RIVERS RETURNS TO TUCSON, LANDS AT KXCI
She may not yet know all of the details of her new position, but the specifics aren't all that important to Cathy Rivers, who looks forward to again assisting KXCI FM 91.3 in any way possible.
The longtime Tucson resident and regular fixture within the Old Pueblo music community will bring her vast musical knowledge to The Home Stretch, the station's afternoon-drive program (from 3 to 6 p.m.). She'll also be instrumental behind the scenes at the community radio station.
Her return to KXCI ties in perfectly with her return to Tucson after an absence of nearly two years. Her husband, a manager at Fourth Avenue's Plush nightclub, was given the responsibility of opening a Plush in St. Louis.
"I wanted to be with my husband, and was excited about the new Plush, so we decided to embark on the adventure. We agreed to be here until the club opened. The club is open, so my part is done, and I'm heading back to Tucson to take the KXCI job," Rivers said by phone while making her way back West.
Jennie Grabel's departure from The Home Stretch (see "Life After Radio Is a Project of Civility for Grabel," April 26) was a case of perfect timing for Rivers, who had occupied that position and the station's volunteer-coordinator slot prior to the St. Louis move.
"I had only been there (at KXCI) barely two years, so I was really bummed to have to leave," Rivers said. She added that after Grabel left, KXCI general manager Randy Peterson posted the job description "as a Jack and Jill of all trades, so I think I'll be doing a little of everything, which I'm excited about. I'll be able to utilize all different kinds of ideas and experiences I've had."
Rivers admits to warming up to St. Louis once she discovered what it had to offer.
"My (previous) sense of Missouri was 'Dueling Banjos,' so I have to admit I was a little nervous," Rivers said, "but I absolutely love St. Louis. The architecture is stunning. They have Forest Park, which is bigger than Central Park, and everything in it is free. The art museum, the history museum ... the zoo is completely free. So if I felt like it, I could just walk Forest Park and then stop into an art museum and take in a Degas. That part of St. Louis, I really, really loved. There is a bit of a bittersweet transition coming back to Tucson. I miss Tucson greatly, but really enjoyed St. Louis."
Rivers has a strong skill set for success in community radio. She knows the radio business through a number of DJ endeavors in a corporate setting, and is familiar to many local listeners. She possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of a variety of musical formats and performers, a must for a station with KXCI's approach. And she brings the benefit of a different market's perspective after assisting with a successful community-radio endeavor in St. Louis.
"I got to see some of the differences they have there when compared to KXCI," Rivers said. "Part of that is more outreach—a sense of cheerleading. The St. Louis community radio station, KDHX (FM 88.1), does a great job of getting the vast community involved in their radio station, no matter what your music interests are. I think reaching and extending out well beyond just downtown is an important way to go. I don't know of a lot of people on the northwest side who know who we are.
"We have a small number of employees at KXCI. KDHX has a lot more employees, and they're able to do more community events because they've got the manpower, and I think it's about getting more volunteers involved at KXCI. I think that whole ... movement is moving forward, and I'm excited to jump in."
When Rivers serves as community radio's musical ambassador on weekday afternoons, Tucsonans can expect some of her St. Louis experiences to work their way into the broadcasts.
"I'm actually really excited to bring back some St. Louis bands," Rivers said. "I can't wait to do my St. Louis show in Tucson. The thing that's so precious to me about KXCI: I like to look at it as a museum of music. Where else are you going to find this wealth and a background of knowledge to tap into?"
KXCI'S 'BROOG' COMES TO AN END
There was a brief point in the early days of the John Schuster Media Watch era when it seemed like getting mentioned in this column was the kiss of death: Within the first year, three people featured in Media Watch were out of jobs less than two weeks later.
Since then, I've lost the magic touch, which I guess is a good thing. Nonetheless, after a 16-year stint on KXCI, John Paul Marchand is ending his prog-rock run just three months after being featured in Media Watch.
Coincidence? Well, uh, yeah. Marchand, who goes by the moniker Cozmik Jon on Tempest Broog, his midnight-to-2 a.m. program early Monday morning, ended his affiliation with the show on Memorial Day weekend.
"After 16 Earth years of broadcasting the best and most creative rock music ... old, new and local too, TBR is fading back and within, that green, sacred, and primordial STUFF that is THE BROOG, that tempest that conjures within, the heart of inspiration and creativity itself," Marchand posted on his Facebook page.
The parting is amicable: Marchand is moving to Portland, Ore.
It is believed Tempest Broog had the third- or fourth-longest single-host run on KXCI. The station hasn't yet announced how it will fill the time slot.