PARISI AND KVOI PART WAYS
Political talk-show-host Jim Parisi and KVOI AM 1030 conducted business from different locations: Parisi hosts his show from a studio that doubles as an Internet-television broadcast facility near Country Club Road and Broadway Boulevard; KVOI's studios are on Richey Avenue, off Palo Verde Road.
Even though many radio shows conduct programming from remote studio locations, that component and Parisi's independent streak played major roles in KVOI's decision to end its relationship with Parisi's radio program, which aired from 8 to 10 a.m., weekdays, after the Friday, Oct. 28, show.
"I got an e-mail at 9:58 on Friday, and it says, 'I'm sorry it's come to this point. We won't be carrying The Jim Parisi Show after today. I know your desire from the start was trying to do the Independent Voice Project, but it's difficult for us trying to make the 'independent' part work,'" Parisi said.
Good News Radio and KVOI general manager Doug Martin explained the decision: "I had high hopes for the program, but it never really reached my expectation level in terms of listener development and the financial end of things. Jim wants to be independent and not in a situation where he was controlled or coached or anything, so that made it difficult on our end. I wanted to move to something that actually worked better for us. Dennis Miller always did well for us, ratings-wise. We've taken a dip ever since we took him off, so we thought that would be a good move. We're also looking at developing more local talent. That's something I'll continue to work on."
Martin says Parisi's nonpartisan political approach—he's just as likely to have differences with conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats—was not the problem.
"Being in another building and another location made it difficult for us to connect with Jim," Martin said. "He had a producer there; we had a producer on our end, and the communication just wasn't there. The overall cooperation with promotions and other things we're doing with the station ... Jim made it clear he really didn't want to be a part of that. That makes it difficult. Our main concern is the radio station. His main concern is the program. We had conflicting concerns."
While Parisi and Martin say the overall relationship was good, there were a couple of specific instances in which philosophies butted heads.
"We shy away from letting advertisers determine what is on the show. I'm old-school that way," Parisi said. "I'm not saying we don't favor an advertiser, all things being equal; everybody pretty much does that in this business, but I said no a couple times when they said, 'We'd like to tell you that John Smith is going to be your attorney when you read some local thing on the air; Mary Jones will be your stock person when we need a stock opinion.' I (didn't want them) naming my experts based on sales. That was the only time we had that sort of discussion."
Both parties now need to re-evaluate their respective approaches. For Parisi, he must figure out how to more effectively monetize his Internet radio/TV model, accessible at jimparisi.com.
"Clearly, getting money on the Internet is not an easy prospect," said Parisi. "I wasn't making so much money at KVOI that this was the kind of hit people might see it as. I probably made in the vicinity of high $20,000s, low $30,000s (per year in income). If I can get close to that this way, which I don't think is outrageous to think—three grand a month—then we'll be happy. We were very independent in all ways, and we were the only ones doing it like that on the station, so that got old for Doug, I guess.
"There will be some sort of a hit among listeners and viewers, but there's such a limited growth area. Two years of being on KVOI, and I got the listeners I'm going to have, and that's it. It's daunting to know you're stuck with just the Tucson audience, and it's a certain type of audience."
Meanwhile, Martin recognizes the changes occurring on the radio side, and even though he's replaced Parisi with Miller's syndicated offering, the pursuit of a greater local presence is a high priority.
"The future of radio is going to be local," Martin said. "I was talking with some TV people last week, and they say the future of television is going to be local. They're dealing with networks doing their own thing, and people being able to get their programming in other ways than over the air or cable picking up their station. We're seeing the same thing. I love the national programs we have, but as time goes on, those programs will be attainable in other ways, so we need to develop more local talent.
"I agonized over (the Parisi decision) for months. I like Jim a lot personally. I was hoping this would really take off, with his background and having the top show (formerly) over at KNST (AM 790). I was hoping that would translate over here. It's a sad situation for us."
CHRIS AND JENNIE FALL OFF MOUNTAIN IN LATEST ROUND OF CUTS
Another swath of layoffs has hit Clear Channel radio.
Estimates placed the employee downsizing in the hundreds nationally—but since Clear Channel owns so many properties, the actual cuts per market were not as dramatic as the company's massive cutback was a couple of years ago.
Jennie Grabel, Carlos Zeta and a promotions position were trimmed locally last week. Grabel was part of KWMT FM 92.9's morning show for a number of years and seemed to be the rock in what was a revolving door of pairings in The Mountain's prime slot, which, while popular, ultimately struggled to deliver the kinds of numbers the station wanted.
Jennie's morning-show partner, station program director Chris Patyk, followed Jennie out the door on Monday, Oct. 31.
Zeta was the program director at Clear Channel's Top 40 Spanish-language offering, KTZR FM 97.1, aka Mia. Regional Mexican format KCMT FM 102.1, owned by Lotus, is the dominant music-driven Spanish language format in the market. And in the last book, KZLZ FM 105.3 had better 12-plus numbers than KTZR.