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KOLD UNVEILS HD STUDIO

It didn't take long for Raycom-owned KOLD Channel 13 to construct its high-definition studio for local news broadcasts: The

CBS affiliate finished the new digs in just a couple of weeks.

In addition to studio improvements, the KOLD upgrade includes enhanced weather graphics that KOLD general manager Debbie Bush promises will better display patterns that affect specific neighborhoods. KOLD has also upgraded its camera equipment to broadcast in the HD 16-by-9 format.

"This is a big investment in our equipment, and will bring our audience the best viewing experience available combined with our dedication to keeping them informed," said KOLD news director Michelle Germano.

KOLD is the second station in the market to upgrade its studio to HD. KVOA Channel 4 made the transition in 2007 (mistakenly reported as 2008 in a Media Watch a few weeks ago). KGUN Channel 9 is scheduled to complete the move by year's end. KMSB Channel 11 is in the process of a studio upgrade as well for its new local morning news offering, which is set to hit the airwaves this fall.

KOLD has also announced it will add a half-hour to its morning news programming. As of Sept. 20, KOLD News 13 This Morning will begin at 4:30 a.m. and run until 7.

"We believe this will better meet the needs of our audience. It's a growing time period," said Bush in a press release. "More and more people are getting up early and searching for more information."

KVOA and KGUN provide similar morning offerings from 5 to 7 a.m. before joining network fare. KMSB plans to produce a four-hour local morning show.


HOWELL GIVES FITNESS MAG A SECOND SHOT

Tucson MOVE magazine hopes to make a splash when it debuts in October. The glossy publication will reportedly get a distribution of 80,000, with much of that in schools throughout town.

Lucy Howell published the short-lived Tucson SPORT magazine, which focused on athletic accomplishments and fitness-related functions for school-age children. MOVE has many of the same goals, but hopes to expand the concept a bit more.

"It's a full-color, high-gloss magazine, six times a year with a target audience of third through eighth grade regarding issues in sports, recreation, family and life. Art, sports and sciences will be the key drivers of the editorial mission," Howell said.

"If you look at the national education model, it's moving toward sports, arts and science. When we had the sports magazine, 80 percent of kids K-8 were involved in some kind of sport: AYSO, Little League, cheerleading, dance. ... But there was some resistance from non-sports people like librarians and counselors to that title: 'Why would I open that? It's called SPORT.' This is very broad-based. It covers a physical and social movement level toward healthier living, public policy and public health."

Howell returned to banking once Tucson SPORT went south. In January, she formed a company in Athens, Ga., to build upon the MOVE concept, with eyes on a publication model that operates in a number of communities. Tucson is the launching pad.

"The CEO on the project has magazine-franchising experience for the largest franchiser in the country," Howell said. "I'm working with ... (numerous) global, national, and local community leaders, from the public, private and non-profit sectors to prove a model for healthy community living and educational enrichment. It's pretty significant the team we've compiled to put Tucson to the test, so we'd better step up."

Launching projects in Pima County can be daunting. Southern Arizona does not always answer the bell when it comes to supporting entrepreneurial enterprises. However, Howell notes that Pima County has received good marks for health initiatives and hopes to parlay that mentality into success with the magazine model.

"In April, Pima County, alongside Activate Tucson, was awarded a $15.8 million (obesity-prevention) grant from the CCPW, Communities Putting Prevention to Work. We're one of 10 communities in the country that received a grant of this size. Of the nine markets that received a million dollars or more, all are much larger markets—New York, Boston, Chicago. We were granted the largest per-capita grant in the country based on the progressiveness and collaboration of public health issues and initiatives in Pima County," Howell said. "Nobody gives Pima County credit for any of that stuff. The writers of that grant are the same writers of Tucson SPORT. Now, we're not just going to do what we did (before) ... Even though it's very tough, and people are cynical of my pulling this whole thing together, I have a key sponsor on board, and we're looking to preview the first week in October. If anyone wants to talk education enrichment, here's a perfect opportunity. This is how we can help our schools shine. It's up to us to step up and do it or not."


MOUNTAIN CHARITY EVENT RAISES $223K

KWMT FM 92.9's annual charity fundraiser brought in $223,000 for the Tucson Medical Center's Children's Miracle Network. The event covered a three-day period from Aug. 25-27 with live broadcasts from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"Over the past seven years, our work with TMC and the Children's Miracle Network has become some of the most important and gratifying work we do," said Clear Channel Tucson operations manager Tim Richards in a press release.

In its eight years, the Mountain of Miracles radiothon has raised close to $2 million, with all proceeds remaining in Tucson.

Also, a quick correction: In last week's Media Watch, I had a bit of a radio flashback and mistakenly ID'd The Mountain's call letters as KWFM. That was the old 92.9 FM; the new call letters are KWMT. KWFM has long since switched to 1450 AM. Both are owned by Clear Channel.

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