Media Watch

Cancer diagnosis guides Forrest Carr to other priorities

Our time is limited. We all know it, but we don't all act on it. Perhaps, among other things, because we don't have the semblance of an exact amount of time that remains.

Forrest Carr does, and he's going to spend as much of that time as he can on a passion for writing. As a result, he has quit his weekday afternoon talk show on KEVT AM 1210 to focus on treatment options for his cancer—transitional cell carcinoma, a rare cancer located where one of his kidneys used to be—and the completion of his next novel.

"Last week I went in for a CT scan, and the news is not good.  The cancer is back and it has metastasized," said Carr on his blog, The Bashful Bloviator. "I will meet with an oncologist next week to review options, but obviously they'll range from not-so-good to really bad.  The five-year survival rate for this category of cancer is rather bleak."

So Carr, who spent the majority of his work career in television news, including numerous news director stints, two with KGUN TV 9, wants to put his energies into the completion of his third book.

"Writing remains the most important thing to me," said Carr on his blog. "I vastly enjoyed my 33 year career in TV news, but the whole time I had two sharp regrets.  The first was that, due to the very demanding nature of my chosen profession, I'd never found the time to give fiction writing, my first love, a real shot.  The second was that I had not tried my hand at radio, which was my second love and the reason I studied broadcasting in college.  Two years ago, I began to have very strong premonitions that if I were to wait until retirement to pursue those things, time would run out.  I was having no symptoms of any kind, mind you, but the thought weighed on me that none of us is promised another day.  So, with the full support of my wonderful bride and life partner, Deborah, I left my day job on good terms, and then plunged into writing.  In less than a year I had published two novels and started on a third—and then, just like that, I was diagnosed with kidney cancer.  After three months off to undergo surgery and recover from it, I started a blog, resumed efforts on the third novel, and joined PowerTalk 1210."

But while he enjoyed the radio experience—and he took to it well, Carr's program was a refreshingly open-minded perspective largely void of the tripe, polarizing political talking points that dominate the medium—doing both, in addition to what was required through recovery, just wasn't practical.

"As much as I have loved working at PowerTalk 1210—and I really, really, have—writing has had to go to the back burner during this period, and as a consequence work on that third novel has progressed much more slowly," Carr continued. "I'm anxious to get it finished (it's 99.99% there)."

Carr has had some success in the self-publishing realm. He has authored two novels: Messages, which deals with a murder investigation while focusing on the drama and nature of the medium market television newsroom in the 1980s, and A Journal of the Crazy Year, a pandemic-based apocalyptic tale that has gotten numerous strong reviews and landed him a lengthy guest slot on George Noory's nationally syndicated radio talk show, Coast to Coast AM, a couple months ago.

"My spirits are excellent," Carr wrote.  "I have considered every single day of my life past the age of 19, when I had a very close brush with the eternal due to my own idiocy, as bonus play.  I've enjoyed every minute of it (well, okay, I could have done without those two kidney stone episodes, my last two surgeries, several dozen dental visits, and the time I spent trapped in an overturned car idly wondering if it were about to burst into flame.  And all those hours I spent waiting in DMV lines over the years? I really would like that time back).  I plan to continue embracing every sunrise.  Cancer certainly is a challenge, but in a way my situation is not radically different from anyone else's.  You have the whole rest of your life ahead of you, and so do I.  Plan accordingly."

Television and radio market size differs

Remember that point where moving to the Southwest was all the rage? Massive population shifts from the snow-burdened east and Midwest would lead to major booms in the number of folks residing in and around Tucson and other Southwest and Mountain region hotbeds.

At least in terms of electronic media market size, that phenomenon hasn't been the case in Tucson for some time.

Furthermore, there is a fairly significant disparity between radio and television market size. Radio ranks 62nd, with a credited population listener base of 850,200. However, Tucson's television market ranks 71st, according to the Nielsen ratings system, behind Flint, Mich., and just ahead of Des Moines/Ames, Iowa. Overall television viewership is credited at 428,680.

Tucson does rank much higher in the Hispanic television demographic. Nielsen places Tucson/Sierra Vista 25th nationally among Hispanic viewership, with 126,970 households. Within the Hispanic demo, that's ahead of larger overall markets such as Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City and Charlotte.

Yuma/El Centro cracks the Nielsen television top 40 for Hispanic viewership as well. That market is No. 168 overall. Nearly two-thirds of viewers in that region are Hispanic.

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