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Media Watch 

KRQ dominates, KIIM takes ratings nose dive

There are two distinctly different sounds emanating from the two radio clusters that occupy portions of the Oracle corridor. On Roger Road, just behind the Big Lots, Cumulus Tucson is in damage control mode, attempting to explain away why lynchpin radio station KIIM 99.5 FM delivered its worst ratings book in at least a decade.

Meanwhile, at Fort Lowell and Oracle, where iheartmedia is located, the sound emanating from that corner is of construction to the parking lot and old Firestone. That's because nobody works in the vast iheartmedia building anymore. But if there were people there, they'd be ecstatic about KRQ 93.7 FM's winter ratings numbers.

KRQ's top-40 format resonated with listeners who filled out surveys. It was No. 1 in the market overall and in most of the key demographics and registered especially impressive numbers for the JohnJay and Rich morning show, the former Tucson-centric program that has broadcast out of Phoenix for many years.

KIIM was respectable overall. Its 12-plus ratings numbers (which is an accumulation of all listeners who filled out surveys) ranked third, but it was down in every important demographic. Furthermore, the morning show ranked sixth in the market. KIIM's morning numbers haven't been outside the top three in years.

What KIIM will tell ad agency reps is it's a glitch. One book does not make a trend. Perhaps certain demographics received much higher representation. And KIIM is probably right. The country music station has too many strong books to view this as the harbinger of something dramatic. But the spring numbers will become especially important because if those deliver poorly, the Cumulus flagship station will have to endure upwards of nine months of explaining listener deterioration since in Tucson the summer ratings period doesn't carry much value.

Scripps' Tucson legacy station, KMXG Mix 94.9 FM, delivered a strong performance in a number of important categories to go along with its No. 2 overall rating.

Other ratings winners included iheartmedia news/talk format KNST AM 790 and rhythmic CHR station KOHT 98.3 FM and Lotus' two Spanish language music formats. KOHT jumped to fifth overall in the market and saw its 12-plus listener numbers vault from a 3.9 to 5.5. KNST dominated news/talk and placed seventh overall among listeners 12-plus. KCMT 92.1 FM is still the leader among Spanish language stations, but Lotus also got nice numbers for its classic hits Spanish language format KTKT La Buena 94.3 FM and 990 AM. While overall numbers don't look impressive compared to other stations, showing up with a 1.4 overall rating in the first book since a format switch from Spanish language sports is a good sign.

By comparison, those numbers are better than the only iheartmedia station that didn't do well: country music format KYWD 97.1 FM.

While KNST had impressive news/talk numbers, Scripps owned KQTH 104.1 FM got hammered. More people are listening to Garret Lewis than KQTH's news wheel, and lots more people are listening to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity instead of local host Jon Justice and Dave Ramsey's syndicated financial program from noon-2. Alternative station KFMA 102.1 FM had a poor book as well, yet as an indication that maybe this whole archaic diary ratings system needs some serious updating, still somehow managed to draw 14,000 people to its KFMA music festival at Kino Park two weeks ago.

Don't delete the tweets

Ah, PointGuardU.

For those of you familiar with the battles among the sports websites that cover UA athletics, it's sort of like the journalistic equivalent of waiting for a volcano to erupt. Usually, pointguardu.com is at the center of the disruption.

There are a bunch of sites that cover UA sports, and those sites spend an inordinate amount of time on football and basketball recruiting, because for whatever reason football and basketball recruiting is the equivalent of metaphorical crack, meth and heroin to fans who are into this stuff.

Under that scenario, pointguardu is sort of the dealer on the corner making sure he has the stuff for you before anyone else, even if he doesn't. But have no fear, the dealer will provide, and provide, and provide, to keep you coming back for more.

The concept of pointguardu as a bastion of journalism standards has never been broached. There's a good and a bad to that. For its fans, many who are loyal and staunch defenders of the site, the good is it often gets information first, and gets it right. Fans don't care how they get the information, just that they get information, and that's what PGU provides.

Among the lack of journalistic standards part: even if it isn't first and another source tweets a breaking news story, pointguardu will gladly retweet the information a couple minutes later without attribution. PGU is a site for fans that provides information, but it long since tossed aside the banner of pretending it had traditional journalistic credibility. It recognizes that journalistic credibility is a buzz phrase only thrown around by journalists.

In this case, if you're an Arizona fan/recruiting addict, you don't much care about the methods. You care about information. And you like the information that PGU provides.

Anyway, last week pointguardu broke a story that Drexel transfer Damion Lee was a shoe-in to choose Arizona over Louisville.

Well, that didn't happen. So how did pointguardu respond? By deleting a bunch of tweets related to their proclamation of Lee's impending arrival in Tucson. Not surprisingly, folks took notice, and the online eruption of attacks and defense went into full magma mode.

Perhaps another approach might have been better.

Such as: "We screwed up and got it wrong. A college kid changed his mind. We were confident in the information when we delivered it, but situations changed and we got it wrong. We apologize."

Sure, that's longer than 140 characters, so they probably would have just deleted that too.

And you'll take some heat, but it's not like you're Rolling Stone.

Here's the deal. Everybody gets stuff wrong. It sucks, but it happens. When it does, say you got it wrong. Besides, you got something wrong in regards to a college kid in his early 20s. It's amazing that doesn't happen more often in the loonfest world of recruiting.

Attempting futile damage control just made the situation worse.

We know pointguardu isn't going to set the bar for high standards.

But maybe there's still a baby step learning experience to be had in this instance.

Like: don't delete the tweets.

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