Media Watch

Size Matters--And So Do Euphemisms--At The 'Citizen'

In last week's Media Watch, I reported the Tucson Citizen was planning a switch to a tabloid format. That was inaccurate. The broadsheet format will remain; it is the design within the current size that will undergo a major overhaul.

"We had talked about it, but it's just not possible for us to do," said Citizen Editor and Publisher Michael Chihak. "There are some aspects of the new Citizen that will be in what we're calling "magazine format" to avoid that euphemism of a tabloid. It's a format; it's not a style of journalism, at least for us. We already have the Thursday Calendar section that way, and there are other sections of the newspaper like that, too, but the basic news sections will remain the same.

"It's the same size as the (Arizona Daily) Star. It's printed on the same press as the Star, and the configuration of it in terms of the size (newsprint) we use is all the exact same as the Star."

The Citizen's anticipated new-look launch date remains the same: the end of March to early April. Expect a media promotion campaign to get underway at any moment.


The Tucson Advertising Federation conducted its 25th annual awards ceremony Feb. 18 at the Hilton El Conquistador. Basically, it was your typical awards get-together. Lots of people from the industry hung out in the lobby and drank a lot, then ate overvalued salmon and cheered when the company they represented was honored.

This was an event with a lot more video presentations than actual acceptance speeches, although there were a couple of notable exceptions.

Star cartoonist Dave Fitzsimmons was honored with the organization's first Golden Pen Award. In typical Fitz fashion, he was also the funniest person in the room.

"I spent the morning spray-painting likenesses of Muhammad on Clear Channel billboards all over town," he quipped.

Fitz credited his success and drive to "family, first and foremost. What inspires me ... is my dear wife, Anne."

Last year's Golden Mic Award winner, Patty Weiss, was on hand to introduce the 2006 recipients, the KRQQ FM 93.7 morning show team of Johnjay and Rich. She didn't need 12 seconds to make mention of her run for Congress.

Meanwhile, Johnjay and Rich landed the honor largely due to their participation in charitable endeavors such as the Children's Miracle Network and the Christmas Wish program.

"We do it all for the kids," Johnjay Van Es said.

"The kids in Arizona are really, really special, and the funds we raise get turned around within hours and stay in Arizona," Rich Berra added.

Other awards of note: Dave Sitton, of Clear Channel, garnered the 2006 Silver Medal, while photographer Steven Meckler was tabbed 2006 Advertising Professional of the Year.


Clear Channel has unveiled its newest format success in Tucson. La Preciosa replaces Spanish Top 40 station Que Suave at 97.1 on the FM dial.

The difference: La Preciosa tackles music over a three-decade window, whereas Que Suave was something of a Spanish language version of KRQQ.

"First of all, we don't make the hits; we play them," said Bob Feinman, Clear Channel Tucson Hispanic operations director. "We play them from those decades, and we play them across a wide variety of musical genres. We play six to eight kinds of music representing those decades. It's a product designed to evoke memories. It's a product designed to be enjoyed by people who are young contemporaries of the world today. The music library goes back to the '70s. There are 2,000-plus songs in that library. It's a pretty big library."

Tucson is the 16th market with a Clear Channel presence to embrace the La Preciosa name. Clear Channel credits Monterey, Calif., program director Alex Lucas as the format's brainchild. The Clear Channel Tucson press release claims the La Preciosa format vaulted the station to No. 1 in that market in its first Arbitron ratings book in 2003.

"Every station they've signed La Preciosa on had success in 25-54 and being a top three or four player (in the) 18-34 (demographic). It's just had a mass appeal," said Clear Channel Tucson Operations Manager Tim Richards. "Arbitron is actually working to provide a more consistent thread to how it rates the Hispanic market. In markets like Tucson--there are about 20 of them around the country that are really high in ethnic comp for Hispanics--this system is going to make sure there's (representation) not just with Hispanics, but also Spanish language and English language in the households, and that's going to make a big difference."

Feinman says that aside from ratings opportunities, it's a chance to build relationships within the community.

"What we've always wanted to do since we committed to doing something Spanish language was very simply grow the market," Feinman said. "We're not sitting here pounding our chest saying we're any better or worse than the other guy. We're different. The only way you can grow the market to serve the people who want to listen to Spanish language radio, and at the same time serve the potential advertisers that would like to talk to these consumers, is by adding variety and growing the market. With or without Arbitron, that's always been our aim today for our listeners and our advertisers."

The stick is the station is broadcast at only 3,000 watts, "but it has a pretty strong signal," Richards said. "It goes as far north as Oro Valley and as far south as Magdalena, Mexico, but the signal has some dead spots in Tucson because of some RF issues with Black Mountain."

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