Media Watch


Local CW affiliate KWBA TV 58 has a new anchor for its scarcely watched 9 p.m. newscast. Maggie Vespa has landed the gig. Vespa will also handle general reporting duties on KGUN primetime newscasts.

Most of the KWBA newscast recycles stories from sister outlet KGUN, and for most of its life it simply replayed KGUN's 6 p.m. news. At least the separate anchor move gives the 9 p.m. offering some identity. Whether it will help to take some numbers from the KMSB TV 11 9 p.m. newscast produced by Raycom-operated KOLD TV 13 remains to be seen.


Everyone likes MOVIES!, right? Belo-owned KMSB TV 11 hopes that's the case. The Belo-owned station ran into some satellite issues, and as of Nov. 1, was unable to carry THIS TV on its 11.2 sub-channel. As a result, KMSB has plastered a big billboard across the 11.2 frequency announcing that MOVIES! Is coming soon.

"THIS TV changed the satellite it delivered on and we're unable to receive it with the equipment we have," said KMSB Operations Manager Brad Hargrove. "We were left short real quick on this change, so we're waiting on an encoder which should be here by the end of the week. We'll have the (MOVIES!) network up as soon as the part arrives and we can get it on the air."

KMSB signed a one-year deal to carry the new network.

"We've had a lot of distressed viewers who want to see THIS TV, but unfortunately we can't do that anymore," Hargrove said.

The classic TV model has shown some surprising success in a number of markets. In addition to KGUN's connection to Antenna TV on sub-channel 9.2, KOLD piggybacks ME TV on its 13.2 sub-channel, and KVOA TV recently launched COZI TV on channel 4.2.

It's been a largely beneficial arrangement for fans of older television fare who perhaps cut cable, but are still searching for some alternative over-the-air television options. In markets like Tucson, with plenty of representation from an aging demographic contingent, the classic TV stations have shown the ability to deliver some solid numbers.

MOVIES! looks a lot like other cable television stations dedicated to playing cinematic offerings. It airs films in their cinematic scope (letterboxing), but edits profanity and what it considers inappropriate violence and sexual content.


Michael Chihak is Arizona Public Media's new news director. The former editor and publisher of the Tucson Citizen has been a member of Tucson's PBS/NPR affiliate organization for the last four years, acting as host of Arizona Week.

Chihak will oversee news responsibilities for AZPM's television, radio, online and social media endeavors. He will serve as interim host of Arizona Week until a replacement is named.

John Booth has been named AZPM's executive producer. Booth is a 1983 graduate of the UA who worked at PBS affiliate KUAT for nearly six years. From there he made career stops at public television outlets in Portland and Phoenix.


When R Dub pitched Slow Jams, his long-running syndicated hip-hop radio program, to the hosts of Shark Tank, he hoped for two things.

"One, get on and get publicity for the show, and two, not being clowned and torn apart," said the Tucson boy made-good of his October network TV appearance. "I was so happy to get out of there without some personal attacks. I was hopeful that great exposure would be the outcome, and thank goodness that was the case. That night I started receiving e-mails and inquiries from potential advertisers and radio stations."

Among his new radio affiliates, Oklahoma City, a market Dub says he had tried to crack for more than eight years. But the big benefit came in the form of a year-long sponsorship commitment from Jackson and Associates, a legal firm based in Bakersfield with representation nationwide.

"They were believers in radio in general. Radio has worked for them," R Dub said. "They saw this as a new national platform. They feel they can deliver the message through radio to the people they're targeting."

Jackson and Associates has committed $75,000 to Slow Jams, and R Dub hopes that investment can play a major role in building the program's impact.

Slow Jams is already a success story. The show, which started locally on a small AM signal in Tucson and later transitioned to KRQQ 93.7 FM when R Dub landed a gig there, is now broadcast in close to 70 markets and generates in the neighborhood of $350,000 annually.

But to break through even more, R Dub believes it's imperative to hire a syndication rep solely responsible for promoting the benefits of the program to radio stations nationwide.

"I'm currently with a syndication company whose job it is to do that, but they also carry 20 other products they're selling, and they have one or two guys doing that," R Dub said. "It's comparable to being on a record label and you're one of the smaller artists. When said label is pushing 20 other projects besides you, it's tough to get the attention you deserve to grow.

"I'm following the John Tesh model. Tesh was dropped from his syndication company, and at the time had maybe a dozen affiliates, but John Tesh found one guy, and now years later they're making over eight figures. It's really attributed to John Tesh's hard work, and having a right-hand man whose entire job it is to call radio stations, establish relationships with program directors and get the show on.

"Selling a radio show to radio stations is a lot harder than selling an insurance policy or a vacuum. You're asking the radio station to give up four hours of its programming often to a program they may not be familiar with. It's a big job."

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