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Wick Hires Fitzpatrick to Enhance Web Presence

WICK HIRES FITZPATRICK TO ENHANCE WEB PRESENCE

Media outlets have recognized the increasing importance of an Internet presence for years, and two local organizations have made recent hires in an effort to bridge the value of content and distribution to the online community.

Sean Fitzpatrick joined Wick Communications as director of new media, replacing Paul Bucalo. While the position requires oversight of Wick's 30-some publications throughout the states, Fitzpatrick will tackle his responsibilities from the Tucson office.

"Basically, I was impressed with the eagerness Wick has to expand its online presence," said Fitzpatrick about his new relationship with the company that publishes, among other products, the Tucson Weekly. "The alternative weeklies and smaller community newspapers have an advantage over everyone else on the Web, including the Yahoos and Microsofts, because they have their local markets. You can get national news anywhere. Wick is a great organization built of small community newspapers, and that gives them a foothold in all of their communities, and a relationship with readers and advertisers no one else has.

"I think my role is to translate that relationship to an online environment, and that means creating interactive, useful products, and making it useful for people online."

Now 37, Fitzpatrick made his name as something of a wiz kid in the field of online information. He was instrumental in the launch of the Arizona Daily Star's StarNet, along with Dispatches, the experimental Web-based newspaper designed as a complementary cog to the Star.

He was directly involved in the successful launch of www.arizonarepublic.com . He served as director of content for mysantonio.com. While he was there, traffic doubled for the San Antonio Express-News and KENS television. He has also been serving as senior media strategist for Interface Guru, a consulting firm focused on usability and user-centric design. At Interface Guru, he has worked with Fortune 100 companies, national magazine clients and large nonprofits in maximizing return for their Web sites and strategies.

In accepting his role at Wick, Fitzpatrick resigned his position as Web coordinator for arizonaathletics.com, the official Web site of UA athletics. That site also doubled its traffic during Fitzpatrick's tenure.

"My role is understanding what our publishers need," Fitzpatrick said. "I'm more an interpreter and translator. The publishers, advertisers and readers say, 'These are the things we want to do.' My expertise is taking those goals and translating them into something that makes sense on the Web."

Fitzpatrick's departure from the UA opened the door for another Tucsonan who was on the cutting edge of understanding the potential of the Internet to connect with like-minded individuals internationally. Mike Lowery filled Fitzpatrick's vacancy, and he brings a fan's perspective to what's valuable in a Web-site environment. Lowery launched arizonafootballonline.com nearly a decade ago, and it became the first real cyberspace outlet for fans of Arizona athletics; it's now known as uasports.net. Lowery has had to disassociate himself with his online baby, but he looks forward to the potential of arizonaathletics.com.

"It's the official source for information about sports at the UA," Lowery said from Louisiana, where the hard-core football fan traveled to watch Arizona's loss to Louisiana State University. "There's no better place to possibly get info and access than at the source."

Arizonafootballonline's appeal took off through a message board that allowed football fans to discuss issues pertaining to the team. The hot topic often centered on recruiting. Because of NCAA regulations, Lowery won't be afforded those outlets at arizonaathletics.com, but he hopes to bring his knowledge as a fan to spearhead new functions.

"I'm able to bring a lot of those things," Lowery said. "The Internet is essentially a free-delivery thing. You're not limited to the number of pictures you can put up, as is the case with print magazines and things like that. You can provide more content for no more expense."

JUN GETS KOLD WEEKEND ANCHOR SLOT

In what was little more than a formality, Tucson CBS affiliate KOLD Channel 13 named Teresa Jun weekend anchor alongside Dan Marries. Jun had filled the chair since Kaushal Patel accepted an anchor position in Dallas. Jun has been with KOLD since January.

KFFN ADDS UA POSTGAME SHOW

KFFN AM 1490, an all-sports radio station, is capitalizing on the initial season excitement for UA football by adding a local post-game show. Whereas KCUB AM 1290 (an employer of mine) is required to carry a network post-game show that runs anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, KFFN has no such obligations. As a result, fans can chime in with their opinions immediately after the final gun.

"That's an advantage to it. It makes the most sense for us. We don't have the commitments where we have to do a 30-minute wrap-up, so why not just do it immediately after the game ends?" said Jody Oehler, who also hosts 1490's weekday sports offering, The Happy Hour, from 5 to 6 p.m. "It's going to be a lot of fun. There's a lot of excitement about this season, and people are going to want to talk about it. We're giving them that opportunity."

MANCOW ON THE OUTS?

The Mancow morning show experiment may be coming to an abrupt end at KJLL AM 1330 (The Jolt). Operations Manager Kimberly Lopez says a decision will be made public within the next couple of weeks, but Mancow has not been a favorite among the Jolt's small, but hard-core group of Imus in the Morning listeners. If the Jolt officially opts to put Imus back in his original station time slot, Mancow's presence in Tucson will have lasted all of six months.

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