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10/13 Communications Buys the Weekly

RECENT PURCHASES BOOST 10/13'S REACH

At the beginning of April, 10/13 Communications' media presence in Southern Arizona was limited to the Explorer, the long-operating publication that covers happenings northwest of Tucson along the Oro Valley corridor.

Its market penetration has since changed dramatically. The company last week announced a preliminary agreement to buy two significant media properties, covering more of Tucson and the surrounding region. Wick Communications is selling the Tucson Weekly to 10/13 along with its sister publication, Inside Tucson Business.

And earlier in the month, 10/13 bought Tucson West Publishing's niche newspapers Marana News, Foothills News, Desert Times and the accompanying websites.

Simply put, the addition of the five new publications under its banner gives 10/13 better advertising options. It can use a two-pronged approach—hyperlocal and regional—to enhance cash flow.

It's the same model 10/13 has used in three other markets: Phoenix, Houston and Dallas. In the Houston area, 10/13 owns 40 publications that focus content on specific parts of town, and through those publications it can pitch to advertisers the benefits of both localized and citywide coverage.

With this approach, 10/13 reasons, a salesperson can persuade a business in Marana that it should advertise in the Marana News or Oro Valley's Explorer or both to have a better chance at pinpointing its clientele. But it can also tell advertising agencies that 10/13 has an overall circulation that rivals the morning daily, so larger businesses can sell their products across the platform of publications.

This is why the Tucson Weekly is the plum of the new publishing cluster. Combine the Weekly's approximate circulation of 40,000 with its other acquisitions, and 10/13 has numbers that look competitive with the Arizona Daily Star.

The transition for Marana News, Foothills News and Desert Times, contentwise, has likely been pretty clean. Those publications were already focused mostly on human interest stories and other features-style coverage.

But the Tucson Weekly and Inside Tucson Business are different animals and, as a result, whatever content transition occurs may be more noticeable to readership. It's also safe to assume that the papers will take on a much different look. The Weekly and Inside Tucson Business will likely be presented through a template similar to other 10/13 publications, and become more graphically intensive.

Given its brand-name recognition, the Tucson Weekly figures to take the lead in content related to Tucson proper, and since it's already the area leader in arts and entertainment coverage, continuing in that direction seems logical. Should 10/13 decide to maintain the Weekly as a publication that also focuses heavily on politics, it's possible the new owners could attempt to balance the Weekly's liberal-leaning tendencies by making Inside Tucson Business more overtly conservative.

Any changes in direction should start to become noticeable by early May.

KATH ENDS LONG MIX MORNING-SHOW RUN

While the popular morning show Bobby Rich and the Morning Mix is named after its Arizona Hall of Fame broadcaster host, Bobby Rich isn't the longest-serving personality on 94.9 FM's drive-time product, even with a reign that has exceeded more than two decades.

That distinction belongs to Allen Kath. That is, it did until a change last week transitioned Kath to the company's television side exclusively. Kath, in addition to long ago becoming the standard for traffic reporting in this market, also possesses some of the best impromptu wit in electronic media. He was part of the Mix morning show for 21 years.

Already a fixture on KGUN Channel 9's Good Morning Tucson, Kath, or "Big Al" as he's known, will also have co-host responsibilities on KWBA Channel 58's hourlong Good Morning Extra, which airs weekdays from 7 to 8 a.m.

The locally produced hour, which is KWBA's second live foray into local news (it also produces a stand-alone newscast at 9 p.m.)—became available when KQTH 104.1 FM moved former morning host Jon Justice to middays. The Justice radio show was televised on KWBA weekday mornings from 7 to 9.

Bruce Daniels now handles morning traffic reports on the radio side.

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