Media Watch

Buckmaster named to Arizona Broadcasters Hall of Fame

You know you've made it if one name suffices. Getting inducted into a Hall of Fame is pretty good indication as well.

For folks in radio and television, and those who have watched and listened to his broadcasts for the better part of 30 years, just say Buckmaster and they know you're talking about Tucson's foremost objective interviewer.

That's been the Buckmaster trademark. He has interviewed numerous newsmakers, some with dramatically different political perspectives, and they all keep coming back. Buckmaster is this year's Tucson inductee to the Arizona Broadcaster's Hall of Fame, and he got there because of a style he maintained and to which he held steadfast for the entirety of a Tucson media career that has spanned more than 28 years.

If you talk to Buckmaster, first name Bill, you know you'll get a fair shake.

"I've stayed close to my vision of being the town square for information, and not getting too much on one side," Buckmaster said. "I guess it's old-fashioned these days, but I still believe in old-school journalism. I've got no axe to grind. I just want to hear what they're all about. I like talking to people, and always have. I love listening to them tell their stories. Everyone has a story."

Buckmaster has been the conduit to relay many of those stories via an interview format he perfected during his 23-year run as the host of Arizona Illustrated, the then nightly news and interview show that aired on local PBS affiliate KUAT. Since parting ways in 2010, Arizona Illustrated just never seemed the same. Eventually, after attempting a couple interview-based reformats, the program, now hosted by former KVOA TV 4 news anchor Tom McNamara, became a showcase for video vignettes. It is produced on a once a week basis 39 weeks in the calendar year and airs at multiple available times in the station's schedule.

After the separation, Buckmaster proved the format can work in other venues, most notably a successful radio venture. The Buckmaster Show, which airs weekdays at noon on KVOI AM 1030, is an extension of his Arizona Illustrated formula, and is a go-to radio destination for those interested in listening to the folks at the center of the Tucson and Southern Arizona news cycle.

In radio, especially, which was a pioneer of political polarization—the internet and technology age has made polarization over objective journalism the norm, regardless of affiliation—a host would find it impossible to attract guests from the other side of the aisle. It's often unfortunate, but makes sense. Why submit oneself to a barrage of attacks from someone who makes a living parroting the talking points of the opposition?

Unfortunately, that approach, while certainly not without its entertainment value, makes the conversation one-sided, because the guests a host attracts and the callers or participants who chime in are all basically believers of the same philosophical framework.

Meanwhile, Buckmaster gets any guest he wants, precisely because he has never engaged in that media model.

That singular philosophy has led to a prosperous career in electronic journalism, and a spot in the state's Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

"There are some wonderful people on that Hall of Fame list," Buckmaster said. "Every year there's one representative from Tucson, and many of them I admire: Bud Foster is on that list, Jim Arnold, Larry Schnebly, Jack Parris. For the bulk of the time I was at channel 6 Jack was the General Manager, and my mentor. The late, great Jack Jacobson is in that Hall of Fame. I'm very humbled and it's a wonderful surprise."

The Hall of Fame induction is Oct. 15.

KGUN has new twist on Trump speech

Controversial Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump turned the world on its head when he proclaimed before a Phoenix audience his love of "illegal immigration." Imagine the media storm for that pronouncement, on the heels of other immigration-based comments that got him in all kinds of hot water.

Wait, you mean Trump did not say he loved "illegal immigrants?" But the KGUN graphic which aired on its newscast last Saturday at 5 clearly states: TRUMP ON IMMIGRATION: "I love illegal immigrants."

Somehow, that seems a tad different than the Trump message. Perhaps Trump said "I love legal immigrants."

Nah, because KGUN's graphics department could never get something like that wrong.

"Graphics department?" Who I am kidding? It's one person asked to type something handed to him or her, without the benefit of anyone else paying much attention to what's being entered into a computer.

Graphics blunders are certainly not a KGUN only issue, although in this market KGUN is the standard bearer. Spending the column space pointing out local news misspellings, not to mention copy editing botches in every news publication in town, would fill this column every week.

If you want to see the most glaring aspect of media cutbacks, of hiring employees with less experience, not providing helpful training, and then asking them to do multiple assignments, look no further from a results standpoint than the deterioration of copy editing in stories—online and in print, everywhere—and of the graphics in local news.

Mistakes always happened. That's the human condition. They just happen a lot more now. And it's not because there's more content. It has a lot more to do with a lack of checks and balances—and different sets of eyes—in the newsroom.

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