Media Watch


NBC affiliate KVOA Channel 4 has moved Lorraine Rivera from the morning anchor desk and placed her in the field as a general-assignment reporter.

"Lorraine continues to be an asset to News 4 and is now reporting for us full-time," said KVOA news director Cathie Batbie-Loucks via e-mail. "She is looking forward to being able to spend more time with her family."

Hosting the morning show means arriving at the station in the 3 a.m. to 4 a.m. neighborhood, which means heading to bed early each evening. On the plus side, because the live portion of the newscast concludes at 7 a.m., the morning anchor can have some flexibility during the day—and can often avoid the general-assignment reporters' fate of lugging around a camera in 100-plus-degree heat as part of the one-person multimedia-journalist (MMJ) approach.

Rivera, who grew up in Douglas and graduated from the UA, has been with KVOA since interning there in 2004. She landed a reporter position with the organization in 2005 and was later promoted to anchor the weekend newscasts, and then the station's morning program, Tucson Today.

"I've visited dozens of schools and organizations throughout Southern Arizona—rarely turning down an invitation to speak/volunteer on behalf of my experiences as a homegrown girl from Douglas and as a journalist at KVOA," said Rivera via e-mail. "I did that even if it meant I did it on my own time and my own dime. I have been on the No. 1-rated morning show for the last 2 1/2 years. My reporting at the station has taken me to just about every nook and cranny of our viewing region. While on Tucson Today, I managed to do Spanish news for (KCMT FM) 102.1 La Caliente (per KVOA's request) and was an adjunct professor in the School of Journalism at the UA this past spring semester."

KVOA has begun the search for a replacement anchor.


KVOA sports director Ryan Recker is utilizing to host a series of podcasts—some of which involve sports topics, and others which showcase expanded interests.

"I want to be careful when I make a comparison like this, but somebody like Brian Williams, when he's on Jay Leno, they find out Brian Williams has a different personality, and that he's not just a news guy," Recker said. "Doing sports, we have a lot more leverage to be lighthearted, to be funny, but it's confined to the three or 3 1/2 minutes you get. Along with the couple guys I'm working with, this allows us to talk about and do different things—about entertainment, or have some sports debates that perhaps could not fit into a three-minute sportscast.

"I want to differentiate what I'm doing at KVOA from this. Naturally, there are sports topics that will mesh together, but I don't necessarily want to duplicate what I do at KVOA with what I'm doing here. I want to make them two separate properties."

He's doing the podcasting with KVOA's blessing.

"They've been assured this will take a backseat to anything that happens there," said Recker. "I want to give them the credit for allowing me to do something like this. Not everybody would allow their employees to do this, or have faith in letting them do this, and I want to thank them for the opportunity. KVOA is still my No. 1 priority. It is where all my work time will be going. This is all on my free time. KVOA and are first and foremost. This will not take away from my duties there. If anything, it will make me have more energy and become hungrier and more excited."

Recker is personally financing the podcast-driven website.

"It's more or less a passion project, not something I plan on getting rich off of," Recker said. "It's something I chose to do to expand myself, and challenge myself, in different facets of media, and one thing that's always fascinated me has been longer-form interviews. I've listened to a number of different podcasts around the country, and I like the format. It's uninterrupted; you can breathe and talk to the person. If you want to go 15 minutes, you can go 15 minutes. If you want to go a half-hour, you can go a half-hour. In this on-demand age, it gives people the chance to listen to it at their convenience.

"I had looked into getting something in the local radio scene, but I never saw anything that would fit, so I could do something similar to radio on the side, and this seemed to be the best option."


The Oprah void has motivated KOLD Channel 13 to embark on a 4 p.m. newscast beginning Sept. 12.

Instead of opting for a syndicated replacement, the local CBS affiliate believes it can make headway with the market's second foray into news at 4 p.m.

"We decided to take our fate into our own hands," said KOLD general manager Debbie Bush.

It is an interesting gamble. KVOA, the only provider of news at 4 p.m. in the market, has never been able to make significant ground in the ratings war, which was dominated by Oprah's syndicated juggernaut.

"Oprah is No. 1 in the time period," Bush said. "We really looked at what kind of viewers she has, and they do like news. That audience will be up for grabs come September."

To keep audiences around, KOLD hopes to implement a news approach that will separate it from KVOA's hour-long entry.

"We're going to do a hard newscast that moves quickly and is informative," Bush said. "Our format will not look anything like KVOA's."

KOLD is in the process of hiring five employees for the endeavor.