'EXPLORER' NAMES NEW PUBLISHER AND EDITOR; LOOKS TO MODERNIZE
Ryan Kedzierski, named publisher of The Explorer on Nov. 1, hopes to soon launch technological upgrades for the northwest-side weekly.
"We're going to redesign the website, and we've already started the process," said Kedzierski, who says the new look should launch Jan. 1. "Look for increasing unique visitors and page views. We're going to go after user-generated content for the website to produce a more-rich feel that people are going to want to come to and read every day. We're going to go mobile. We're looking at ... text-messaging capabilities for advertisers as well as mobile apps for the Android and iPhone for our readers. People can read us however they want, wherever they want, any time of the day."
A 10-year veteran of the industry, with stints at Gannett and the East Valley Tribune, Kedzierski was asked by parent company 1013 Communications to get The Explorer on track in an interim capacity in April. Now that he's been given the permanent position, modernizing the newspaper is a key order of business.
"Our print product is the core. We're not going to mess around with the way we've saturated the market with the one-time-a-week, a-little-over-40,000 circ a week," Kedzierski said. "We're going to go into an area I don't think is too dominated out here—the Internet and mobile. Those are the biggest key assets. We're not just going to be a newspaper; we're going to be a multimedia company that's dominating the northwest."
The Explorer has also named Thelma Grimes the interim managing editor. Before joining The Explorer earlier this year, Grimes spent 10 years in a variety of roles, including senior reporter, with the San Pedro Valley News-Sun, a Wick Communications publication based in Benson. (The Tucson Weekly is also owned by Wick.)
"The biggest thing we want to do is what The Explorer has always done: keep it a community newspaper to serve our readers and the community as a whole with coverage of everything from the local town council to children at the spelling bee," said Grimes. "We want to focus on all the local aspects. The Explorer has always done that, so we just want to continue doing that."
AZPM SWITCHES ALTERNATE CHANNEL
Arizona Public Media, the University of Arizona-operated PBS/NPR affiliate, is dumping Create TV in favor of Ready TV on Dec. 1.
The change may seem minor to viewers of alternate digital channel 6.3, Comcast 201 or Cox 82, but Arizona Public Media managers say the adjustment gives the organization more latitude to fit occasional local programming into the rotation on a schedule that benefits viewers.
Like its predecessor, Ready TV will include familiar PBS-style food, home-construction and travel fare, but in the latter category, the new arrangement gives AZPM an opportunity to insert local options such as The Desert Speaks.
LEE LOSSES CONTINUE
Lee Enterprises, which owns and operates the Arizona Daily Star, reported fourth-quarter earnings declines in a number of key areas—compared with already-troubling numbers from the same period the year before.
Fourth-quarter numbers, which concluded Sept. 25, showed a 3.3 percent decrease in total revenue, and a 3 percent decline in same-property revenue. In total, the company lost $8.8 million in the quarter.
The company, naturally, was quick to announce a significant jump in digital-advertising revenue—a 23.4 percent boost, but that didn't offset the total print- and digital-advertising decrease of 4.7 percent. Retail (down 2.8 percent), national (down 4.6 percent) and classified advertising (down 8.0 percent) all moved in the wrong direction. The classified decline included a 3.2 percent drop in employment-advertising revenue, a 4.5 percent decline in automotive, and 23.4 percent drop in real estate.
Lee's operating expenses dipped 5.6 percent, with a 6.8 percent drop in the employee-related category helped by 52 layoffs at the Star over the summer.
Lee says it feels positive about its position as a traded company on the New York Stock Exchange, but it has been in violation of the organization's $1 trading minimum for months. Lee stock was trading at around 60 cents per share on Monday, Nov. 28.
KOLD, KUAT AMONG EMMY RECIPIENTS
PBS affiliate KUAT Channel 6 and CBS affiliate KOLD Channel 13 were well-represented in the 2011 Rocky Mountain Emmys, with six award recipients apiece.
At KUAT, Sooyeon Lee Johnston landed two statues for "Secrets of the Divine, the Altarpiece of Ciudad Rodrigo," one in a collaborative capacity with Kimberly Craft.
Luis Carrión was honored twice for"Neon Artistry." Pamela White, Daniel Duncan and Thomas Kleespie rounded out KUAT's representation.
Teresa Jun (Spot News), Paul Durrant (Feature News), Mark Stine and Edgar Ybarra (News/Single Story Feature), meteorologist Aaron Pickering (On-Camera Talent) and sportscaster Dave Cooney (On-Camera Talent) won for KOLD.
Alfonso Sahagun and Joel Waldman at KGUN Channel 9 were honored in the Societal Concern category for a report on drugs in Pinal County.
Dave Sitton garnered a sportscasting Emmy.
KGUN KNOWS ITS ABCS
Journal Broadcast Group, which operates KGUN Channel 9 in Tucson, took care of a formality and renewed its affiliation with ABC. Journal also came to terms regarding ABC affiliations for stations it owns in Las Vegas, and Boise and Twin Falls, Idaho.
Although a simple deal today, local-network affiliations will go through dramatic changes in the not-too-distant future, according to some "experts," as networks try to improve revenues and address concerns over DVR-viewing habits and other competition.