"The magazine in and of itself is three parts: there's sports, family and life," Howell said. "The sports will talk about the performance and the athletes and facilities and things of that nature. The family portion will talk about fitness. Life is more balance."
With a projected run of 10 issues a year--monthly during the school year and once over the summer--Howell views Tucson Sport as something of a countermeasure in the sit-in-front-of-the-TV-and-play-video-games era.
"If you look at the medical environment, childhood obesity rates, sedentary lifestyles, the increase in sports-related injuries and the lack of available funding in a research capacity this year, we wanted to provide a high-quality resource for the families who are running themselves crazy trying to bring little Johnny to karate, to gymnastics, to softball, to all the other sports out there."
The magazine's advisory council is filled with government and corporate interests, and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona penned a column for Tucson Sport's debut issue. The list of advertisers is impressive for a fledgling publication. The "children are our future" approach has natural appeal, and Howell hopes the magazine can act as something of a conduit to improve the overall well-being of Tucson's youth.
"I think they coordinate activity with sports, so if you're not playing competitive sports, there's no room for activities," Howell said. "We wanted to pull all the sports and activities together. It's a very collaborative effort, starting with the governor's office, the mayor's office (and) the UA, coming together with a quality editorial and advisory council that we can output in a high-quality, full-color magazine and Web site."
Former KGUN Channel 9 news anchor Colleen Bagnall is editor in chief.
"I am thrilled to be focusing on athletes under the age of 14," Bagnall said in her editor's welcome in the debut issue. "These are the players who never get the headlines, but deserve every bit of the attention! My goal as editor in chief is to visit the soccer fields, karate studios, tennis courts and every sporting place in between, looking for Tucson's outstanding youth athletes."
Said Howell, "Our focus is that we can come together on an individual, corporate, government and private-sector basis for the health and well-bring of our children, and that's what should drive our decisions."
Tucson Sport magazine has a targeted distribution of 300 sites, including YMCAs, the Jewish Community Center and Tucson Parks and Recreation locations. The initial print runs will consist of 15,000 issues, but the circulation goal is 30,000 per month. Subscription information is included in the magazine and at the publication's Web site.
CATTRACKS.NET UNDER NEW OWNERSHIPAnother sports-related .net designation, cattracks.net, a privately operated sports Web site dedicated to University of Arizona athletics, announced new ownership in early February. Phoenix investor Scott Gossett is the new site publisher. It's the latest in a long, involved changeover that came to a head during bankruptcy proceedings that brought an end to Cat Tracks magazine's 14-year print run.
"I am thrilled to have Scott come on board," said editor in chief Brad Allis, who sits about 7 feet away from me during pregame and postgame broadcasts of UA football and basketball games on KCUB-AM 1290. "He is aggressive and passionate about Wildcat sports and has great ties to the Wildcat community."
An Internet extension of Cat Tracks, at one time a weekly and later a monthly publication, has been in existence since the late '90s, but has endured numerous changes. It began as an independent Web site, but eventually joined the Rivals network. About five years ago, Rivals split, and cattracks.net joined the scout.com group, now owned and operated by Fox Sports. In essence, Rivals and scout are nationally operated umbrella companies that host a multitude of sports Web sites.
When the former owners of Cat Tracks, the Avery Group, filed for bankruptcy in October, it left the future of the Web site in uncertain waters. Allis and football editor Chris Bonney continued to provide content until Gossett won approval from scout.com six months later.
"Chris, Brad and I are basically equal partners in this venture," said Gossett, a UA graduate who owns Vision Point Realty in Phoenix. "They will continue to do what they do best: writing about Wildcat sports. I will add my expertise in marketing and business in an attempt to continue to improve the site."
As is the case with most sites on the network, cattracks.net's main focus is recruiting, a hotbed that has a tendency to attract some of sportsdom's more fanatical followers.
Cattracks.net has 4,162 registered members and boasts a 20 percent growth in online subscriptions since October.
KGUN TABS INTERIM NEWS DIRECTORWendy MacNeil has stepped in to handle news director duties at KGUN until the ABC affiliate can fill the position on a permanent basis. MacNeil has filled in for other Journal television stations under similar circumstances. She once occupied the news director slot at KTTV Channel 11 in Los Angeles.
KGUN continues to look for a full-time replacement for Fernando Lopez, who accepted a position as senior news director for ESPN's Spanish-language network in December.