KEVT AM 1210 has dabbled with a number of Spanish language formats since it turned on the transmitter in 1985. That changed today (Friday, Jan. 31). Talk show host Jim Parisi, who over the summer told the Tucson Weekly he was pursuing efforts to operate a station, has made good on that promise.
Parisi is launching Power Talk 1210 beginning Feb. 17.
“We looked at three stations, two of them very seriously,” said Parisi. “We were talking with money folks for awhile, but it was tough to get it going and get everybody to shake hands and get it done. A lot of people don’t get the business done because they’ll haggle over what I think is a relatively small amount of money in the big picture, so I think the reason we finally got something done is maybe we’ll pay a couple grand more than the last group that tried to get it done. I would rather drive the car than not, and we’re in a situation where we can have some success.”
Parisi will act as station manager as part of a local marketing agreement. The 10,000-watt signal, which reduces power to 1,000 watts at night, will remain under the ownership of Armando Zamora, but Parisi has total control over content.
“I’ve come to a point that the only way to be happy is what I believe in. I’m not doing anything that doesn’t reflect how I truly feel, so it will be the most genuine station I can be a part of,” said Parisi, who announced the deal in front of a group of faithful supporters at a local Pizza Hut. “I’m going to have to thicken my skin and not worry if people say I don’t yell enough or if I’m open minded to something on the left. I’m at peace with that. I’m a strong, hard-hitting journalist when need be, but if I want to do comedy for 15 minutes, I’m doing it. There’s a market for that. I think the average person is deeper than just politics. I don’t want it to be just politics.”
It won’t be. KEVT will run mostly local newstalk programming weekdays from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., but then play Fox Sports syndicated programming overnight and for the most part on weekends.
“That’s one of the reason I went with sports as opposed to unknown national hosts overnight that only people who are political addicts would enjoy. I want to have all kinds of topics,” Parisi said. “The only rule I’m going to have is be open minded. I don’t care if you lean left or right. Be open minded. Listen to the callers, engage with them, you can be funny and give them grief, but be open minded. Some may see it as weakness. I see it as legit. If you really like the far right mandate right down the line, you’ll find fault in what we do. But we’ll have more women listening, we’ll have more well-rounded people listening. I’m the only political reporter out of all these (local talk show hosts) on the air, but I’m just not a guy who thinks and talks politics his whole life. That’s just a waste of people’s time. You don’t have to fight your fight every single second. If someone is some kind of activist, I respect what you’re doing but you don’t define yourself by it.”
Parisi will host his show weekdays from 7 to 10 a.m. The rest of the schedule has yet to be solidified, but he’s working on final details on a local afternoon host and expects to nail down the specifics on a lead-in program from 5 to 7 a.m. in the next few days. In the short term, a syndicated political talk show will likely hold down the fort mid-days.
“We should have more local programming than most anyone in town,” Parisi said. “We want to be as local, but as budget conscious as we can so that we don’t go away.”
And always with a focus on other perspectives.
“Our catch phrase is the power to think for yourself,” said Parisi. “I like coming in without taking over for something that talk radio listeners were already listening to. We’re bringing an alternative in.”