Media Watch


A new operations manager has descended upon the Journal Broadcast Group's four Tucson stations--94.9 Mix FM, 104.1 The Point, 106.3/104.9 Mega Oldies, and sports-talk ESPN station 1490 The Fan.

The one man overseeing all that diverse programming is Greg Dunkin, previously the ops manager for Emmis Communications in Indianapolis. Before that, he was program director at KYSR-FM in Los Angeles and WWMX-FM in Baltimore, and assistant program director at WNSR-FM in New York in the late 1980s.

"Operations manager" doesn't exactly mean Dunkin surgically removes bad songs from his stations' rotations, but that could be part of the job, which in simpler days was called "program director."

Asked to explain his duties as he was about to celebrate his 30th day of survival in Tucson, Dunkin said, "Years ago, the program director just made sure the weekend schedule was taken care of, and you talked to the record folks and did your play-list every week. Now it's more of an executive position.

"More so than ever before, operations managers are held more and more responsible for generating revenue for the companies they work for," he said. That means helping to devise special promotions, among other things. Day in and day out, Dunkin not only meets with members of the air staff and calls a music meeting, but also hunkers down with the sales and marketing staffs.

Despite his experience with music formats involving various flavors of rock and adult contemporary, Dunkin is encountering something new in Mega Oldies' and the Fan's talk formats.

"There's a big learning curve for me here," Dunkin admitted, "but from format to format, the fundamentals are pretty much the same--working with clocks and the personalities."

Dunkin has an old friend who's now a competitor in Tucson--Tim Richards, program director of Clear Channel's 92.9 The Mountain. Richards describes Dunkin as a well-respected programmer and a strategic thinker.

"He's a fair, level-headed human being with a great heart," said Richards, "and being a great programmer starts with being a great person."

Dunkin said he isn't plotting any immediate format changes, but he implied that his stations' formats are not set for all eternity.

"When you come to a new city," he said, "you really need to sit back and get to know the market, your stations and your competition, and have a real good understanding of your environment before you can start assessing in any true light what you might want to do in the future."

Right now, the present is enough of a challenge for Dunkin. He admitted that the people at his stations have already nicknamed him Dory, after the Finding Nemo fish with short-term memory loss.

"I'm so overwhelmed; I'm asking the same questions over and over again," he said. "Hopefully, I haven't made any critical errors in the first month."

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