News director out at KGUN 9, was it low ratings? - Inside Tucson Business: Media Technology

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News director out at KGUN 9, was it low ratings?

INSIDE MEDIA: Wildcats throwdown

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Posted: Friday, August 21, 2009 12:00 am

After three years and five months as news director at KGUN 9, Lena Sadiwskyj is out of that job.

General Manager Julie Brinks said she couldn’t comment on personnel issues but said a search would begin to find her replacement.

According to word passed along from insiders, the announcement came during an afternoon news department meeting Aug. 19 when both Sadiwskyj and Brinks walked in together. Sadiwskyj announced she was leaving and, by the end of the day, she was gone.

Sadiwskyj couldn’t be reached for comment but others pointed to KGUN’s news ratings as a reason for her departure. The most recent ratings taken by Nielsen Media Research in May were particularly brutal for KGUN 9. Not only were its newscasts ranked behind both KOLD 13 and KVOA 4, the ratings were either down or flat over the past year.

Sadiwskyj came to KGUN in April 2006 from Phoenix where she had been an executive producer. Her 32-year career has also included stops in Orlando, Fla., Shreveport, La., teaching at the University of Missouri and working in both Toronto and Nova Scotia in Canada after graduating from the University of Toronto.

A sudden departure and other Wildcats news 

The University of Arizona’s new Arizona Wildcats Sports Network has been quite the center of news activity of late:

• Another sudden departure: Brent Seebohm resigned Aug. 13 from his position as vice president and general manager of the the UA’s marketing group IMG College. The resignation came just as Seebohm was leading the launch of the new network, which will be inaugurated with a live telecast of the UA’s Sept. 5 football opener against Central Michigan. The resignation caught many people inside McKale Center’s athletic offices by surprise, though some confided Seebohm had issues with others in the building. One person noted that Seebohm was not happy with how the auditions for announcers this year were handled and, in particular, he opposed removing Bob Elliott as the basketball analyst on TV coverage (see next item).

• It’s no surprise that Brian Jeffries continues as the “voice of the Wildcats” going into his 23rd year in that role on radio. This year he also carries the title of director of broadcasting. With him on football broadcasts will be analyst Lamont Lovett and pre-game host David Kelly on pre-game shows. Dana Cooper, who is doing some special magazine shows on other Wildcats sports, will be this year’s sideline reporter replacing Pedro Limon. Francisco Romero will continue to call the play-by-play on the Spanish language broadcasts. On the TV side, Dave Sitton comes over from Fox Sports Net for his 21st year calling play-by-play to be joined for football games by former UA and NFL offensive tackle John Fina as analyst and Glenn Howell as sideline reporter. Bigger changes will happen behind the mic during basketball season where Matt Muehlebach replaces Ryan Hansen as analyst with Jeffries on radio and Corey Williams replaces Bob Elliott with Sitton on TV.

• One of the drawbacks to the new Arizona Wildcats Sports Network is that by switching to broadcast stations within the state it limits the UA’s potential exposure outside of Arizona. Before he left, Seebohm announced deals had been signed to have the network’s games carried on a dozen regional sports networks around the country. The regional networks include 10 Comcast SportsNet operations covering the San Francisco Bay Area, Northern California (Oakland and Sacramento), Chicago, Southeast (Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia), Washington, D.C., New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont), New York, Portland, Ore., Philadelphia and the Mountain West (Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming). The other two regions that will get UA games are Cox San Diego Channel 4 and the Altitude Sports and Entertainment Network in Denver.

• This year’s radio network for Wildcats games in English consists of The Source KCUB 1290-AM and KHYT 107.5-FM in Tucson, KFNX 1100-AM Phoenix, KTAN 1420-AM Sierra Vista, KDAP 96.5-FM Douglas, KWRQ 102.3-FM Safford, KIKO 1340-AM Globe and KVWM 970-AM Show Low. Spanish language broadcasts will be on ESPN Deportes KTKT 990-AM Tucson and XENY 760-AM  Nogales, Sonora.  

Fox Sports Net says ‘we’ve got Wildcats’

The folks at Fox Sports Net want Wildcats’ fans to know that just because the UA has taken its TV rights away from them, they’ll still have plenty of coverage, starting at 7 p.m. tonight (Aug. 24) with a football pre-season show hosted by UA alums Todd Walsh and Glenn Parker.

On Aug. 29, Fox Sports Net Arizona will replay last season’s 13-10 Wildcats victory over Arizona State at 1 p.m., and then later that night it show four half-hour programs, from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. highlighting the UA’s victories last season over UCLA, Washington, California and ASU.

And just to further try to tantalize — or is it, taunt? — Wildcats fans, Fox Sports Net says that depending on how the TV selection process goes throughout the season, they could carry up to four football games: Sept 24 at Oregon State, Oct. 10 at Washington, Oct. 24 versus UCLA, and Nov. 7 versus Washington State.

Decisions on the coverage of those games will be announced no later than six days beforehand.

Fox Sports Net says it already knows it will show nine live telecasts of basketball games: Dec. 30 at 8:30 p.m. against North Carolina State, Jan. 10 at 1:30 p.m. against Washington, Jan. 16 at 2:30 p.m. at Oregon, Jan. 23 at Arizona State, Jan. 31 at 1:30 p.m. against California, Feb. 4 at 8:30 p.m. at Washington, Feb. 11 at 8:30 p.m. against Oregon, Feb. 13 at 2 p.m. against Oregon State and Feb. 21 at 1 p.m. against ASU. Fox Sports Net will also show every game from the Pac 10 tournament. Additionally, it say there are four more regular season games that might be picked up.

Sounds like we’ve got a throwdown.

Morning radio’s top 10

Just as happened in the overall radio ratings as reported two weeks ago, the deck was shuffled when it comes to the popularity of the morning shows — prime time on radio — with “Max, Shannon and Porkchop” on Citadel’s country station KIIM 99.5-FM taking over as the No. 1-rated show in the market and Clear Channel’s “Johnjay and Rich” falling into second place on KRQ 93.7-FM, according to Arbitron.

For all the changes in rankings, though, the top 10 highest rated shows this time around are the same top 10 highest rated shows from the last time around.

Republic fixes TV supplement

Weekly TV listings supplements are money losers for most newspapers. That’s one reason the Arizona Daily Star a couple of years back went to a cheaper-to-produce tabloid version of its supplement. But up the road in Phoenix, the Arizona Republic took another approach on their TV supplement that was losing $1.7 million a year.

Instead of cutting corners, the Republic this month introduced an improved version of its TV supplement but it only goes to those who want it and pay an extra 25 cents a week to get it in their Sunday newspaper. It’s a 48-page guide with a glossy cover and some other content, including a crossword puzzle. The regular Sunday newspaper has a one-page listing of that day’s TV schedule.

According to the trade publication Editor & Publisher, about 40,000 of the Republic’s 400,000 Sunday subscribers have opted to receive the supplement, which newspaper officials say covers their cost.

Contact David Hatfield at dhatfield@azbiz.com or (520) 295-4237. Inside Tucson Media appears weekly.

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