Media Watch


The Journal Broadcast Group persuaded Arizona Broadcasters Association Hall of Famer Jim Arnold to end his two-year hiatus and run the Tucson operations for its media division, which locally includes KGUN Channel 9, KWBA Channel 58 and four radio stations.

Arnold replaces Julie Brinks, who was ousted from the position in November.

With Arnold, Journal gets someone who is as familiar with the Tucson media landscape as anyone. Arnold's career as a DJ dates back three decades, and he was among Tucson's most-popular radio personalities at one point.

But Arnold made his mark in media as a general manager: seven years as GM of a radio station in Lubbock, Texas; seven years as GM of a TV station in Madison, Wis.; and a decade as the GM at KOLD Channel 13.

During his tenure at KOLD, from 2000 to 2010, Arnold oversaw the news operation's progression from cellar-dweller to highest-rated outlet in the market.


If you think it's been a pain in the backside to track down UA sporting events on the Pac-12 Networks (DirecTV subscribers certainly know the feeling), working at the games for the Pac-12 Networks has been a source of frustration as well.

According to the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the union that represents many of those working behind the scenes at Pac-12 broadcasts, the Pac-12 tried to bypass the union by hiring workers on a per-game basis, with no benefits.

"They'd go to members of our crew and want to contract them directly. But every time they did that, they'd offer the person less money and give them no benefit contributions," said Sandra England, broadcast department director for the IATSE. "All of these people are daily-hire employees at a daily-hire rate, but they count on the employer for paying the benefits and health and pension contributions. If they don't get those, it's harder for them to ... make sufficient funds to pay the premiums."

That approach didn't sit well with the union, and England says repeated efforts to discuss the issue with the Pac-12 Networks were rebuffed. The lack of dialogue led the IATSE and its members to take more-drastic action: They picketed sporting events during two weekends earlier this month, including the UA-Oral Roberts men's basketball game on Dec. 18.

That got the Pac-12's attention, and discussion between the two sides will start Jan. 8. As a good-faith gesture, union workers have returned to their Pac-12 broadcast jobs, England says.

The situation "was so out of control and confusing that we just had to stop," England says. "We believe if (the Pac-12 Networks) continued down that road, they were going to implode, and it wasn't on the backs of our members that (such a thing) was going to happen. It's in our interest to make them a wild success, but they can't do it by the crazy way they have been."

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