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MEGA GOES OUT ON A RATINGS HIGH NOTE

There's a tried-and-true axiom in radio: When a station flips formats, its last ratings book will be its best.

Such was the case with KGMG FM 106.3, formerly known as Mega, in the recently released Arbitron summer-ratings period.

The '70s and '80s-ish R&B station, which struggled in part due to limited signal strength, jumped from consecutive 2.5 share books to a 3.7—by far its highest rating more than a year, and good enough to place eighth overall among privately owned radio signals in the period.

The station unveiled its format adjustment, The Groove, on Monday, Oct. 24, and as Dan Gibson noted on The Range, the Tucson Weekly's online news outlet, it appears to be the same station, with pretty much the same music library.

Well, it's the same except for the three employees Journal Broadcast Group blew out the door.

After Journal made the layoffs as part of the transition from Mega to The Groove, an internal memo said that "the company has invested in intensive technical upgrades and market research to more clearly define a strategic operating direction for KGMG-FM."

Basically, it looks as though Journal blew through money to come up with an excuse to get rid of three employees and re-brand a station with basically the same format.

Clear Channel-owned Top 40 station KRQQ FM 93.7 locked down the top spot in the summer-ratings period, edging the top finisher in the previous ratings period, KIIM FM 99.5, 8.8 to 8.7 in 12-and-older listener shares. KMXZ FM 94.9 was third, although it slipped from a spring number of 8.7 to a summer rating of 7.3. KCMT FM 102.1 placed fourth again, although the regional-Mexican format was down to 6.0 from its spring high-water mark of 7.0.

Other movements of note: Cumulus-owned adult-standards station KTUC AM 1400 jumped nearly a point, to 2.8, and the move to an FM simulcast appears to have assisted Journal-owned sports talk station KFFN, aka "The Fan," now broadcast on 1490 AM and 104.9 FM. It jumped from 0.8 to 1.3, its best number in a year.


NUÑEZ NEW ANCHOR AT KGUN; RATHBUN ON LEAVE; GEORGE RETURNS

Steve Nuñez is the new anchor on KGUN Channel 9's Good Morning Tucson. Nuñez, who replaced Ian Reitz, has been with the ABC affiliate on and off since 1993.

Another familiar Tucson news face, Sandy Rathbun, is on leave from KVOA Channel 4. A brief internal memo dated last Tuesday, Oct. 18, says simply, "Sandy Rathbun is on leave." Rathbun has been part of KVOA's news operation since 1986.

Finally, KOLD Channel 13 weather chief Chuck George returned to the station on Monday, Oct. 24, from his mysterious leave.

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