METROMIX GETS LOCAL NIX
Two years after the death of the Tucson Citizen, one might think that things are a bit more streamlined at the local newspaper compound at Park Avenue and Irvington Road—but attempting to determine what's under the auspices of the Arizona Daily Star and its Lee Enterprises ownership group, and what's considered Gannett property, which has its mitts in TucsonCitizen.com, can remain confusing.
Recently, some big-time executive-type mucky-mucks from Gannett and Lee conducted a series of hush-hush meetings at the compound that was once Tucson Newspapers (TNI), leading to a rash of predictable and logical rumor-mongering over the future of the ownership. The consistent and lingering thread: Gannett would ultimately like to purchase the Arizona Daily Star from Lee, which is attempting to stay afloat amidst waves of mounting debt.
Whether any sale discussions actually took place during the mucky-muck conference is only known for sure by those connected with the mucky-mucks—but there was something definitive that came out of those discussions: The Star has discontinued its relationship with Metromix, an online Tucson entertainment guide that bore a resemblance to other out-on-the-town types of sources.
Metromix was originally a near-casualty of the Tucson Citizen's print closure and was stuck in limbo until then-TNI president Mike Jameson reconfigured it under the TNI umbrella. Upon his departure, Metromix was moved to the Arizona Daily Star. The Star made the decision to cut its relationship with Metromix last month.
The good news for those inside the Park/Irvington compound is that the employment casualty numbers are minimal. Editor Polly Higgins was the only full-time employee who worked on Metromix, and she remains with the Star's online department. Much of Metromix's content was provided by freelancers, and the most noteworthy contributor, Andi Berlin, was given 30 days' notice, shortening her year-long contract which was to conclude in September. Berlin's plans to relocate to Oakland, Calif., were pushed up as a result.
All that said, it appears that Metromix will still have life online, although despite the tucson.metromix.com designation, the site will be operated out of the main Metromix LLC location in Chicago, where Higgins says an employee there will post site-wide content such as movie and music reviews. Archived features created by Tucson personnel will remain available.
RADIOEXILES CONTINUES GROWTH—WITH ONE NOTABLE LOSS
Brian Baltosiewich's pioneering podcast project, radioexiles.com, continues to gain steam.
Baltosiewich rolled out version 3.0 of the site a couple of weeks ago, improving options for additional podcasts and advertising possibilities.
"We underestimated how quickly we would grow when we launched 2.0 in January," said Baltosiewich, who created radioexiles.com in Tucson, but has since relocated to Charlotte, N.C. "3.0 will allow us to add advertisers more cleanly and expand our podcast lineup that much more. It opens up the door for RSS feeds. RSS feeds allow our shows to be listed at places like iTunes and allow listeners to subscribe to individual podcasts. They can cherry-pick the shows they want right to their computers or smart phones. It also allows us to get involved with other delivery methods (such as online streaming platforms)."
Radioexiles.com, designed as a podcast hub for radio personalities who lost their jobs as part of the industry's ever-continuing downsizing, also announced the addition of three shows, bringing the total of weekly podcast contributors to 13.
Those shows include:
• Marketing Squad: "Three social networking consultants talk about social-media trends and (offer) advice revolving around Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare (and) LinkedIn," Baltosiewich said.
• Mother'Hood Radio: "Mommy blogs are really popular. It's two radio personalities from Charlotte who lost their jobs a couple of years ago. They met on a playground and realized they had something in common—not only their radio experience, but being moms," Baltosiewich said.
• Kristen: "For about 12 years, she hosted a show in Charlotte called the Budweiser Lounge with Jack Daniel. It was a hugely popular show in afternoon drive. It got canceled three or four years ago," said Baltosiewich, who expects to add two politically-themed shows from recently exiled Charlotte radio personalities by the end of the month.
Four Tucson-based shows remain attached: Tangents With Betsy and Dave (the Betsy being former KRQQ, KZPT, KIIM and KCUB morning co-host Betsy Bruce); Edmonds and Foster; Jonas and Andy, by the former KLPX morning hosts; and the Brad and Schu Experience, featuring Brad Allis and the doof who writes the Media Watch column for the Tucson Weekly.
However, sports-themed show Victor and Matt, which garnered a growing following due to the hosts' interviews with well-known guests, has parted ways with radioexiles.com.
"We had issues with the continual redesigning of the website and voiced those concerns, because it really inhibited our ability to properly promote the show," said Victor Rodriguez via e-mail. "We had major websites like ESPN, The Sporting News, USA Today and Yahoo! Sports link to individual shows that we had produced, but after multiple redesigns (and radioexiles.com's decision to move to another Web provider), those links went to dead ends. That was so disappointing from our end, because it takes a tremendous amount of work to get linked from those sites. Additionally, we were disappointed that issues like that and others could not be worked through, and Brian felt the need to cancel our show. Looking forward, though, the future is very bright. We retained all our old shows with some valuable interviews and will be starting our own website."
Rodriguez expects the new website to launch any day. Victor and Matt continue to blog at tucsoncitizen.com.
"Victor and Matt were a big part of radioexiles, and a big reason for what we've been able to accomplish, and we wish them the best moving forward," said Baltosiewich, who gave the pair their first on-air opportunity.