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'THE ARIZONAN' MAKES ITS DEBUT

Local screen-print and graphics business-owner Todd Clodfelter cranked out about 20,000 copies of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution to distribute throughout town. The plan was initially tied to a political campaign, but when that unraveled, he tracked down sponsors so he could hand out copies in school settings and at community events.

When that project concluded, it left a bit of a void—until further prompting led to the birth of The Arizonan, which hit the streets for the first time in January.

"People asked what we were going to do next," said Clodfelter, who acts as publisher. "This fell into place—let's pick up the ball and put some news stories out that are pertinent specifically to Arizona. ... We want to give an opportunity for people who may not be heard to be heard."

It's hard not to note the publication's conservative leanings. Indeed, Clodfelter and other The Arizonan contributors have participated in conservative movements, but he's hoping not to be pigeonholed.

"We'd like to be considered fair and honest journalists, but people have already outlined us in that regard," Clodfelter said. "We'd like to be up the middle and fair to both sides. We will point out that people behind the newspaper have a bit more of a conservative bent in our philosophy ... but we don't want to be represented as an attachment to the GOP or an extension of the Tea Party, or anything like that. We're local people."

The first issue, which hit newsstands earlier this month, has 12 pages. Story topics range from redistricting, to an analysis of Dr. Richard Carmona's Senate run, to a pro-and-con piece on the proposed Rosemont Copper project. Clodfelter says the February issue, which he hopes to expand to 16 or 24 pages, will incorporate a number of historical features related to the state's centennial.

Clodfelter hopes potential advertisers will see value in his product.

"There are a lot of advertisers looking for an avenue that maybe is not the (Arizona) Daily Star and is a little more up the middle," said Clodfelter. "A lot of the materials in the Tucson Weekly, a lot of families don't want sitting on the dining-room table, especially ... the stuff on the back pages. So it's an opportunity for alternative advertising in the area. We're trying to keep our prices reasonable, and we have a website (thearizonan.com) to accommodate the newspaper. Even though it's a monthly magazine, there will be some daily posts from some of the writers."


KHYT AMONG BIG WINNERS IN FALL RADIO RATINGS

The usual names—KIIM FM 99.5, KMXZ FM 94.9, aka MIXfm, and KRQQ FM 93.7—took the top three spots in the fall 2011 Arbitron ratings, but fourth was occupied by an unfamiliar participant: Cumulus-owned KHYT 107.5 FM delivered a 4.5 share among listeners 12 and older.

KHYT's classic-hits format has trended well for much of the past year. It topped out at 4.9 in the spring, and the fall number showed a rebound from a 3.8 rating in the summer book. But the overall fourth-place finish may have much to do with meandering numbers from other stations in the market.

For instance, classic rocker KLPX FM 96.1—which appeared to have recovered from an abysmal ratings slide a couple of years ago that led to consideration of abandoning the format—is enduring tough sledding again. The Lotus-owned station has charted at 3.7, 4.2 and 3.7 in its last three books. The fall numbers put it eighth in the market, not exactly where management wants 100,000-watt signals to be.

It was also a tough book for Lotus' top ratings-getter, Spanish-music format KCMT FM 102.1. It finished fifth with a 4.4 share, just behind KHYT, but still tops among Spanish-language formats in the market. Meanwhile, Clear Channel-owned rhythmic KOHT FM 98.3 slotted sixth with a 4.2 share. Lotus' alternative format, KFMA FM 92.1/101.3, placed seventh with a 3.9 share.

KNST AM 790, as usual, was the market's top-rated AM signal. The news/talker checked in with a 3.6 share, good for ninth. Also good for KNST, its syndicated partner at 97.1 on the FM dial churned out a 3.2 share, finishing just outside the top 10 and a tenth of a point behind Journal-owned KTGV FM 106.3. The Groove does seem to be generating slightly better numbers since its minor format transition from Mega a few months ago.

But Journal can't be terribly pleased about the success of KNST's move to the FM band, and the solid numbers it still generated on AM. Meanwhile, news/talk rival KQTH FM 104.1, aka The Truth, managed just a 2.8 share.

Among stations with recent format changes, KMIY FM 92.9 delivered a 3.1 number, not dissimilar to the ratings of its predecessor, The Mountain. Clear Channel's signal at 1450 AM, which briefly dabbled with comedy but is now Spanish-language music, registered a zero share.


LEE RELEASES FIRST-QUARTER EARNINGS

Lee Enterprises, the parent company of the Arizona Daily Star, reported further losses in print and advertising revenue for its first quarter, which wrapped in December.

Lee took in $142.5 million in print and digital advertising, down 6.1 percent from the same period a year ago. The biggest declines occurred in real estate ads, down 17.9 percent, and other classified ads, which slipped 15.2 percent. However, digital advertising improved by 10.4 percent, to $16.2 million. Nearly 22 million unique visitors accessed the company's websites, mobile and tablet outlets.

Lee's operating expenses decreased by 5 percent, with compensation down 5.7 percent. The average number of full-time-equivalent employees decreased by 7.2 percent.

Lee stock topped the dollar threshold for the first time in months on Monday. Jan. 23. Lee has been in danger of New York Stock Exchange delisting due to its inability to stay higher than $1 per share.

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