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Media Watch

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NUÑEZ LET GO BY KGUN

The Steve Nuñez morning-anchor experiment has come to an end at KGUN Channel 9. The station confirmed it parted ways with Nuñez last Friday, Sept. 28.

Not that it was much of a secret: Nuñez, who did not respond to a request for comment, let the world know about the situation on his Facebook page.

"I'm SADDENED! I can't STOP CRYING! BUT at the same time I'M PROUD that I accomplished my childhood DREAM of becoming a NEWS ANCHOR in Tucson. I'm GRATEFUL for the opportunity KGUN 9 gave me. I gave it My BEST. And, while it wasn't good enough for our viewers, it was GOOD enough for ME, Camila and my family! I lost my job. But I walk away knowing I POURED MY HEART and SOUL into it."

Meanwhile, KGUN has named Valerie Cavazos weekend anchor, replacing Tammy Vo, who left Tucson after a five-year stint to be closer to her husband, former KGUN sportscaster Jake Knapp, who now works in Phoenix. Vo, who grew up in the Phoenix area, graduated from Arizona State University and has family there.

Vo is uncertain about her future in broadcasting, but she's pursuing an MBA at the UA's Eller College of Management campus in Scottsdale, which she hopes may open up new opportunities.


IF YOU REALLY LIKE MICHAEL JACKSON ...

I mean, if you REALLY like Michael Jackson, KWFM AM 1330 could be the place for you.

The, shall we say, "quirky" station, owned by Dr. Stanley Sprei and operated by Dawn Avalon, returned to the airwaves over the weekend after an on-air absence. But instead of broadcasting its previous format, liberal talk, the station offered a heaping dose of Michael Jackson.

Just how heaping? All Michael Jackson. All the time.

Last week, as some regular readers of Media Watch might recall, I visited the station in an effort to find out why it had been off the air for a week. I was asked whether I was "with the police force" before having the door slowly closed on me.

For those who called the station, the pat explanation for the lack of programming was that the station was waiting on a piece of equipment. Well, it apparently arrived, but perhaps with a stipulation: The equipment will only allow you to play one artist.

On Monday, Oct. 1, KWFM was on its third day of Jackson tunes. To the station's credit, the playlist was varied, from his numerous singles to lengthy club remixes and live performances.

It's possible that this is some terribly marketed gimmick to try to bring attention to a new format. Radio stations do this sort of thing all the time. For instance, when it flipped from its Bob format to Top 40, KSZR FM 97.5 played 10,000 songs in a row without commercial interruption. Well, not really 10,000 different songs. It was more like 14 songs in a continuous loop until they had played a total of 10,000 times.

Perhaps KWFM is doing a variation of the same thing. Announcing the station name only at the top of the hour—sometimes smack-dab in the middle of a song—is either an excellent effort at creating on-the-fly new Michael Jackson mixes, or a curious approach to a new trend known as "low-key" marketing.

Or KWFM may be taking its new moniker literally. A few months ago, during its call-letter changeover from KJLL to KWFM, the station rebranded itself from The Jolt to The Star. And the late Jackson certainly remains a star—perhaps the only one who will get play on what may or may not be the new 1330.

It also makes sense, in KWFM's wacky world of backward logic, to make a format change after the departure of Alan Michaels. When Michaels was hired earlier this year as operations manager, a flip to a music format seemed likely. After all, Michaels spent more than three decades in music radio and is one of the better-known local personalities. However, a change didn't happen during Michaels' brief tenure—so, naturally, something occurred once he left.


I97.5 FEATURES A REAL, LOCAL PERSON

Someone local on a Tucson Top 40 station? 'Tis true.

Carrie Moten began broadcasting with an actual live microphone on Monday, Oct. 1, from the studios of Cumulus' i97.5, KSZR FM. Moten has been working a number of remotes for the station since it flipped formats a few months ago, but is now locked down in the midday shift, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

"I'm so excited to be back in Tucson doing what I love," Moten said. "Not only is Tucson my hometown—so every day, I'm right here talking about what goes on right here—I'm also able to give back to the very same community that has supported me from the start of my career in 2003."

Moten was part of the Johnjay and Rich morning show when it was broadcast live from Clear Channel's KRQQ FM 93.7 studios. She relocated to Phoenix along with the program a few years ago, but eventually parted ways with the duo, who are syndicated on various regional Clear Channel stations. Nearly all of KRQ's programming is in some way syndicated or automated. Even though it has a fancy studio at its building at Fort Lowell and Oracle roads, the facility is rarely occupied. "Local" hasn't been part of the equation for some time.

The same was true of 97.5 FM, which was completely automated during its Bob format run and stayed that way with the i97.5 format flip—until Monday.

"I'm a bona fide music freak. New artists are constantly popping up, and I am really passionate about introducing them to the mainstream audience," said Moten, who also expects to cover celebrity gossip during her five-hour shift. "I also really want to dig in and get into all the cool local events, concerts, charities and fundraisers happening here, too. It's the biggest benefit to living in the city you broadcast. You get to really physically get involved."

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