Media Watch

Kedzierski leaves Tucson Local Media for position in Salem

Ryan Kedzierski, the publisher of Tucson Local Media, has accepted an opportunity as director of sales for the Statesman Journal in Salem, Ore.

"It's a daily and a larger operation than what we're running in Tucson," said Kedzierski, who in the director of sales position will oversee the paper's print and digital advertising. "The attractiveness is working for a daily paper. The Salem product pumps out about 90 percent local stories as opposed to 90 percent syndicated, which a lot of papers do."

Kedzierski joined 10/13 Communications in 2010 and was promoted to publisher of the company's Tucson operations, known as Tucson Local Media, once it purchased numerous properties from Tucson West Publishing and Wick Communications in 2014. The Wick deal included ownership of the Tucson Weekly and Inside Tucson Business.

Overall, the move dramatically increased 10/13's presence in the market.

"The best thing I'm proud about is working within the community and working within the organization in Tucson," Kedzierski said. "It's been great watching the employees and associates grow since I've been there. On the operating side we're more successful than we have been in the past, and on the content side we're generating as much content as we've had, and from feedback from the community, they're excited we're bringing some things back to the Weekly that have been missing the last couple years."

Kedzierski's final day in Tucson is Friday, Feb. 6. He'll begin with responsibilities with the Gannett-owned paper in Salem shortly thereafter.

Elsewhere within the 10/13 ranks, award-winning Explorer photographer Randy Metcalf has left the paper for a position with Pima County, while Ryan Foster has accepted an opportunity with the Better Business Bureau.

Lotus changes formats on 990 AM

Lotus Communications has pulled the plug on its Spanish language sports product, ESPN Deportes, on KTKT 990 AM and replaced it with a Spanish language music format.

But while KTKT enjoyed next to no ratings benefits from its long-standing deal with ESPN, the company is hoping a couple things can lead to significant numbers improvement in short order.

First and foremost, KTKT has gotten the benefit of an FM translator and simulcasts on 94.3 FM. FM stations dominate ratings in Tucson.

"The FCC gave out some FM translators to AM stations throughout the country," said Lotus GM Ken Kwilosz. "The signal is very good. It goes from midtown to a radius of about 30 miles or so in every direction."

As a result, Kwilosz hopes the FM boost will greatly improve the station's new musical approach, a classic hits style format that he anticipates will complement the station's top-rated Mexican Regional format, Lotus-owned KCMT FM 92.1.

"The sports was good, but it was so narrow, and in a market the size of Tucson we didn't have a big enough audience to monetize the station," Kwilosz said. "If you're in a big city where you have many more people you can have a station like that be successful. In Tucson, even though our Hispanic population is big, it wasn't big enough for that kind of station. We wanted to keep (the station) Spanish, and we found the one thing lacking was this adult hits format, which is the No. 2 format in the country. No. 1 is Mexican Regional. No. 2 is this adult hits format. Everybody likes to copy our big station, Caliente, so we figured since we're doing well and everybody else is copying us, let's do something different."

Kwilosz has lofty expectations for the change, and believes the format has a chance to rank among the top Spanish language stations in the market in the not-too-distant future. The new KTKT, known as La Buena, sports a syndicated lineup of programming that is working well in other Hispanic-heavy markets.

"We have a such a good start with Caliente (92.1 FM) and such a good foothold that in my opinion very quickly we'll have the No. 1 and No. 2 Spanish stations in Tucson," Kwilosz said "Caliente is already No. 1, but I'll be shocked if La Buena isn't No. 2 very quickly. The station has unbelievable syndicated programming. (Morning show) Erazno y Chokolata is the No. 1 Spanish language show in Phoenix, and it's the top rated radio program in all of Las Vegas. It's a very popular show done out of LA."

The move is designed to address a perceived void in radio programing in the market. As it stands, most Mexican music radio in Tucson falls under the Mexican Regional banner, the Spanish language version of modern top-40. Think of La Buena as a Spanish language classic hits type station.

"Mexican Regional skews younger," Kwilosz said. "We thought the next market that hasn't been served is a little older, so this is 35-54. If you think of it like Mix (94.9 FM), it's kind of like that in Spanish. The feedback we've been getting is really good because people are saying they love this music, this is what they grew up with and nobody's been playing it in Tucson. It's everything we hoped people would feel about it."

If KTKT takes hold the way Kwilosz hopes, it would give Lotus four strong radio stations in its Tucson cluster. It already has the top-rated Spanish language station in Caliente and top-10 signals in classic rock format KLPX 96.1 FM and alternative format KFMA 102.1 FM.

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