
However, this isn't a getaway for debauchery's sake. Instead, Jackson will be in Las Vegas to accept his Academy of Country Music National Mid-Market Radio Personality of the Year trophy.
"It's nice to know we have what it takes to attract that kind of national attention. It's good for the radio station. It's good for me," said Jackson, who has been nominated for the ACM version of the award on three previous occasions. "The day they announced I had won, I got a ton of calls from country artists. Every time the phone rang, it was another country artist calling. It's great in terms of visibility for the radio station."
It's also an indication of KIIM's power in the market. In Tucson's terrestrial-radio landscape, three FM stations benefit from a legacy that makes direct format competition challenging: Clear Channel-owned KRQQ FM 93.7 is the dominant Top 40 station; Lotus-owned KLPX FM 96.1 is the dominant rock station; and Citadel's KIIM is the dominant country station.
Radio clusters have made occasional efforts to topple those stations from their respective perches, but those efforts have generally failed.
"If you're looking for country music in Southern Arizona, there's only one station that's on the radar in Nashville," said Jackson.
Jackson, who will celebrate his nine-year anniversary as program director at KIIM in June, will also get some small national recognition when the music-artist portion of the ACM awards show airs Sunday, April 18, in primetime on CBS. He will voice the lead-in to the fifth commercial break, encouraging viewers to go to CBS.com to vote for the song that Brooks and Dunn will sing later on the telecast.
At many media offices these days, a reception area is protected by some combination of a locked door and Plexiglas designed to separate patrons from direct access to the staff.
Citadel, which operates five radio stations in Tucson, has recently taken steps to do the same thing.
"Across the country over the last year or so, there have been numerous people who have come into radio and/or television stations with guns asking for controversial personalities, which made for a very unsafe working environment," said Citadel Tucson general manager Ken Kowalcek. "Any time you're doing talk shows, they have a tendency to be very controversial, and any time there's controversy, there can be a tendency (for listeners) to come in and want to harm some of your people. It's really to protect the entire staff, and that's why we have it.
"In prior years, people could walk through the door and into the studios. That really just wasn't a very safe environment. We had some employees who had some concerns for their safety, and anytime they voice those kinds of concerns, we want to create an environment where they feel safe."
The security measures are just part of a slew of maintenance improvements undertaken by the cluster, even as Citadel is in the midst of bankruptcy litigation. In addition to the security enhancements, the Citadel cluster has received upgrades to the parking lot, new tile and equipment in the KIIM studios, and a Federal Aviation Administration-mandated paint job and light improvements to its broadcast towers.
NBC affiliate KVOA Channel 4 branding's transition continues. General manager Bill Shaw is moving the station's news product away from the "Balanced News You Can Count On" promo to "For/4 Tucson," capitalizing on the station's channel location in an effort to better connect with the community.
The first indication of the change has taken place through a promotional ad campaign that features on-air members of the KVOA news team away from the newsroom, mingling in settings in and around Tucson.
Now, KVOA's reporters are concluding their stories with the phrase "For Tucson."
"The prominent and consistent use of For/4 is designed for clarity and is easily recognized by the viewer," said Shaw via e-mail. "You will see a variety of uses going forward supporting the concept."
Shaw singled out a For/4 Kids campaign as an example. It's safe to say the phrase will act as the backbone of KVOA's promotional endeavors for the foreseeable future.
"'Balanced News You Can Count On' was a good description, but it was somewhat like commenting on the obvious, in my opinion," said Shaw. "That's what we are supposed to be, and are. I think our viewers are smart enough to know that."
Journal Broadcast Group, the Milwaukee-based media firm that operates four radio stations and two television outlets in Tucson, has pegged Mark Kunkel to head up its local sales operation. Kunkel's sales experience includes stints in Denver, South Dakota and Roanoke, Va.
Emily Guggenmos, who most recently worked as a morning anchor and reporter at KDLT TV in Sioux Falls, S.D., has accepted a part-time reporter position with KVOA Channel 4. She made the move to Tucson in February.