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JEANES IS KOLD'S NEW CHIEF METEOROLOGIST

KOLD Channel 13 has named a replacement for Chuck George, whose tumultuous tenure at the station came to an end over the summer. The Raycom-owned CBS affiliate has named Kevin Jeanes to the position. He starts in early January.

"I'm not trying to take anybody's place. I'm not trying to be him," Jeanes said, referring to his popular predecessor. "I'm just going to be myself. I'm a very happy person. I love doing what I do, and that's what I'm going to do. I know it's a great team there now."

As chief meteorologist, Jeanes will lead a group of weather personalities who have a great deal of expertise, and familiarity within the community. Erin Jordan and Aaron Pickering have been in the market for a number of years and bring credibility to their respective roles.

"They have many years' experience. Working with that team, I'm not concerned at all," Jeanes said. "Nobody likes change, and there will be some getting used to and adapting, but I'm really not too worried about that. Everything will work out great."

For Jeanes, things have worked out pretty well so far. He caught the weather bug early during his college days at Eastern Illinois University, where he graduated with a bachelor's in geography with an Earth science minor, and a bachelor's in communication studies with a minor in broadcast meteorology.

"While I was in school we had a PBS station partially affiliated with the school," Jeanes said. "We used the same technology and weather software that most of the major markets use, including KOLD. I got my experience starting when I was 18. After I graduated, I started in Richmond (Va.)" He was at WWBT TV for more than three years.

"We had a hurricane, a huge forest fire and an earthquake all in one week in Virginia," Jeanes said. "You get to experience new things in different areas, and I love to constantly learn things."

And now he's running the show in what many consider a local newsroom's most valuable department. And he's doing it on the top-rated station for local news.

"Tucson offers a variety of weather patterns that are different from the Midwest and East Coast," Jeanes said. "I see this as an amazing opportunity to further develop my meteorological skills while entering into a leadership position. It's an opportunity that couldn't be passed up. But there's also a social aspect to it, and getting outside and meeting and talking with people goes hand in hand with the job. Live shots, getting out to festivals, meeting the public: that's all fun to do."

KCUB 1290 SETS 'GROUNDBREAKING' MILESTONE

UA Wildcat flagship radio station KCUB 1290 AM certainly understood the importance of last week's Duel in the Desert between Arizona and ASU. It celebrated the bitter football rivalry by embarking on new ground: going live for all three hours of its scheduled three-hour pregame show.

That might seem confusing to the average radio listener. The average radio listener might think that most talk radio is conducted live, especially on the day leading up to a sporting event because, well, in pretty much every other radio market that does sports-talk and has a pregame component, the voices on the radio are coming to you live.

But upper management at Cumulus Tucson has endorsed a different approach this season. The first hour of the pregame shows is broadcast live. Then the first hour is replayed—not once, but twice. So the second hour and third hour have the same content as the first hour.

It's a rather fascinating, music-radio-style approach to the talk concept. Radio stations love to focus on something called TSL: time spent listening. That's the length of time an average radio listener tunes in a station at any given time. Generally, it correlates with the amount of time it takes to drive from one location to the next because most radio listening still occurs on the road.

But it doesn't take into account those who tune in more than once. Approaching talk radio from a music-radio mentality cheapens the experience and insults the listening audience.

Talk-radio listeners don't expect to hear the same thing they just heard. And if you have the radio on for an extended period, it's certainly a jolt to the senses to hear the same segment three times in three hours.

Fortunately for Wildcat listeners, KCUB veered from the format for the Arizona-ASU game. Because, clearly, that was an important game. In terms of live broadcast air time, it was apparently three times as important as any other Arizona football or men's basketball game this year.

More important than the UCLA football game, when Arizona was still in the midst of the Pac-12 South race. More important than Friday's NIT final at Madison Square Garden, where the fourth-ranked Wildcats took down sixth-ranked Duke.

And perhaps more important than any game remaining on the schedule for the rest of the year.

Operations manager Herb Crowe—he doubles as Max on the KIIM morning show—and Cumulus Tucson GM Ken Kowalcek have not returned messages asking them to explain their groundbreaking sports-talk philosophy. (It's groundbreaking in that pretty much nobody else in the genre has adopted it.)

Finding enough material to fill three hours of a pregame show during basketball season can be tough. But this isn't about the talent behind the microphone. This is about a conscious decision on the part of upper management to allow the product to come off as lazy, which it is.

Upper management could solve that problem, and make the product better, by splitting the three-hour show between two, two-person teams. It's not a money issue. The station spends more on talent now than it did when I was there alongside Brad Allis, so it can afford to add voices. By breaking the show into two blocks, it freshens the product. Even if there are segments dedicated to the same topic, that topic is addressed from different perspectives.

But that's clearly too old-school for KCUB. When you're as innovative as 1290, it's about creating your own path. In the station's eyes, nobody else apparently has the foresight to see that playing the same segment three times in three hours puts you on the cutting edge.

More by John Schuster

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