Media Watch

Jostling at The Jolt

The Jolt hopes its ambitious new lineup will send shockwaves through Tucson's radio market.

Located at 1330 on the AM band, KJLL has drastically redesigned its approach in an effort to pull itself up from near the bottom of the radio-ratings heap.

"What we had had us coming in No. 22 out of 27 stations," said KJLL General Manager Jerry Misner. "I don't think we can do much worse."

The major changes in the Jolt's lineup occur in morning and evening drive time. Syndicated morning show stalwart Mancow will make his initial foray into the Tucson market from 5:30 to 10 a.m. Mancow has had strong success in a number of markets nationally, but might face an uphill battle given the history of radio in the Old Pueblo, especially on the AM band.

"My deal with Mancow has great rewards in it for him if he places in the top five in (the) 25-54 demographic," Misner said. "Two markets very similar in size to Tucson--Des Moines and Knoxville--in both those markets in men 18-34 and 18-49 and men 25-54, he is huge. He is just huge."

But Tucson has a history of being a city dominated by FM. KNST is the only AM station in the market with anything representing a real ratings track record.

"If you have something that people want to listen to, they'll find it, wherever it is," Misner said. "Having said that, you've got to nudge them a little bit. That's why we're spending $150,000 over the next year advertising this shit.

"Think of all the people who move here from the Midwest know who Mancow is, especially around campus. I think we'll get those guys right away. It's not going to take all of the FM audience away. It's not going to do that, but I do expect to get a chunk from it."

Glenn Beck will follow Mancow from 10 a.m. to noon, followed by Dr. Laura Schlessinger from noon to 3 p.m., John C. Scott from 3 to 5 p.m. and Liddy and Hill from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Rusty Humphries will occupy the 7 to 10 p.m. slot, and Phil Hendrie will be broadcast from 10 p.m. to midnight.

This is the initial foray into some semblance of syndication for Tom Liddy (G. Gordon's son) and Austin Hill, a duo that originates from KKNT in Phoenix.

"They're just delighted to be on the station," Misner said. "They'll originate their show frequently from our studios and even do remotes for us, so it will be almost like having a local show. They're conservative. It's a hipper kind of show. They talk not just about national. It's issue-oriented, but they talk about Arizona stuff too. They're funny. They do some shtick."

The lineup change brings an end to the Jolt's connection with the Imus name. Mancow will replace Imus in the Morning while Out West With Fred Imus and Nicole Cox, which occupied the 5 to 7 p.m. timeslot, gets the boot in favor of Liddy and Hill.

"Fred's gone. I have no idea where Fred is," Misner said. "Nicole is still with us, and she'll do news in the mornings."

Misner pitched a ludicrous 4 to 6 a.m. weekday time slot for Out West, but as expected, it was rejected.

"That was an offer that was made, but I really didn't expect that anyone would want to get up at 4 in the morning," Misner said.

It also puts to rest rumors that Ed Schultz would be added to the new lineup. Schultz is a syndicated progressive afternoon host whose closest affiliate is 1010 AM in Phoenix.

"I think the time has come to terminate boring talk radio in Tucson. That's what we're doing," Misner said. "We had to do something. We had to shake it up. I think it's a good shake."


Inside Track, the weekend political talk show hosted by Emil Franzi, has made the jump from the Jolt to KVOI-AM 690. The show will cover two-hour blocks on Saturdays and Sundays. Saturday's schedule is 1 to 3 p.m., co-hosted by Weekly columnist Tom Danehy. Franzi will go solo Sunday mornings from 7 to 9 a.m. until he finds a replacement for Mike Tully.

"Losing Mike Tully is a great loss to both the radio version of Inside Track and this Web site. But besides Tom Danehy and Dave Fitzsimmons, he's about the only liberal I know with a sense of humor around here," Franzi said on his Web site,

Franzi's four-hour time slot on the Jolt was trimmed recently.

"(They) technically canceled the contract," Franzi said of the Jolt's handling of the situation.

But Franzi doesn't seem too concerned, and he welcomes the opportunity to continue Inside Track on its fourth station. The program originated on KTUC during its local talk days, then moved to KTKT during its local talk days, before transferring to KJLL.

"What happened at KTUC was they had a format shift (1400 now plays oldies). What happened at KTKT is they had a format shift (990 is now Spanish-language sports)," Franzi said. "At the Jolt, I'm not sure what happened. If you figure out what their game plan is, let me know."

Inside Track focuses on local and national political issues with a mixture of callers and guests.

"Most of the time, we get pretty good guests," Franzi said. "Most of the time, we get interesting people."

Franzi feels the show will fit well with KVOI's weekday lineup.

"I like the battery of great radio hosts on 690 AM," Franzi wrote at "Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt are all secure enough in their beliefs and their information to welcome open debate with as many liberals and progressives as will have it."

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