The Arizona Daily Star still maintained an average weekday circulation of slightly more than 100,000—and Sunday circulation numbers near 150,000—but according to 2009 numbers compiled by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the city's morning daily did not benefit at all from the May 2009 closure of the Tucson Citizen.
According to the audit, released last month, the Star's average paid circulation for Sunday was 143,738. From Monday through Friday, that number dipped to 104,340. Monday was the weakest day (100,263), and Thursday the strongest (109,140). Saturday's average was 112,138.
However, when broken into quarterly numbers for 2009, the Star actually turned in stronger tallies in the first quarter, when the Citizen was still around. In January through March 2009, the Star had an average Sunday circulation around 155,000, and a weekday circulation of 122,000. Those numbers dipped significantly during the spring and summer quarters—not surprising, given Tucson's hot-weather exodus—but they didn't pick up as much as the Star might have hoped in the last quarter of 2009. In that three-month window, the Star circulation average for Sunday was 147,907, and 105,952 on weekdays.
Last-quarter 2009 numbers were well below the numbers from the same quarter in 2008 (154,450 for Sundays and 118,713 on weekdays), a suggestion that the poor economy and the deterioration of the daily-newspaper print model are far more significant than any bump the paper might have received by picking up some of the roughly 15,000 subscribers who hung on to the Citizen until the end.
In the last five years, the Star's paid Sunday circulation average has gone from 168,227 in 2005, to 163,777 in 2006, 159,266 in 2007, 153,974 in 2008, to last year's tally of 143,738.
Monday through Friday numbers were 138,953 in 2005, 137,379 in 2006, 131,452 in 2007, 121,399 in 2008 and 104,340 in 2009. That's nearly a 16 percent drop from 2008 to 2009 alone.
Scott Kilbury was trying to catch some Zs in the midst of a busy weekend that had him hosting Butterfield Stage Days in his hometown of Benson, attending a high school reunion and preparing to take the kids to Sunrise Park Ski Resort. With a schedule like that, there's no time for things like the Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards, even if they were hosted just up the road in Phoenix.
On Saturday night, Kilbury started receiving texts.
"My wife said, 'You won something,'" Kilbury said. "I had forgotten about the whole thing. Then I tracked down information on Twitter, and they said another Scott had won, so I figured they got confused."
They hadn't. Kilbury and Scott Light of Phoenix TV station KPNX shared the On-Camera Talent Anchor news award. For Kilbury, it's his first news-related Rocky Mountain Emmy; he has two other statues related to his sports work at KOLD Channel 13.
"I was just happy to be nominated in a news category. It makes me feel like I'm validated at this desk," said Kilbury, who transitioned to KOLD's morning show three years ago. "I had gone to (Rocky Mountain Emmy) dinners before, and you have to pay for the dinner, and then if you don't win, on the drive home, it's, 'Wow, that sucked.'"
KOLD registered other Rocky Mountain Emmy winners as well. KOLD news anchor Heather Rowe, who was nominated in the category Kilbury won, received an Emmy along with Paul Durrant for "Ticket Hot Spots" in the Special Assignment Report news category. Durrant also received an editor Emmy in the No Time Limit news category. Richard Beissel, who now works in Phoenix, landed an honor in the sports version of the same category. Wade Stai's "Because Wade Was Crazy" piece garnered Editor Short-Form accolades.
Meanwhile, KUAT Channel 6 received a half-dozen honors. Sooyeon Lee Johnston closed out her distinguished days at Arizona Public Media with wins in Arts/Entertainment Program Feature, Arts/Entertainment Program Special and Magazine Program Feature. Luis Carrion was honored in the Teen News Single Story category for his "Youth Farming" segment and in Historical Culture for a piece on a Native American filmmaker; and Thomas Kleespie won for Southwestern Gems in the Documentary—Cultural category.
Jeanie Bergen and Mitch Riley (he may have more of these statues than anyone in town) combined for four awards under the Tucson 12 banner; Will Holst, who might be right with Riley in number of wins, helped UAnews.org receive two Emmys, while Dave Sitton was honored for his play-by-play work on UA men's basketball games.
Popular weekend news anchor Rebecca Taylor will say goodbye to NBC affiliate KVOA Channel 4 at the end of the month.
"KVOA offered me a very nice raise and renewal package to stay on as weekend anchor/lead reporter, but after three great years with the station, I've decided to move on," said Taylor via e-mail. "I have some exciting opportunities in the works, which I can't discuss right now, but when the time is right, I'll be excited to share the news with everyone."
For Taylor, this brings her second Tucson stint to an end. She worked briefly for KMSB Channel 11 before accepting a reporter position in Phoenix. From there, she was hired for KVOA's morning show, but later transitioned to the weekend news desk.
Taylor says she was not included in KVOA's mandate to transition reporters into multimedia journalists (MMJs)—with reporters required to record the video for and edit their own stories.
"Rebecca has done a great job for us for the last three years. We are disappointed she is leaving KVOA. We wish Rebecca nothing but success in future endeavors," said Kathleen Choal, KVOA's station manager and news director, via email.