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Derechos Humanos' KQTH Boycott Gets Meager Results

Immigrant-rights group Coalición de Derechos Humanos has been at odds with talk-station KQTH FM 104.1 The Truth (see "Derechos Humanos, KQTH Host Do Battle," July 24) ever since Truth morning host Jon Justice began an effort to remove Derechos Humanos co-chair Isabel Garcia from her legal-defender position with Pima County.

Meanwhile, Derechos Humanos has countered with a boycott attempt to force sponsors to pull their ads from KQTH, which is part of the Journal Broadcast Group, which operates three other Tucson stations and television outlet KGUN Channel 9.

A post on the Derechos Humanos Web site dated July 25 read: "In the few days since beginning this campaign, many have stepped up to join this struggle, and we know that Journal Broadcast Group, which owns 104.1 FM, is paying attention! We have updated the list of sponsors to 104.1 FM--specifically those who have ads featured on the Jon Justice show. We invite you to contact these businesses to let them know that you are concerned about their support of hate radio, and encourage them to promote their businesses with media outlets that stand behind the principles of dignity and respect."

Derechos Humanos then went on to list sponsors it claimed "informed us of their intention to immediately withdraw their support of 104.1 FM," including Main Gate Square, Patio Pools and Spa, the Auto Body Shop, Advanced Recon, Aung Foot Health Clinics, Sol Cars and the Wildcat House.

"Many businesses were not aware that their 'package' deal with Journal Broadcasting Group meant advertising on 104.1 FM, and most were not aware of what they were supporting, and would not choose to support intolerance," the Derechos Humanos post said.

Well, that's close to accurate--but to date, the boycott hasn't hurt Journal financially, largely because none of the so-called "sponsors" were actually specific sponsors of 104.1 FM.

Journal brass took its typical no-comment-to-the-media stance.

"We don't talk about our business arrangements. They're just that. They're between our organization and them," said Journal spokesperson Jim Thomas.

However, there may have been some miscommunication inside Journal that opened the door for Derechos Humanos. It appears that overzealous salespeople included the businesses in an online directory that popped up on the KQTH Web site (the likely source for the Derechos Humanos campaign), even though some of these advertisers, like Main Gate Square, specifically did not want to be featured on 104.1.

"We advertise with Mega (KGMG FM 106.3), ESPN (KFFN AM 1490) and a little with (KMXZ FM 94.9) MIXfm," said Jane McCollum, general manager of the Marshall Foundation, which operates Main Gate Square. "As a result of my relationship with Journal, they, without my knowledge, chose to include me on a directory of businesses on The Truth. I was not aware of it. I received the first e-mail, and my attitude has always been that I don't want to advertise on politically motivated stations. One, it's bad for business, and two, it's the Marshall Foundation, and we are not allowed to be political by our very edict."

McCollum says the same rules apply regardless of political leaning--which means, for example, that Main Gate Square would also not advertise with left-leaning talker KJLL AM 1330.

"It wasn't appropriate, and I asked to be removed," McCollum said. "It's not that I support one position or the other. As a business, my personal viewpoint doesn't enter into how I buy advertising. I stay away from politics and advertising."

Meanwhile, the Auto Body Shop, the only sponsor on the Derechos Humanos list that ran advertisements that aired on KQTH, is still running those ads.

"To the best of my knowledge, I'm still paying the bills," said the Auto Body Shop owner Andy Ibarra, whose advertising comes as part of a Journal cluster package; he said he has no problem with his ads running on 104.1. "They (Derechos Humanos) called me once. I don't know what the whole scoop is. I was pressed for time and told them to call back. They never called back to explain a little bit more to me."

The business-directory feature is prominent on Journal's other three local radio Web sites--but is no longer visible on 104.1thetruth.com since the Derechos Humanos uproar.

The Web site business directory is largely a perk for advertisers. However, as of this column's press deadline, all of the sponsors listed by Derechos Humanos (whose leaders could not be reached for comment) still maintain their presence on other Journal stations.


SWEDLUND SAYS SAYONARA TO 'STAR'

Arizona Daily Star reporter Eric Swedlund has accepted a position with the Gabrielle Giffords campaign. Swedlund once covered the UA's involvement in space exploration, but was recently reassigned to the police beat. His last day at the Star is slated for Saturday, Aug. 16.


IMUS RETURNING TO TUCSON AIRWAVES IN SEPTEMBER

For nearly a decade, Don Imus was part of the foundation of KJLL AM 1330 The Jolt's lineup--but after his much-publicized vocal faux pas and the resulting backlash, 1330 AM was forced to find other options.

However, as Imus expands his syndication again, it's not surprising that KJLL has jumped aboard. They will air Imus live from 3 to 6 a.m., beginning on Sept. 2.

"We wanted to strengthen our lineup without interrupting or taking away from any of the programs that have worked so well for us in the past year and a half, while keeping in line with our live and local theme of programming when possible," said Jolt station manager Kimberley Kelly in a press release. Even though Imus never generated significant ratings for the station, he enjoyed a loyal fan base.

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