Media Watch


Since changing formats and becoming the first privately owned station to attempt FM talk in Tucson, KQTH FM 104.1 has made aggressive moves toward chopping into the dominance of AM 790 KNST, and in the last Arbitron ratings book it finally bested the market's legacy talker, which boasts syndicated juggernauts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

Numerically, KQTH has registered very well against KNST for some time, often claiming victories in key advertising demographics, but KNST's stranglehold on listeners 55 and older gave it the overall ratings numbers. That changed in the spring 2011 book.

KQTH, which goes by the moniker The Truth, believes an added commitment to local talk will continue to push the trend in its favor. Morning host Jon Justice has delivered strong numbers, and there's hope the thirst for local content will continue to pay dividends. The station is set to add a second local talker, James T. Harris, a familiar voice to many Truth listeners. Harris' show will air weekdays 10 a.m. to noon starting Oct. 3, giving The Truth six hours of Tucson-generated content.

"I've been a fill-in for Jon Justice for about two years now," Harris said. "It happened as quite a fluke. He had his heart issues and I filled in, but he came back a bit too early and I happened to be available and started doing the fill-in and made an immediate connection with his audience. I became the favorite fill-in. The Truth approached me to do a Sunday-night show, which I started in April of 2010. It continued to grow until a couple months ago the conversation came up to expand it, and we were able to come to terms."

Harris calls himself unapologetically conservative, but approaches his program more as a forum for conversation than a soapbox. He looks forward to engaging Tucson's largely liberal voting bloc.

"I would much prefer a market dominated by people from the opposite side of the ideological aisle, because if you can get them to talk and engage in the show it makes the conversation that much more varied and interesting," Harris said. "Politics is a big part of the show, but so are cultural observations across the city and across the country. It's an eclectic mix of pop culture, politics and local."

Harris recently hosted a popular radio program for WTMJ in Milwaukee, owned by the Journal Broadcast Group, which operates KQTH. He has appeared on FOX and Friends, The O'Reilly Factor and CNN.

"I really appreciate the way the Truth has invested in me, and I hope to make that investment worthy," Harris said. He wants to "bring in a national conservative perspective from my vantage point. I think it's going to be a lot of fun."

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