Thomas A. Yunt, who has had a 28-year career in the newspaper industry, has been named the new CEO of Sierra Vista-based Wick Communications, publisher of 28 newspapers and 18 specialty publications in 12 states, including Inside Tucson Business, Tucson Weekly, Green Valley News and Sierra Vista Herald.
Yunt, who was introduced to Wick staffers Wednesday, takes over his new post Oct. 7. He’s coming from Dubuque, Iowa, where he had been with Woodward Communications Inc. for all but three years since 1985 until he resigned as president and CEO at the end of 2012.
Yunt served in management roles for the Gannett Co. before joining the Dubuque Telegraph Herald as advertising director in 1985. From 1990 to 1993 he left the company to be advertising director for Indianapolis Newspapers Inc. He returned to Dubuque as publishher of the Telegraph Herald and was promoted a year later to vice president and publisher and then to senior vice president in 2000. He had been the president of parent company Woodward Communications Inc. since 2003 and added the CEO title in 2006. Yunt was also a director on the Woodward Communications board.
Yunt has also been active in the Inland Press Association and its foundation. He graduated in 1977 from Western Kentucky University with a BA degree in mass communications and advertising and earned a master’s degree in mass communications in 2006 from the University of Dubuque.
At Wick Communications, Yunt replaces John Mathew who announced his resignation in May after 12 years with the company.
More names in news
News anchor Jennifer Waddell filled in the blanks on her departure from KGUN 9 when she bid viewers good-bye Sept. 6. She started this week at the WZTV, the Fox affiliate in Nashville, Tenn., where she will be a part of that station’s morning show. Journal Broadcast Group officials say they’ve launched a search and are considering both internal and external candidates as a replacement for Waddell, who had been the station’s main news co-anchor with Guy Atchley since 2005.
We already know Bobby Rich, morning man on Mix-FM KMXZ 94.9-FM, is due to be inducted into the Arizona Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame Oct. 17. But there’s another man who had a lot to do with Tucson broadcasting is also being inducted. Bill Phalen, the owner who launched KRQ 93.7-FM in 1977 and made KNST 790-AM (originally 940-AM) the market’s first news-talk station in 1981, is one of the four inductees this year.
Phalen’s Western Cities Broadcasting sold the Tucson stations along with 13 others, in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Sacramento and San Jose, Calif., to Nationwide Communications in 1984 for $40 million. Phalen formed a second company, Prism Partners, and returned to Tucson in 1992 reacquiring KRQ and KNST along with what is now KMIY 92.9-FM and the 790-AM frequency forming the market’s first multi-station cluster. (Previously, ownership of radio stations was limited to one FM and one AM station per market.) In 1996 Prism Partners, which by then owned 13 stations across the country, sold out to SFX Broadcasting for $82.75 million and was subsequently acquired by Clear Channel Communications, which continues to operate what is now a seven-station cluster in Tucson.
It’s hard to imagine now but when Phalen put KRQ on the air in 1977, Tucson was considered the second worst market in the U.S. for FM radio listenership. It didn’t take long for KRQ to catapult itself into the top of the Tucson ratings; a position the station hasn’t relinquished in 35 years.
The University of Arizona Wildcats’ next football game, Sept. 28 against Washington in Seattle has been picked for a live telecast on the Fox network and KMSB 11 in Tucson. The boradcast is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. The team’s next game, will be at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10, a Thursday, against USC in Los Angeles. That game was already scheduled for live coverage on the new Fox Sports 1 (Cox channels 27 and 1027 in HD, Comcast channels 32 and 255 HD, DirecTV channel 607 and Dish Network channel 150). So far, no other games have been picked for live TV treatment but it’s a safe bet all will be as the season goes on.
Contact David Hatfield at email@example.com or (520) 295-4237. Inside Tucson Media appears weekly.