KVOA'S MOONEY PARTICIPATES IN 1,000TH EPISODE OF 'RAW'
KVOA Channel 4 weekend anchor Sean Mooney was the first person in the Tucson broadcast pipeline to cut his teeth with World Wrestling Entertainment (the World Wrestling Federation when he worked there). He was also the first to appear on the organization's flagship program, Raw. Last week, he was asked to return as Raw celebrated its 1,000th episode.
"They've never had a rerun," Mooney said of the USA Network's Monday-night mainstay, which first aired in January 1993. "It's been on every week. My claim to fame is, I was the first person ever seen on the show. I was on the street welcoming everybody. The whole shtick was (fellow commentator) Bobby Heenan trying to sneak in, and I keep running into him dressed up in these costumes, as a woman, as a Hasidic Jew. Fast-forward 999 episodes later, and they asked me to come back and appear on the show. Channel 4 was gracious enough to let me go."
Mooney was one of a number of ex-WWE personalities to appear on last week's three-hour broadcast from St. Louis. The show spent more time focusing on past accomplishments than current storylines, although Mooney's brief appearance, as a backstage interviewer, helped propel one of the few current angles.
"You wait around forever, because it's a three-hour show, and you really don't have any idea what you're doing until a writer runs up to you and hands you a piece of paper and says, 'Here's your cameo,'" Mooney said. "Mine was doing a vintage-style backstage interview with Daniel Bryant (a wrestler-turned-jilted-groom earlier in the show). My entire face time was about 12 seconds."
But in that brief window, Mooney was able to tap into some of the personality traits that stayed with him during his four-year stint with the organization. Part of a wrestler's or character's gimmick is to adopt a catch phrase or personality quirk that leaves a memorable impression. Beyond simple recognition, it's also an opportunity to get the live audience involved when that performer makes an appearance. Think "Austin 3:16" or "opening a can of whoop-ass" for Stone Cold Steve Austin, or, "Do you smell what the Rock is cooking?" for wrestler-turned-actor-turned-part-time-wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Mooney was doing this stuff long before those guys were pulling down multimillion dollar deals.
"They got in the Sean Mooney 'who.' Bobby Heenan coined that after I left there," Mooney said. "Whenever ... they'd mention my name ... he'd say 'Sean Mooney, who?' (Ringside announcer) Michael Cole did that. They threw it to me, I said thanks, asked Daniel Bryant a question, and that was about it. I did get my vintage raised eyebrow as they cut out. They didn't want you to say anything (after the wrestler cut his promo and left), so they go to you, and the guy with the camera keeps the shot, and so I'd raise an eyebrow as a sort of, 'What was that?' I don't know if anybody caught that, but I wanted to get that in there."
But the best part of the 36-hour experience for Mooney was bringing his son along.
"The one stipulation was I wanted to bring my 12-year-old son, and they said sure," Mooney said. "I anchored Sunday night (the 10 p.m. news on KVOA), got about four hours of sleep, and dragged my son out of bed to catch a flight to St. Louis. It was an awesome experience. They couldn't have been more welcoming to me. It was great to see all the guys I had worked with back then. They were awesome to my son. Roddy Piper put a kilt on him and gave him a T-shirt. I thought he wanted to adopt him."
Mooney preceded two other WWE broadcasters with Tucson ties, former KOLD Channel 13 TV sportscaster Todd Grisham, who has since jumped to ESPN; and ring announcer Justin Roberts. Although his return was brief, Mooney's involvement with a cable-television institution certainly got him recognition.
"KVOA made me Twitter, and I had to start an account. Before I went, I had like 19 followers. Just this week, I have over 600," Mooney said. "The reaction on the Internet—I was totally blown away. The comments were very positive and very nice. I really appreciate it.
"I have stayed in touch on and off (with the WWE) over the years and still know a lot of guys in the organization. I feel close to that organization. It's always been great to me. It was an awesome experience, and very special that I got to take my son with me and see his reaction."
KGUN NAMES WEEKEND SPORTS ANCHOR
KGUN Channel 9 has hired Kayla Anderson as weekend sports anchor. Anderson has spent the last three years as the sports director for KECI TV in Missoula, Mont. Prior to that, she worked TV sports beats in Spokane, Wash.; Montgomery, Ala.; and Bend, Ore.
Anderson starts Aug. 20. She replaces Jake Knapp, who accepted a sports-reporting position in Phoenix.
LIBS MISSED THEIR TALK RADIO
Media Watch got a few emails last week (that's a lot by Media Watch standards) fretting about what the crap was going on at KWFM 1330 AM. For two days, the radio station veered from its progressive-talk format, and listeners who were expecting the likes of Ed Schultz and other Romney-bashing liberal talkers were instead treated to a familiar voice from Tucson's music-radio scene.
Operations Manager Alan Michaels sat behind the mic and played some tunes because one of KWFM's satellite feeds went kaput. Said satellite is apparently the exclusive home of almost all of KWFM's syndicated progressive-talk lineup. So without a satellite feed, Michaels improvised by doing what he's done for three decades: play songs.
All was back to normal by midweek, and fans could once again hear about the evils of the 1 percenters and the awesomeness of all things President Obama.