Bud Foster, one of Tucson's more familiar television-reporting personalities, underwent heart-bypass surgery last week.
Foster has worked in the market for well more than 20 years, with stints at all three major network affiliates. He was KOLD Channel 13's political specialist prior to the surgery. Foster is expected to return to that role once he recovers.
"He's a lucky man and recuperating and gaining strength," said KOLD vice president and general manager Jim Arnold. "His spirits are good. He's doing very well."
CORTEZ REPLACES BATEMAN DOING KOLD MORNING TRAFFICDee Cortez is now giving KOLD viewers the breakdown on the Tucson traffic flow.
Cortez, who had been filling in since the holidays, was named to the position in mid-January. She may be most familiar to TV viewers as the former traffic reporter for KGUN Channel 9. Cortez has also held radio stints with Journal Broadcast Group-owned KGMG FM 106.3 (Mega 106.3) and most recently participated on the KOHT FM 98.3 morning show.
"Experienced, good, we're glad to have her," said Arnold.
She fills the void left by Mark Bateman, who made the decision to step aside after nearly six years in the position. Bateman's video-transferring business, Flicko's Video Workshop, has picked up steam, and as a result, time constraints forced his exit.
"It was a matter of quality of life," Bateman said. "I left KIIM FM (99.5) about 2 1/2 years ago to start this, and I was working at (KOLD), but I was done (with traffic reports) at 8 in the morning. I figured since we didn't open until 10 a.m., I'd continue to do it.
"It just got to the point where there was no quality of life. I'd get up at 3:30 a.m., get home at night at 6:30, go to bed at 7. Weekends, (my wife and I are) up here most of Saturday, and Sunday at about 3 o'clock, it was time to think about doing it all over again. Flicko's is doing really good. I really didn't need to do (the traffic at KOLD). I just sort of wanted to keep my foot in it. It was fun for a long time, but at some point, you just have to make a decision."
Bateman stays connected to the industry through a home studio, where he continues to voice-track occasional ads for Cox Cable and produce his own commercials, but for the most part, the opportunity to focus on transferring material--including film, reel-to-reel, 8 tracks and albums--to DVD or CD has made Bateman's life seem a whole lot more normal.
"I get up to have breakfast with my wife, and we sit down and do a lot of my audio work. She's my critic," Bateman said. "We'll sit in the den, and she'll say, 'I think (you) can do that better.' All of a sudden, she's an expert. It's really fun. She does help me a lot. We do our (voice spots), have breakfast, chat, and we're off to work. It's really, really nice."
Said Arnold, "We miss him, and we love him. We wish him nothing but the best. It was just a matter of time for him to run his own business, so good for Mark."
KGUN NABS REITZ FOR MORNING SLOTIan Reitz made his debut as morning-show co-anchor at KGUN Channel 9 a couple of weeks ago.
The Tucson move was a step up from his weekend-anchor/weekday-reporter position at the NBC affiliate in El Paso, Texas. In addition to the jump in market size and the higher-profile on-air position, Reitz was able to make a move to an area where topics related to the border are of utmost priority.
"The border issues fascinate me," Reitz said. "It's an interesting time we're in right now with the immigration debate."
The cultural impact of Latin America has been a focal point for Reitz for some time, and it's a large part of the reason he earned his broadcasting degree with an emphasis on international relations.
"I want to be an informed journalist, and what better way than to take classes and engage in discussion and that sort of thing?" Reitz said. "I spent some time in Costa Rica, Panama and Cuba, where I took advantage of a travel abroad program, volunteer work. That was a big part of my experience."
Reitz replaces Phil Buehler, who left to take a prime-time anchor position in Traverse City, Mich.
"It's a great crew," Reitz said. "It's really fun. (Co-anchor) Kimberly Romo and the other folks are great to work with."
MARTINEZ JOINS KGUN REPORTING STAFFKGUN plucked another employee from El Paso in general-assignment reporter MaryAnn Martinez.
Martinez grew up in El Paso and attended Baylor University, then landed a job with the CBS affiliate. As with Reitz, the Tucson move has double benefits: It's a step up in market size, and it allows her to continue, among other things, a continued interest in border-related issues.
"This past April, I was invited to Mexico City through the Mexican Department of State," Martinez said. "They flew me down for an annual forum where they take 40 journalists from the U.S. and Canada, and I was one of the ones picked. You have to speak Spanish and cover border issues enough for the local consulate to suggest you get picked. It's really interesting. You hear about the economic impact (of) the money that comes back. You see immigration from the Mexican side."
She's also glad her stay in Tucson won't require a major wardrobe adjustment.
"I didn't want to work anywhere too cold," Martinez said. "I've lived in Texas my whole life, and anything under 70 degrees is way cold. We're out in the elements a lot. As the climate goes, the desert and mountains are similar. It's not on the border like El Paso, but it's near the border. I don't feel like I'm in Oz or anything."