Media Watch

Stella Inger takes over at KGUN


Stella Inger will replace Jennifer Waddell as the evening news anchor at KGUN Channel 9. Inger most recently worked as a morning anchor at KTVK Channel 3 in Phoenix.

"I look forward to being part of a great team, a great newscast and a station that has tremendous history," Inger said. "I'm really excited. It's an awesome opportunity for me. I feel blessed that I get to work with the people I'm working with: the news director, general manager, everyone who I have met at that station, they're all wonderful. Jennifer was there for eight years, and I hope I can make Tucson my home for just as long or longer."

Ultimately, Inger hopes to act as a conduit between the viewer and newsmakers.

"I'm very inquisitive. I like to know what's going on. I like to solve problems and be the voice of people who aren't heard," Inger said. "You have politicians and others who are always in the news, and others who aren't in the news who can't get their voices heard, and I want to be the voice for those people."

Although familiar with the desert through her gig in Phoenix, Inger's upbringing was a far cry from cacti and dry heat. She is a Russian immigrant who moved with her family to Iowa at the age of 7. Shortly thereafter, they relocated to Los Angeles.

Inger starts at KGUN, alongside Guy Atchley, on Oct. 29, just in time for November sweeps.


His arrival in Tucson was a story of rags to riches.

Bobby Rich had done the big radio stops—L.A., Seattle, San Diego, Philadelphia—and he wanted a change. He found it in Tucson, where he decided to go from being just a hired hand to playing a part in the day-to-day operation of a radio station.

So he invested in KTZN Tucson 92, Just Right Rock, upon his arrival in town in 1992. But the station went belly-up within a year. That might have been the end of his Old Pueblo experience, a forgotten byproduct of a station that would barely show up as an asterisk in the annals of Tucson radio history.

Not exactly Hall of Fame worthy.

"I didn't think a lot of the stations in this market would have me because there are a lot of formats I don't like," Rich said. "I don't like country; I'm not a talk show guy; I've always done basically Top 40 or flavors of rock hits, so I didn't think anyone would have me."

But one format fit the bill, and the rest of the story, well, reads a bit more like what you might expect for someone inducted into Arizona Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame this week.

"KKLD, which was then Cloud 95, was taken over by a new owner right around that time and they hired me to be program director and morning show host (to) take them from the background music (station) they were to a more foreground adult contemporary. And here we are, 21 years at this same station under three different owners."

Cloud is now MixFm. Has been for a while. It's the top moneymaker for that third ownership cluster, the Journal Broadcast Group. Has been for a while. And MixFm is routinely among the top three-rated stations in the market. Has been for a while.

Rich has utilized his position as one of the market's top-rated morning show personalities to assist organizations throughout the community in fundraising endeavors.

"I'm not the person who does the heavy lifting and the door-to-door and the phone calls and the filing things," Rich said. "I'm the guy that either publicizes their event or sits on committees and boards and helps them figure out how to make their nonprofit organization more successful. I emcee a lot of charity events, dinners, galas. My biggest charity is easily the Diaper Bank. I was one of the founding members of that in 1993. We're still going strong. We do the December Diaper Drive, our live radio play, which will be Sunday, Dec. 1, at the Fox Theatre. It features local celebrities playing the parts, complete with sound effects. There's a play concept we haven't even announced yet. We use our jocks and TV personalities and well-known people in town as the actors. We can do something that's an everyone-wins kind of deal. It raises money for a good cause."

Rich will be one of four people inducted into the Hall of Fame during a Thursday, Oct. 17, luncheon at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale.

One of his presenters will be Michael O'Shea. "He runs a group of radio stations in Santa Rosa, Calif." Rich said. "He and I did a morning show in Toledo, Ohio. He was called Jungle Jim. We did the Jungle and Bobby Show at night on a Top 40 station." Another presenter will be Ken Levine, "an Emmy-winning writer of TV sitcoms like Cheers. Before he got started as a writer, he was a DJ who went under the name of Beaver Cleaver, so I'm going to have Jungle and Beaver introducing me," Rich said.

Phoenix TV newscasting institution Lin Sue Cooney; studio, musical and production engineering whiz Jack Miller; and Bill Phalen round out the list of inductees. Phalen is a former member of the Tucson Broadcasters Association and founded the Prism Radio Group, a precursor to the cluster of stations now operated by Clear Channel. He was instrumental in the creation of KRQQ 93.7 FM and KNST 790 (then 940) AM, both of which utilize the successful formats he devised to this day.

Said Rich: "I'm very humbled by being chosen, and even though it makes me feel a little ancient, it makes me feel like I've done the right thing for long enough, that not only are they still employing me after all these years, but there's recognition from the industry and my peers."

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