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Media Watch

KMSB Debuts Locally Produced Non-News Show

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Fox affiliate KMSB Channel 11 is scheduled to unveil its first locally produced non-news series, Tucson Treasures, this Saturday, Oct. 6, at 5:30 p.m.

"Whether you're a newcomer to Tucson or you've been here your whole life, I can guarantee you'll learn something new and interesting from each week's show," said host Gina Trunzo in a press release. "I've heard some remarkable stories and met some truly fascinating people throughout my travels."

Episode 1 focuses on Tucson landmarks Bookmans, Yikes! toy store and Lucky Wishbone.

"We have, for 25 years, promoted Tucson's unique attractions, heritage, culture and culinary intricacies to the world," said Rick Vaughan via press release. He's the vice president of the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau, which has partnered in the show's presentation. "Tucson Treasures allows us the opportunity to be a part of helping locals rediscover our home region so they can share Tucson's character with neighbors and visiting friends and family."

The plan is to produce original shows every week through the spring of 2008.

"We set a fairly aggressive production schedule, but one that gave us enough time to where they could actually do the shows in advance so we're not struggling to fill the show on Saturday, and here it is Wednesday, and we still need to shoot this and that," said KMSB general manager Tod A. Smith. "Right now, we probably have three or four shows in the can. Working in advance, you can take advantage of the calendar. You know when things like Day of the Dead are coming, and you can plan accordingly. That's the cool thing about laying it out as we go forward."

As is the case with most local affiliates, original content generally focuses on news-related matters. KMSB produces one nightly newscast; KVOA Channel 4, KGUN Channel 9 and KOLD Channel 13 have much larger staffs and, as a result, deliver a significantly higher volume of local news content. Plus, even KMSB's news anchor broadcasts from a studio in Phoenix.

KMSB has dabbled in locally produced programming with specific events like its Battle of the Bands promotion, but Tucson Treasures is the station's initial foray into first-run content on a weekly basis. Time will tell whether there's room for expansion.

"We're using this as an opportunity to see what the market is for it, and how the market receives it," said Smith "Right now, I can't say there's a cap; 'we're going to produce X hours of local,' but we're looking at every opportunity to do something that's unique, something that's local and something the people here will find compelling.

"As you look into the future of local television, the syndication business is a little more difficult, because there aren't as many things that come off in syndication. With reality (programming), you kind of limit the opportunity for those shows to be repurposed in syndication. What's going to happen is local broadcasters are probably going to go back to finding things that are appealing to people in their market. The technology has gotten such that you can do it for a lot less than you could 20 years ago. It may open up all kinds of opportunities for local production, local storytelling and things like that."


LOMONACO JOINS KUAZ, KUAT

Tucson's NPR/PBS wing, KUAZ 89.1 FM/1550 AM and KUAT Channel 6, has added award-winning documentary reporter Claudine LoMonaco to its lineup. LoMonaco recently left the Tucson Citizen as its border and immigration reporter over what she viewed as the Citizen's "hyperlocal" approach to the issue. She prefers the flexibility potential of her new position.

"There's viewership and listenership throughout Southern Arizona, so that's the area it wants stories from--Southern Arizona, Northern Mexico--and that's great for me, because I am interested in covering a wider array of topics," said LoMonaco from Turkey, where she is currently working on documentary and freelance material.

LoMonaco will appear more regularly on KUAZ, but will produce TV features for KUAT and Web-related content as well.

"The first piece I did for KUAZ aired two weeks ago, and NPR bought it," LoMonaco said. "It aired nationally last Saturday. That's the sort of thing this will allow me to do. I know how to do documentaries. I know how to do radio. This allows me to do all of that."

LoMonaco already has a successful résumé in public radio. Her border and immigration features are a regular staple of Marketplace, the business and economic program broadcast by American Public Media. LoMonaco's work has also appeared on the PBS program Frontline/World. She recently received a National Headliner Award for one of her pieces.


STEBBINS NEW EDITOR AT 'EXPLORER'

Dan Stebbins has stepped in as the new editor of the Explorer newspaper.

"This paper has a great reputation," said Stebbins, who left the Oser Group for the Explorer opportunity. "I'm not walking into a paper that needs to be rescued. It has a very strong staff."

Stebbins replaces Walt Nett. He is the third Explorer editor in less than a year.


STAND BY FOR ... A MOVE

Since Citadel acquired the local rights to Paul Harvey, pulling him from longtime radio home KNST AM 790, it has placed the legendary storyteller on KCUB AM 1290 The Source (a part-time employer of mine). That is about to change.

Citadel is in the process of moving the popular block of programs--News and Comment and The Rest of the Story--to KTUC AM 1400. The transition makes sense. KCUB 1290's edgier talk approach continues to inch closer to a younger demographic, while Harvey--probably the most sought-after commodity for the elderly listening audience--could work as an anchor to KTUC's oldies format.

"To say the least, I am thrilled to have Paul Harvey joining the lineup on 1400 KTUC," said program director Jim Bednarek.

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