Tucson Newspapers and Lee Enterprises, which operate the Arizona Daily Star, have sorta kinda promoted John Humenik and Bobbie Jo Buel.
Humenik, who had been publisher and editor at the Star since 2005, is now president and publisher. In his new position, he'll oversee sales, marketing, production, circulation, human resources and finance operations. That sounds a lot like his old responsibilities.
Humenik retains his role as publisher team leader for Lee newspapers in Flagstaff and Lihue, Hawaii.
Buel is now the editor of the Star, which is a promotion from executive editor. She has spent 31 years with the newspaper.
The moves follow the surprising departure in November of Mike Jameson as the CEO of Tucson Newspapers—the business arm of the Star which is owned by Lee and Gannett.
Tucson 12, the city-funded television entity that covers local government meetings and produces other city-related original content, could learn what its future will be when the City Council meets to discuss budget issues in January.
The organization hopes a proposed consolidation in the Access Tucson building downtown will help keep the operation afloat while limiting major personnel layoffs.
"That has a number of potential benefits and budget savings between the two organizations: not having to have two facilities (and) two sets of studios; and the 124 E. Broadway (Blvd.) building already has the connectivity to Cox (Cable) that would be needed to keep Channel 12 broadcasting," said Tucson 12 interim information-technology director Gage Andrews. "I've been in discussions with Access Tucson and the Channel 12 staff, preparing budgets and (examining) what would be required to do this, taking a look at the facility. ... We've spent the last two months or so trying to make this a feasible prospect: Is that something the city could reasonably do and keep all the stations on the air?"
While the idea of sharing space with Access Tucson has been on the table for a while, it became the primary option when UA-operated Arizona Public Media bowed out of a proposed funding-assistance plan. If a location merger with Access Tucson could take place, Andrews said, that could go a long way toward trimming rental and support overhead that teeters around a quarter-million dollars annually.
Andrews is hopeful that if the location-merger plan gets City Council approval, further cuts in terms of personnel and programming would be minimal.
"It takes a certain number of staff members to put on X numbers of hours of programming," Andrews said. "Beyond a certain point, it becomes difficult to put on all the new shows on a regular basis ... It's really hard to forecast how many people would still be available. ... A pessimistic forecast would be cutting the staff to 8 or 8 1/2 (from the 9 1/2 full-time-equivalent employees now with Tucson 12), and even funding less staff than that, you could keep Channel 12 on the air.
"There would be resources to continue the programming and continue broadcasting mayor and council (meetings). There would be the ability to keep the Spanish-language programming. All of those good things would persevere. There is not a significant synergy between Tucson 12 and Access Tucson in terms of staffing, because of their different missions, but there definitely is synergism in terms of the occupancy/support costs among the organizations that run probably around $200,000 or slightly higher."
Andrews says the city manager is expected to put forth the Tucson 12 proposal, along with other budget recommendations, at some point in January.
Ever the patient, good soldier, Rob Lantz's perseverance has finally paid off.
After eight years of working both behind the scenes and in an on-air capacity as part of In the House—the local sports-talk radio show hosted by Glenn Parker and Kevin Woodman—and as co-host of UA football and men's basketball pregame and postgame shows with me, John Schuster, Lantz was named the program director of KCUB AM 1290, the flagship radio station for UA athletics.
"Rob defines dedication," said Citadel Tucson general manager Ken Kowalcek via e-mail. "Here's a guy who has been behind the scenes, knows the players and understands better than anyone the ins and outs of that station."
I've had the privilege of working with Lantz in a number of capacities, and there is no question he will embrace the prospect of enhancing the station's potential.
"I'm extremely thrilled and excited to get the opportunity to take on this job," said Lantz via e-mail. "It's nice to know that after eight years at Citadel, they have the faith in a guy who has worked his way up from board op-ing to now running a station. Having done almost every conceivable job at 1290 AM, I feel that I have a strong grasp on what goes on with this station, its strengths and where we might have an opportunity to grow. I am looking forward to continuing to move 'The Source' in a positive direction and am excited about what we have in store for the station."
Meanwhile, KIIM FM 99.5 has welcomed Mike Rapp back into the fold. Rapp, who co-hosted morning shows at Citadel stations KHYT FM 107.5 and KCUB a few years ago, now chimes in with news updates on the Max, Shannon and Porkchop morning show. Rapp also handles Citadel Tucson public-affairs interviews.
"It's always great to add a professional with Mike's reputation to the team," said Kowalcek via e-mail. "He just makes the best morning show in Tucson that much better while providing the headlines listeners demand from a voice they have come to trust. It's great to have Mike back in the building again. He is a true professional."