Media Watch

Gannett Rolls Out Layoffs Nationwide

By the time you read this, chances are Gannett--the owner of the Tucson Citizen and a partner in Tucson Newspapers with Lee Enterprises--has handed out pink slips to some local employees.

Citizen employees were expecting the layoffs--part of a nationwide 10 percent cutback at Gannett--to be announced on Wednesday, Dec. 3; however, by the time the Weekly went to press on Tuesday, Dec. 2, other Gannett papers had already started announcing their layoffs.

Check the TW blog and next week's Media Watch for updates.


Clear Channel-owned Top 40 radio station KRQQ FM 93.7 has added Ryan Seacrest to its weekday lineup. The syndicated program runs from noon to 3 p.m.

"I think the main thing is the quality and caliber of entertainment he brings to the table," said Clear Channel Tucson operations manager Tim Richards. "Whatever is going on in pop culture, he is in the middle of it."

The move limits the on-air time of Chris P, now on the air from 10 a.m. to noon and 3 to 6 p.m. instead of eight hours straight. Beyond that, the addition allows the station to promote a long-running feud between morning on-air talents Johnjay and Rich and Seacrest.

"There's definitely been a quasi-rivalry between Ryan Seacrest and Johnjay and Rich that has been played out over the air on KRQ, especially as Seacrest's star has begun to rise," Richards said.

"It started probably 10 years ago when Johnjay was a morning guy in Houston, and Ryan was a personality in Los Angeles," Richards continued. "They both had a chance to host the Radio Music Awards. Ryan Seacrest kicked butt, and Johnjay wore a suit his dad told him to wear, and it didn't look hip. The rivalry started there, and it's ensued due to the fact that Seacrest's star has risen since that day, and on some level, it's bothered Johnjay that he has become so popular."

In Tucson, Seacrest's success is uncertain; after all, the city has shunned major syndicated morning show fare with frequency, from Mark and Brian to Mancow to Opie and Anthony.

While JohnJay and Rich are now syndicated, they have a direct connection to Tucson, even if the show has been broadcast from Phoenix for the last year or so.

"We were concerned at first when Johnjay and Rich were syndicated," Richards said. "We were concerned Tucson wouldn't embrace and support the guys in their growth. We found the complete opposite. Johnjay and Rich ratings soared to new heights, largely because they had a greater national footprint and ... a greater caliber of interviews, greater prizes, things like that.

"... Ratings will be the determining factor on how the (Seacrest) show does and whether we keep it or not. My expectations are it will do pretty well."