Media Watch


Arizona Daily Star sports columnist Greg Hansen has been named the winner of the American Advertising Federation Tucson's Golden Pen award.

Hansen has long been the most noteworthy figure on the Tucson sports media landscape. Among local sports fans, he's go-to reading, whether it's an editorial on the current state of one the UA's higher-profile athletic programs, a well-crafted feature on a local personality or his popular Sunday Notebook. But in the early days, Hansen figured Tucson was more "go-through" en route to loftier aspirations.

"When I came here I thought two years maybe and I'll leave," Hansen said. "I had already job-hopped from Salt Lake to Tampa back to Oregon and here. That was the only way you could move up in the journalism business. I thought this could be fun. I could learn some stuff, and then move to a big-time market. But I got lucky because I traveled with UA football and basketball through all those Pac-10 cities and it took me about two years to realize I didn't want to live in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle or Phoenix. I really appreciated Tucson. Not driving in that gridlock. And then I really liked the community atmosphere here, and the college atmosphere. I covered the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for three years and knew right away I didn't want to be in pro sports. I got lucky and found an only-game-in-town spot like this."

Hansen remains at the top of his game. Over the years, beyond his columns, which consistently offer a unique—and sometimes controversial—take on a subject, his real passion has been to build on his personal interest in the players of Tucson sports lore. It's the human-interest component that has kept him going.

"I've been to more than 1,000 UA basketball games, and while I appreciate it, the most enjoyable part of the job is getting to know people through the years," Hansen said. "That's been the most rewarding by far. The one thing that struck me in the last 10 years or so is I wanted to be a historian of Tucson sports. I wanted to know about the players and coaches of the past. It's been fun, and I've researched and referenced people as far back as 1912."


The Tucson AdFed also recognized the contributions of John C. Scott, the longtime political talk show host whose program airs weekday afternoons on KVOI 1030 AM.

"My greatest fear wasn't not winning a great award like this; my greatest fear was running out of radio stations," Scott said. "I was always thinking what's the last station on the rail track. I've got a two-year deal with KVOI, and we've expanded it to two hours, and it's one of the highest-rated shows there. I think it's as much a recognition of what we do as the longevity."

That longevity dates back to the onset of talk radio's appeal, but Scott crafted a model that involves leasing time from the station and selling ad revenue. He started the talk portion of his career with KTUC 1400 AM in 1989. That lasted until 1996, when he transitioned to KTKT 990 AM, which changed formats eight years later.

"Then KTKT went Spanish," Scott said. "I remember the GM coming up to me, saying we're going Spanish tomorrow, and I thought boy, it's time to get out Rosetta Stone right now."

He found a home at KJLL AM 1330 AM (the station's call letters are now KWFM) before leaving for his first stint at KVOI in 2008. He then returned to KJLL as general manager in 2009 and negotiated a second stint at KVOI in 2011 after KJLL underwent massive upheaval.

As he's moved from station to station, and as he's taken the program on the road to destinations as far away as Washington D.C., China, Israel and Vietnam, Scott has kept the behind-the-scenes aspects of the operation a family affair. His son, executive producer Mark Ulm, handles booking duties and gets more guests for the interview-driven program than anyone else in the market.

"(He's) as good at getting people as anyone I know," Scott said. "Any of the success we have is attributed to getting the right people on the air based upon the day's current events. When Giffords was shot (on a) Saturday (Jan. 8, 2011), CSPAN chose our show to broadcast on Tuesday. Choosing us to air the drama that was unfolding in Tucson and across the nation was remarkable. Mark put that show together."

Scott's wife, Amy Hameroff-Ulm, handles the sales side.

"She's billed over $2.5 million since we've been doing this. Nobody's done that. Ever. It's made money for our great radio partners and us. That's why it's been on the air and has been successful," Scott said. "Here you have the best combination of a damn-good time peddler in the market, and the best producer in the market, and me, who follows whatever is in front of me.

"Will anyone say this was pretty good and relevant radio when it's all said and done?" Scott asked. "Probably. If they don't, they didn't listen."

Other Tucson AdFed honorees are Journal Broadcast Group commercial producer Steve Swinehart, the Advertising Professional of the Year; AAF Silver Medal Award winner Art Waller of Waller Advertising; and Sharmon Woods of Southwest University of Visual Arts, who was honored with the Phyllis Ehlinger Women of Excellence Award.

This year's Addy's ceremony is slated for Feb. 16 at the Leo Rich Theater at the Tucson Convention Center.

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