Media Watch

KGUN adds Pat Parris to morning lineup

As a medium market in television news, it's not uncommon to see talent use Tucson as a stepping-stone to bigger opportunities. Pat Parris is doing just the opposite.

Parris' return to Tucson is a homecoming. A long-time studio anchor for Fox Sports Midwest in St. Louis (TV market No. 21), where he was part of the Cardinals and Blues television broadcast teams, Parris spent many of his formative years in Tucson (TV market No. 70), which played a major role in his ultimate career path. His father, Jack Parris, was GM at KGUN and hired news anchor Guy Atchley.

As a result of the family connection, Parris spent plenty of time in and around KGUN during his high school days at Sabino. He also attended the UA briefly before completing his journalism degree at Drake.

Parris brings a personal style, quick wit and excellent sense of humor to the position—the latter likely necessary after dealing with years of Blues NHL playoff flameouts and the painful, unacceptable prospect the Cardinals might be playing second fiddle to the despised Cubs in the National League Central for the foreseeable future.

Parris will team with Samantha Cortese, April Madison and Allen Kath on Good Morning Tucson. He starts the first week of May, just in time for sweeps and to get accustomed to the fancy upgrades of the station's news studio.

American Warrior Radio expands platforms

Across the hall (or technically upstairs) on the Scripps Tucson radio side, Ben Buehler-Garcia is doing everything he can to increase the viability and reach of his weekend show, American Warrior.

Buehler-Garcia is a relative newcomer to radio. He picked up the reins of the military focused program after the death of Dave Sitton in August 2013, and has learned his share of on-the-fly lessons in regards to the current state of the radio model and his role in it.

"When I first took over...I didn't know anything about doing a radio show," said Buehler-Garcia via email. "All I was sure of was these messages were important and they needed to continue to be disseminated. But I knew what I didn't know. So, I asked people who did know."

Buehler-Garcia says he incorporated three takeaways from those conversations. The first: find a niche and own it.

"I feel proud that, given the quality of guests/topics we have addressed on American Warrior, we are well on the way to the first goal," Buehler-Garcia said.

The second and third areas dealt with the business side of the show, an area that has become a significant challenge.

"When one is tied to a single radio broadcast signal, the message is not scalable. One has to find other venues in order to reach a broader audience," Buehler-Garcia said. "Related to (that point), it is awfully hard to make any money with a weekend show.

"Internet-streaming radio did part of the job, but I found it increasingly constricting and I was frustrated about my inability to directly manage release of the content and track the listener data. My most recent experience with the outmoded Arbitron ratings (an archaic ratings system that in this market still requires a pencil-to-paper diary structure) pushed me over the edge. I knew people were listening, KQTH knows people are listening—I even got a listener call from Saudi Arabia to talk with a guest! Going into the third year of the show, with (in my opinion) increasingly interesting content, it was time to branch out."

As a result, Buehler-Garcia has made the program available on additional digital platforms. American Warrior is now accessible on Stitcher, a radio on-demand site accessible via computer; the program is also available on the roku streaming device under the NoWhere Cast app.

"I know I am a 'Johnny come lately' to all this 'future of radio' stuff, but I am excited nonetheless about the broader horizons that are now opening up to telling the stories of our men and women in the military and those who support them," Buehler-Garcia said. "Lord knows, with what is going on in the world today, average citizens need to be connecting with the issues facing those who protect us and our ideals."

For those interested in listening to the program in its traditional radio timeslot, American Warrior airs Sundays from noon-1 p.m. on KQTH FM 104.1.