Nobody is safe in media these days. In what is the most visible sign to date of how local media companies are reacting to financial stress, Heather Moore, the anchor for KMSB 11’s 9 p.m. newscast was let go as part of a wider reduction in force to save money at Phoenix sister station KTVK.
The decision shows that even a job as a station’s main anchor is vulnerable. But it is also a slap in the face for Tucson from Phoenix. Although KMSB has its own news staff in Tucson, the 9 p.m. broadcast originates from KTVK, which is where Moore worked. Both KMSB and KTVK are owned by Dallas-based Belo Corp.
Moore wasn’t the only person let go in the cutbacks at KTVK but she was the most high-profile for Tucson. As most companies do, Belo corporate is trying to keep a lid on specifics of the cutbacks. But that’s hard to do when it involves such public people as anchors. And this is the news business, afterall.
Tod Smith, general manager of KMSB, was out of the office as this column went to press last week.
According to various accounts, a Belo corporate executive from Dallas announced the layoffs affecting all departments at a KTVK station-wide meeting May 16. Jack Sander, vice chairman of Belo, told the group the layoffs would not be based on senority but involve specific positions identified by management for elimination.
In other words, someone in KTVK management made the decision the person who is the primary anchor for their Tucson station could be let go. It was less than a year ago Moore’s face was plastered in billboards around Tucson promoting the newscast. Besides KMSB’s 9 p.m. newscast, Moore anchored an 8 p.m. newscast on KTVK.
Moore started working at KTVK in October 2003, after two years in Sacramento, Calif. Before that, she worked in Yuma after graduating from the University of Southern California.
Last week Beverly Kidd, a KTVK reporter who had filled in for Moore, was anchoring KMSB’s 9 p.m. newscasts.
More names in news
Johnjay Van Es and Rich Berra have expanded their morning radio show’s listening audience beyond Arizona. As of last week, the Johnjay and Rich show is now being heard in Colorado on KVUU, a station that calls itself "My 99.9" broadcasting in Colorado Springs and Pueblo. The pair, who started on KRQ 93.7-FM in 2001, expanded into Phoenix in January 2006. Much of the time, the show continues to originate from Tucson but Van Es and Berra have traveled to Phoenix for occasions. All three stations airing the show are owned by Clear Channel Communications.
Josh Leng will be the new program director at Clear Channel’s KNST 790-AM starting June 2. He’s coming from WBAL in Baltimore where he was a talkshow producer. Leng has got six years radio experience and worked for talk stations in Los Angeles and Grand Rapids, Mich., his hometown. He also spent four years in the Air Force as an acquisition officer on information technology projects. Leng also does imaging consulting for talkradio programs and has done work for the Ed Schulz and Cigar Dave programs.
Steve Somerville has left as chief engineer at KGUN 9. The timing is odd, the parent company, Journal Broadcasting, is in the midst of a major project to move its four radio stations from North Country Club Road to be under the same roof with KGUN in the Gateway Center on the eastside, near East Speedway and Kolb Road.
Direct-mailer is No. 1
You know those little color postcard advertisements that come in the mail wrapped in a cellophane-type material? They’re sent out by a direct-marketing company called RSVP Publications and the Phoenix-Tucson operation was named the company’s No. 1 franchise topping more than $3 million in sales last year.
RSVP Publications operate in more than 125 markets sending the postcard packages to the top 18 percent of high-income homes in each market.
Contact David Hatfield at email@example.com or (520) 295-4237. Inside Tucson Media appears weekly.