by Dan Gibson
Unfortunate news from the world of local talk radio as John C. Scott will be off KVOI after his show Friday, with no plan to return to local airwaves.
Scott said KVOI president and manager Doug Martin told him Tuesday his show was incompatible with the conservative vision of the station.
“He said he was pressured by his board to remove the show and I can only take him at this word. They said we were incompatible with the rest of the station,” Scott said....
Martin said his board did not like the show and that he kept hearing from listeners that they were turning the show off at 3 p.m. because it seemed to them like an infomercial.
Scott sells sponsorships to his show and does remotes, lately on Tuesdays at the HabiStore and Fridays at the Tobacco Barn, where he spends a few minutes and the top and bottom of every hour interviewing the owners about their stores and specials.
“I like John, a lot. But we thought this was the best for the station and our listeners,” Martin said.
While yes, Scott's weekday time slot on what's ostensibly a Christian conservative talk station was a little strange, but a media landscape with plenty of conservative talkers, including a bunch of local ones who range in their understanding of local issues from entertainers with occasional flashes of intelligent thought to barely comprehensible, this is not just KVOI's loss, but Tucson's as a whole.
Despite the fact that John let me spend ten minutes or so on his show every week, he otherwise consistently had great guests, the policymakers of this city, this county and the state and he asked them tough questions, demanding that they take stands on the issues. Sure, his takes were more liberal than the Michael Medved and Hugh Hewiit shows that came on before and after Scott's show (and who will enjoy expanded time here in Tucson next week when Scott's gone), but in essence, John always attempted to be a voice for pragmatism and governments that work.
There's no argument that can be made that this decision was made in the public interest, but instead, KVOI's board, made up (as far as I can tell) of very conservative Christian types, seemingly tired of having to explain to their church friends why Scott's show got to be on air. I'll miss being on John's show and I'll miss it being on air. Surely, there are shows with better ratings (although in Tucson talk radio, the difference between "success" and "failure" can be the difference of a few hundred listeners), but I'm not sure there's a local show with more influence, that has a more accomplished and important listenership.
Ray Carroll upon hearing the news told Jim Nintzel "John is a legend who stretches back decades. He and [his wife] Amy and Mark [his son, who produces the show] have been so involved in the community...To do this right before Christmas is less than good timing."
Supervisor Carroll is right. It's definitely poor timing, but more importantly, it's a poor decision made shortsightedly by KVOI.