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Buckmaster adds another Hall of Fame honor to resume

Two down. Only 48 more to go.

Just last year Bill Buckmaster was recognized by the Arizona Broadcasters Hall of Fame for his decades of familiar work as the lynchpin of Arizona Illustrated, the then nightly news program that aired on Tucson PBS affiliate KUAT TV.

A year later, it has happened again. This time, the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame has honored Buckmaster, based on radio work he did in Las Vegas before he accepted the Arizona Illustrated position in the mid-80s.

"Getting word of the upcoming induction into the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame is so special and exciting," said Buckmaster via email. "Speaking of exciting, it was a great time to be a young journalist working at the number one station KORK-AM in Las Vegas and contributing tons of stories to NBC Radio News. The highlight was covering the so-called Mormon Will trial after the death of Howard Hughes in the mid-70s."

The trial centered on an alleged encounter Hughes had with a gas station attendant. That attendant, Melvin Dummar, claimed the eccentric industrialist left 1/16 of his fortune to Dummar. After a trial that lasted six months, a jury rejected that assessment. The desert encounter inspired the movie Melvin and Howard.

And that wasn't the only piece of cinema that reflected Buckmaster's tenure in Sin City.

"The film 'Casino' with Robert De Niro parallels my time in Las Vegas from 1974 to 1979," Buckmaster said. "In those days, Las Vegas was still an 'adult town,' not the so-called family friendly destination it evolved into."

Buckmaster's five-year tenure in the Silver State was the minimum to be considered, but in that short period of time he got noticed as a shrewd judge of talent.

"As news director at KORK Radio, I put together a legendary news team including Steve Herman, who is now Voice of America correspondent in Asia, and Jackie Glass, who went on to become a judge in Las Vegas," said Buckmaster. "Jackie is known as the judge who put OJ Simpson away in 2013. I hired Jackie and brought her to Las Vegas from Savannah, Georgia, where she was an entry-level radio reporter."

Buckmaster left Vegas in 1979 for a reporter/anchor position with KICU TV in San Jose, CA., where he spent eight years. From there, he accepted the opportunity with Arizona Illustrated that most defined his career.

"This has been quite the 12 months for me. Last year Arizona and now Nevada," said Buckmaster, who learned of the honor while in Boston prepping for a European vacation highlighted by stops in Portugal and the island of Madeira. "I am so honored and humbled for my work to be recognized by my peers in the industry."

The Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame ceremony is scheduled for August 20 at the Four Seasons in Las Vegas.

"(I) don't expect any more Hall awards," said Buckmaster, who hosts "The Buckmaster Show," weekdays at noon on KVOI AM 1030, "but then again, this one was a total surprise!"

KIIM still stuck in a ratings slog

The latest winter radio ratings reflected well on KMXZ, 94.9 Mix Fm, which claimed the top spot in the overall 12-plus category. Lotus-owned classic rocker KLPX 96.1 FM vaulted to fourth during the ratings period and Lotus new rocker KFMA FM 102.1 enjoyed a significant surge as well.

However, stagnation continues for market country music standard bearer KIIM FM 99.5, which finished third overall, but barely exceeded a 7 share, well off the familiar territory the station enjoyed as recently as two years ago when it routinely flirted with numbers closer to the 10 range.

Of the last six ratings periods, KIIM has been on the positive end of one strong book: the summer of 2015. Unfortunately, for KIIM, summer numbers in Tucson are largely ignored by advertisers.

And it isn't because of that rebranding down the road from iheartmedia country music contender KYWD FM 97.1. Remember when iheartmedia launched "Wild Country," (hence, the call letters), and then made that huge announcement in November to rebrand itself as "The Bull?" Yeah, nobody else noticed either. KYWD registered a paltry 1.3, solidifying its spot as the lowest rated cluster owned FM in the market.

KIIM wasn't the only station that didn't reach desired expectations. The book was also unkind to Lotus owned regional Mexican music format KCMT 92.1 FM, which dropped from a 5.6 in the last book to a 3.2. However, the 3.2 was more in line with other recent ratings results, which suggests the 5.6 number registered in the fall book may be an anomaly.

Cumulus owned KSZR FM 97.5 had its worst book since flipping from some generic hits thing to classic hip-hop a couple years ago. Its 2.6 rating was a point off more familiar territory. Maybe that 12-song playlist piped in from Cumulus headquarters has something to do with the novelty of a really good format idea wearing a tad thin.

KNST AM 790 bested Scripps-owned news/talk competitor KQTH 104.1 FM 3.1 to 2.1.

Iheartmedia had four of the market's top 10 stations. Lotus and Cumulus had three apiece.

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