Media Watch


Long-time UA sports writer Anthony Gimino has joined KOLD TV 13, but not in a capacity related to the TV product. Gimino is providing content for the station's web site, As such, it's the first effort by one of the market's television outlets to attempt to provide original content from an outside local source for the purposes of drawing viewers, and therefore, better numbers to the online product.

Some television stations in larger markets have implemented this strategy, plucking former newspaper writers who were victimized by cutbacks in that industry, and hiring them on a freelance basis to try to give viewers another reason to access the site. Why? Well, as outlined in the following email correspondence, it's not hard to read between the lines that local news is no longer just about putting together 30-minute blocks of content at noon, 5, 6 and 10. It's about hoping to be relevant in a social media world, and utilizing those outlets to get eyes on any platform available.

"We've had Anthony on-air providing his analysis for some time," said Sean Fitzpatrick, the station's director of digital media. "Now we feel we have the most complete Wildcat football coverage in town, between our existing on-air sportscasts, the Wildcat football section on our website and on our mobile news app, daily tweets and Facebook posts, our pregame show on Facebook, our live game commentary and discussion board, and back to TV for post-game wrap-ups and highlights."

Gimino is one of the city's most experienced sports reporters, and the majority of his extensive journalism career has involved covering UA athletics. His resume includes stints with the Arizona Daily Star and Tucson Citizen—he was also's online editor prior to Gannett's closure of the blog aspect of the site earlier this year—and is an editor for Lindy's college football publications.

"Anthony is well-known to Wildcat fans, and they respect his insight and perspective," Fitzpatrick said. "Partnering with Anthony allows us to provide our audience with much deeper analysis than we have time to do on-air, and introduces (on-air sportscasters) Damien (Alameda), Dave Cooney and David Kelly to an even wider audience for our Wildcat football broadcast coverage. Wildcat fans get their football news from a variety of media sources, but many are digital first. We want to make sure we have the widest and deepest Wildcat coverage on every platform to build on the broadcast leadership of our sports team."


Clear Channel Communications, the largest radio conglomerate in the country, has changed its name to iHeartMedia. The move, according to the company, is to try to reflect its strategy as radio continues its transition as an online medium.

In many ways, the name change is the result of an approach that has become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's the company saying terrestrial radio is dead, while online is where the model continues to move. The Clear Channel name is a pariah in media parlance. The company has done a remarkable job largely gutting its 859 stations while providing bare-bone staff and cookie cutter radio options on the terrestrial plain. Online, however, it's had success with the iheartradio app, which the company claims it has in the neighborhood of 50 million registered users.

So the former Clear Channel hopes listeners, or downloaders, will "heart" the product as it continues to transition, but given its track record as a radio behemoth, it's probably safe to say there won't be much "hearting" among terrestrial radio listeners or the select few employees who have managed to weather years of cutbacks.


JohnJay Van Es, the host of the syndicated JohnJay and Rich Morning Show, broadcast on iHeartMedia top-40 station KRQQ 93.7 FM, did not do a very good job weathering the recent flooding that ravaged the Valley.

"I just coasted into the flood," JohnJay told reporters as a result of driving into one of the city's many waterlogged areas en route to his morning show, based out of Phoenix. As a result, the host broadcast much of the program from his stuck car as a mini-river raced past. He was rescued by his co-host, who had to step up and save the day because iHeartMedia has not yet created offshoot venture iHeartRescueHelicopters, which is a good thing because, just as with their radio operations, they'd cut their pilot staff to the bone.


Those poor meteorologists. They're one of the few positions in local news that still get paid well, and what happens when their services are truly needed and we're glued to their sage understanding of weather patterns? The darn computers let them down and the great flood of 2014, or as I like to call it, Nora 2.0, decided that even though Erin Said it Would, the storm preferred to bash areas further east instead, bypassing Tucson almost entirely and leaving local meteorologists to wonder if they should try to pitch to station management yet more updated weather equipment that will cost well into six figures.

In fairness, national prognosticators missed on the storm that wasn't as well. Even Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel, who is basically the pale rider of apocalyptic natural occurrences, spent some time in Tucson anticipating the looming flooding carnage. KVOA TV 4 took the opportunity to head to an area riverbed to cut a promo alongside chief meteorologist Matt Brode.

In said promo, the KVOA camera operator does a nice pullback shot that also shows off Cantore's production crew, which included a camera operator and sound person. The local camera operator must have felt at least a twinge of envy. You mean they still have production crews at other outlets? Brode is lucky. He gets a separate camera operator when he's in the field, whereas pretty much every other reporter in the building has to handle those responsibilities themselves.

On an unrelated note, anticipation for the storm allowed everyone on Facebook to act like armchair weather experts who had spent the last six years in pursuit of their recognition by the American Meteorological Society. At no other point in social media history had more Tucsonans typed the phrase "computer models" in their attempts to project for the masses the exact trajectory of our impending Armageddon.

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