Tom Zlaket lasted a mere 20 months as general manager of Clear Channel Tucson. Zlaket was informed of his ouster the night of Aug. 18. While Clear Channel was unavailable for comment, indications within the building seem to suggest the decision had more to do with morale than productivity. Suffice to say, Zlaket's micromanaging philosophy, a major departure from the management style of predecessor Debbie Wagner, was not terribly popular in certain portions of the sizable Clear Channel compound at Fort Lowell and Oracle roads.
As an insider familiar with Zlaket's personality and tenure said, "He was bad with people, great with sales."
Indeed, in terms of its business standing, Clear Channel maintained a strong position as a major player in the radio market during Zlaket's reign, which began in December 2008. Top-40 format KRQQ 93.7 FM has maintained its standing as one of the three top stations in the market. Rhythmic contemporary hit radio KOHT 98.3 FM is delivering solid numbers.
Clear Channel wants to make significant improvements in two ratings areas: KWMT 92.9 FM, which has a loyal but less-than-desired following, and news-talker KNST AM 790, which wants to change momentum in its continuing battle with Journal-owned rival KQTH 104.1 FM.
While Clear Channel looks for a replacement, it will use a four-person interim management structure. Those four department heads will answer to corporate in Houston.
KQTH has named Ryan McCredden as its new program director. McCredden replaces Andrew Lee, who accepted a position with a Clear Channel-owned radio outlet in Minneapolis.
McCredden inherits a position with a station that has turned in solid numbers for Journal and pushed longtime news-talk market leader KNST into the No. 2 position in the format in many key demographics.
McCredden has been assistant program director at KRLD AM in Dallas since 2006. He also served as assistant PD for WTDY and WJJO in Madison, Wisc.
Two years ago Andy Taylor was part of the well-received morning show tandem on classic rocker KLPX 96.1 FM, but since the Lotus-owned station decided to move in another direction, the road has been a hard one. Taylor's most recent setback occurred with KGVY AM 1080, where he was released from the morning show and program director position.
"I guess the best explanation would be a disagreement in the direction of the station and morning show," said Taylor via e-mail. "It was not on my part and I was hoping we could have salvaged it. I enjoyed the position, the staff and the listeners."
Taylor is the latest in an ever-expanding list of well-known radio personalities who served brief tenures in Green Valley. Taylor replaced radio veteran Jim Bednarek, who accepted the position after Tom Lang's stint.
"I was certain it would have lasted longer then six months, especially with the buzz the morning show was generating and with the blip on the radar screen of ratings in the last sampling," said Taylor. "We were getting out on the street and meeting listeners and sponsors. Green Valley is a great community and the people that live there, young and not so young, really help each other out. It's a small-town feel, but with the neighboring community of Sahuarita offers even more to the station and listeners. When I took this position, I was offered one the same day in Palm Springs, but felt there was so much we could do for the community and with the music, plus I love Southern Arizona, so I stayed."
Taylor would like to remain in the business, and stay in Tucson, but time will tell whether those are achievable goals.
"I have so many friends that have moved along from radio with such a bitter taste in their mouth, but honestly I love playing radio," said Taylor. "It's not about the paycheck; this job was about a third of what I made doing less work at KLPX. It's about loving and having a passion for your craft, which was not aligned with management's ideals."
Media Watch recently featured Michael Bradford and his participation in an online jazz station. Well, that relationship is over. Bradford, who worked for Clear Channel radio in Tucson and maintains his voiceover company, MB Voice Innovations, separated from azjazz.net a month or so ago.
Azjazz.net was launched as an online radio option for listeners who feel Tucson lacked a solid jazz format.
The Arizona Daily Star has revamped its coverage of happenings in and around local media. Phil Villareal is picking up where Gerald Gay left off.
"Phil Villarreal's new Scoop column will cover local comings and goings as well as trends in local radio, television and print media," said Star assistant managing editor Jill Jorden Spitz via e-mail. "He'll also write about Tucsonans and former Tucsonans appearing in TV shows or movies. Our similar 'Remote Controlled' column ended with Gerald Gay's departure some months ago, and we all missed it. When Phil expressed an interest, we saw it as a great fit for his skills and interests. In addition to The Scoop, which will run in the Sunday Vamos section, Phil will continue his excellent work as a general assignment reporter."
Villareal was the paper's movie critic before a decision to scrap that component, leaving the Tucson Weekly as the only print outlet in Tucson with local film criticism.
The Scoop is the third media-based column in the Old Pueblo. In addition to Media Watch, Dave Hatfield, the dean of media coverage in Tucson, pens his column in fellow Wick publication Inside Tucson Business.