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AZPM cleans up at Southwest Chapter of Rocky Mountain Emmys

KUAT TV, the UA operated PBS affiliate, was impressively represented at the Rocky Mountain Emmy awards Southwest Chapter ceremonies. Winners were announced Oct. 17.

AZPM far outdistanced any other Tucson television representative. Among the honors, GM Jack Gibson was singled out for a Rocky Mountain Emmy for overall excellence.

Andrew Brown was awarded in the arts/entertainment program feature segment for Art Dads. Cody Sheehy was awarded a statue in the documentary-topical category for Earthlight. Zac Ziegler's work on the Mount Lemmon Lookout piece was award worthy under environment, news story/single feature. Thomas Kleespie, Robert Lindberg, Martin Rubio and Steve Bayless were honored for Raptors! Kings of the Sky, in the Environment, Program/Special category.

For Historic/Cultural Program/Feature Segment, Sandra Westdahl won a Rocky Mountain Emmy for Labeled as Art. Mitchell Riley's Community Kitchen landed a Magazine Program feature/segment award. Under the Military Program/Feature or Program/Special segment, John Booth was awarded for his work on Arizona Illustrated #110 Veterans Stories. Gisela Telis and Andrew Brown garnered an award for Gathering Glass, a winner in the Societal Concerns, Program Feature/Segment category.

Other Tucson station's weren't without representation. KOLD TV took home some statues. Among them, photographer/editor Paul Durrant in the Teen 13 and Up News: Single Story/Series/Feature category and sports anchor Dave Cooney, who has been well represented in these competitions over the years. He garnered an honor for On-Camera Talent Anchors in sports.

Other than KUAT and some Phoenix stations, BYU Broadcasting was also heavily represented. The Rocky Mountain Emmy Southwest Chapter covers Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and El Centro, CA.

Buckmaster receives HOF award

Rocky Mountain Emmy winners weren't the only ones collecting honors over the weekend. A couple days before that event, Bill Buckmaster, whose work, coincidentally, as the former anchor on AZPM's flagship program Arizona Illustrated, accepted his place as part of the latest class in the Arizona Broadcasters Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale.

"It was an amazing experience to be in the same room with so many Arizona broadcasting legends," said Buckmaster via a conversation on Facebook. "Everyone has a story to tell and I have been telling people's stories in print and on radio and TV for nearly 50 years. I can not think of a more gratifying profession."

Following a lengthy stint on Arizona Illustrated, Buckmaster has parlayed his objective interviewing approach into a well-regarded radio program that airs from noon-1 on KVOI 1030 AM.

Buckmaster enjoyed the event with fellow Tucson Broadcast Hall of Famers Ray Lindstrom (class of 2014), Bobby Rich (class of 2013) and 2003 HOF honoree and former KUAT GM Jack Parris, "the best TV GM I have ever worked with," Buckmaster said.

Cumulus delivers strong numbers in summer radio ratings

Following three ratings periods where numbers tumbled, country music format KIIM 99.5 FM showed an impressive turnaround in the Nielsen ratings summer book. That's good and bad. Good because getting a significant listener bump is always a positive. Bad because for advertisers looking into radio as an option, the summer ratings book in Tucson is far and away the least meaningful, and often largely ignored.

Even so, KIIM's rebound was one of the stories for the Cumulus cluster, which also received positive response for two of its other formats.

Among listeners 12-plus, classic hits format KHYT 107.5 FM placed third in the market. That's the stations best showing ever. That number benefited from the dramatic decline of top-40 station KRQQ 93.7 FM, which had topped the market, by far, in the three previous, more important ratings cycles. KRQ slipped to fourth.

Cumulus has to be ecstatic about the continuing rise of classic hip-hop format KSZR 97.5 FM. That signal, almost an afterthought at Cumulus after it had floundered for years with a variety of stale programming efforts, also set a first by cracking the top-10. It placed seventh overall. A stellar book indeed for a station more familiar with landing near the bottom among FM representation.

The summer book was good news for the Lotus Broadcast Group as well. Classic rocker KLPX 96.1 FM placed sixth overall while new rocker/alternative format KFMA 102.1 FM checked in at No. 7. Lotus also had the two highest ranked Spanish language music stations in the market: KCMT 92.1 FM and KTKT AM 990/FM 94.3, although it placed in a tie with a 2.1 share alongside Spanish language formats KZLZ FM 105.3 and iheartmedia owned KTZR 1450 AM.

While the numbers were good for Cumulus and Lotus, they remained problematic for Scripps. Its lynchpin station, KMXZ 94.9 MIXfm, placed second overall, but its other signals were outperformed when compared to similar formats operated by other clusters.

Quick disclosure: To provide an idea as how outdated and statistically uncertain the Tucson radio ratings process is, I was asked to fill out a diary for a week during the summer 2015. It marks the second time that happened in four ratings periods.

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