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Remembering Dave Sitton

SITTON WAS PILLAR IN TUCSON MEDIA, COUNTLESS OTHER ENDEAVORS

If you wanted the definition of community involvement, you had to look no further than Dave Sitton.

From a media standpoint, there are figures in every town who take on almost iconic status. In Tucson, you'd have to put Sitton on that list. But pigeonholing him as a media star doesn't do justice to his immense list of accomplishments.

Sitton, who died of a heart attack Sunday night, was the television voice of UA men's basketball from 1990 to 2012, when the university's involvement with the Pac-12 Network led to changes in the play-by-play broadcast arrangement. He was paired with the likes of former men's basketball coach Bruce Larsen and former UA players Bob Elliott and Corey Williams. He was unapologetically an Arizona fan and an ambassador for the school.

Arizona's club rugby team is a known commodity nationally because of Sitton's influence as coach and tireless advocacy as a promoter of the sport. He was looking forward to its inclusion in the Olympics, and had hopes of broadcasting the event for NBC.

Sitton died just hours after his weekend talk shows on KQTH 104.1 FM, where he would spend three hours expounding on subjects that were especially important to him, such as the contributions of our servicemen, the issues facing males age 18 to 24, and the struggles people face as they battle cancer.

Sitton was a cancer survivor, and regularly shared that triumph with listeners, friends and strangers. He was a man of values, and he had no problem sharing his code with anyone willing to listen. His failed bid for Congress is mentioned sometimes, but it was barely a blip in the arc of his life when compared to the countless ways he contributed to the community. Even if he couldn't be of assistance in Washington, he always strived to make Tucson a better place.

Sitton was a member of the Tucson Conquistadores and the go-to guy to emcee fundraisers, where he helped raise immense amounts of money for causes in the Old Pueblo.

Born and raised in Southern California, Sitton moved to Tucson in the early 1970s to try his hand at UA baseball. Injuries sidetracked those aspirations, but clearly didn't slow him down.

Tucson was Sitton's home, and his impact on the city is impossible to measure.

BRODE RETURNS TO KVOA WEATHER TEAM

KVOA Channel 4 has officially hired Matt Brode as its new chief meteorologist. Brode returned to KVOA in May in a consulting capacity after the station parted ways with weatherman Rob Guarino.

Brode worked the morning and midday slot at the station from 2006 until 2010, when he accepted a position with the CBS affiliate in Portland, Ore. Brode, a UA graduate, also had broadcast stints in Duluth, Minn., and West Palm Beach, Fla.

JOURNAL HIRES PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Bill White has joined the Journal Broadcast Group as program director for political talker KQTH FM 104.1 and sports talk KFFN AM 1490.

He brings impressive credentials to the position. White spent the two years prior to his Tucson appointment at talk station WGN in Chicago. Other résumé highlights include stopovers in Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Charlotte, N.C.

FINLEY LEAVES STAR FOR CHICAGO

One of the Finley twins, Ryan, remains in town as sports editor of the Arizona Daily Star. But Patrick, a former UA football beat writer, is off to Chicago, where his wife has accepted a position with the Chicago Tribune.

"Journalism is the best job in the world. We're paid to uncover and to enlighten, to see and to tell," Finley said in a Star story announcing his departure. "The co-workers I'm leaving are the best in town, in any medium, at doing just that. I'll miss them dearly."

Daniel Berk has already transitioned to Finley's football beat.

SLONE CELEBRATES 50 YEARS IN TUCSON

A while back, longtime local radio genius Jim Slone included me on his bulk email list. As a result, I receive my share of reminisces from someone who possesses a hands-on recollection of what the business was like in a more golden era.

Over the weekend, his email included an ad that ran in the Arizona Daily Star 50 years ago announcing the launch of a new radio station, KHOS 940 AM. The switch was flipped on Aug. 10, 1963, and it marked the start of Slone's storied radio run in Tucson.

He was smart about how he got in, and knew exactly when to get out. Slone sold his cluster of stations to Citadel Broadcasting a little more than 10 years ago for somewhere in the neighborhood of $63 million.

Citadel went belly up almost two years ago. The cluster, which includes top-rated country station KIIM FM 99.5, is now operated by Cumulus, the cookie-cutter radio operator out of Atlanta.

It's probably safe to say that 50 years from now, no one will be reminiscing about the glory days of terrestrial radio in 2013.

CHANGES FOR KCUB'S UA PRE- AND POSTGAME SHOWS

For the last nine years, Brad Allis and I have participated in pre- and postgame broadcasts for UA football and men's basketball. That relationship was severed by UA flagship station KCUB 1290 AM last week.

Rob Lantz will remain on the show, which will be co-hosted by Kevin Woodman and Glenn Howell. Woodman co-hosts the weekday afternoon talk show In the House with Lantz from 3 to 6 p.m. Howell is a former UA football player who briefly handled sideline reporter duties for Wildcat football television broadcasts.

I wrote a much longer piece about the ouster for The Range, the Tucson Weekly's Internet presence at tucsonweekly.com. It's available under the headline "Changes made to Wildcat Radio Sports Coverage."

More by John Schuster

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