The long-time KOLD Channel 13 sportscaster is now the CBS affiliate's morning-news co-host. It's the first time he's handled news duties full-time since he broke into the industry--some 13 years ago.
"(News) was my first job in Montana, where I was a weekend sports anchor and weekday news reporter," said Kilbury. "I really loved it, because it was the best of both worlds, but then an opportunity came up with a sports position, and I followed that lead."
Every opportunity that followed was in sports. Kilbury applied, and got serious consideration, for the lead-anchor position made available when KOLD parted ways with Randy Garsee. The station went with Dan Marries.
"I told them I'd be interested in a news-anchor position, and when that didn't come out ... I was approached about my interest if another one came available. At the time, I think they were thinking of the weekend opening that Dan vacated," Kilbury said. "Then the morning became available, and that was a far better opportunity. I'm on five days a week, and it's an opportunity just to improve as an anchor, because it's just news alone for two hours, five days a week. In sports, I'm on for three minutes, if that. ... In 13 years of doing it, I don't think I've improved as an anchor."
Morning news has a lighter, less-structured feel than the half-hour evening newscasts. Kilbury certainly does not lack in personality, as his skits on the station's "Overtime" segments leading into Friday high school football highlights attest. That kind of delivery can transfer well into the mornings.
"The morning position fits, since it gives you a chance to show personality," Kilbury said. "With regular newscasts, you have 18 to 22 minutes, and with this, you have two hours, and we can ad lib a little more."
Kilbury is at least the second local sportscaster to move to morning news. KGUN Channel 9's Phil Buehler handled sports for a number of years before making a strong transition, accented by his ability to react well in unpredictable circumstances. And those happen a lot with quick-witted personalities Len Johnson and Allen Kath. KGUN has found success in the mornings; Kilbury hopes to have a similar impact at KOLD.
"It's a big opportunity for me in the slot, and a big opportunity for Channel 13," said Kilbury, who debuted on Labor Day. "We're struggling somewhat there. It's kind of like what Mike Stoops says with his (UA) football recruits: This is something where you can be part of the rebuilding. That's how I'm looking at it."
KVOA COUNTERS WITH TAYLOR AS MORNING ANCHORIn television news, the Tucson-to-Phoenix pipeline is pretty active--though it's rare for people to head in this direction. But that's exactly the path Rebecca Taylor has taken.
A UA grad, Taylor interned at KVOA Channel 4 before landing her first news job in Great Falls, Mont. Eight months later, she was the first news reporter for KMSB Channel 11's 9 p.m. newscast. It wasn't long before Taylor made the leap to Phoenix, reporting for KTVK, the affiliate that actually houses KMSB's news anchors.
Despite her solid position in a Top 20 market, Taylor jumped at the opportunity to return to Tucson--market No. 61--to co-host KVOA's morning-news program.
"I'm just excited to be back," said Taylor. "It's not about the market move or money; it's about quality of life for me. Tucson is a great market. I know the community issues. I covered them first-hand. My family is there. I can't wait to take a leadership role on the anchor desk."
Taylor will team with Josh Benson and weather personality Matt Brode as the local NBC affiliate hopes to enhance its morning position.
"Believe it or not, I love the hours," Taylor said. "When I interviewed with Josh and Matt, it was one of those 'Ah!' moments, like Oprah says. We all nailed it. There was a connection there. I have no doubt we will have a lot of fun."
Taylor's start date has yet to be determined.
CMAS NOMINATE KIIM'S JACKSONKIIM FM 99.5 DJ and program director Buzz Jackson has been nominated for the Country Music Association's Medium Market Radio Personality of the Year.
"It's great to be able to represent Tucson at country music's biggest night," Jackson said. "The competition is pretty tight--they're all great radio people and great shows. It's a thrill to be included among some of these names, all of whom are active in their communities and with their listeners, too."
This is KIIM's third national nomination in two years. In 2006, the country-music power was nominated for Medium Market Station of the Year by the Academy of Country Music, while Jackson earned an ACM nomination for Medium Market Personality.
OEHLER THE NEW VOICE OF ARIZONA STADIUMJody Oehler, who has handled public-address responsibilities for Wildcat baseball games, begins his duties as the PA announcer for UA football games this Saturday.
"I've been working with them for a couple of years with baseball and some other sports," Oehler said. "They're great people to work with. I'm excited to know they think enough of my work to bring a little of it to Arizona Stadium. It's definitely going to be a different experience, so I'm excited to do that, and I'm excited to introduce some of my personality. It's going to take a little bit to find my comfort zone. I think it will be great."
Oehler hosts The Happy Hour, a sports-talk show that runs weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m. on KFFN AM 1490, "The Fan." That said, don't expect too many cheap plugs in front of the tens of thousands of potential listeners at Wildcat home games.
"Maybe when it's first-and-14, I can slip in a little "first-and-1490," or something like that," Oehler said.