John C. Scott will broadcast his last news talk show Friday.
Scott said KVOI president and manager Doug Martin told him Tuesday his show was incompatible with the conservative vision of the station.
“He said he was pressured by his board to remove the show and I can only take him at his word. They said we were incompatible with the rest of the station,” Scott said.
Scott has often taken to task on his show state and national Republican politicians for what he views as extreme positions. He also frequently has Democratic guests on his show.
Scott, whose full name is John C. Scott Ulm, served in the state Legislature in the 1970s as a Democrat, but ran unsuccessfully for the Legislature in 1998 as a Republican. He’s currently a registered Democrat.
Martin said his board did not like the show and that he kept hearing from listeners that they were turning the show off at 3 p.m. because it seemed to them like an infomercial.
Scott sells sponsorships to his show and does remotes, lately on Tuesdays at the HabiStore and Fridays at the Tobacco Barn, where he spends a few minutes at the top and bottom of every hour interviewing the owners about their stores and specials.
“I like John, a lot. But we thought this was the best for the station and our listeners,” Martin said.
According to the KVOI website, the Good News Communications board is comprised of Stuart Carey, Glenn Ewing, Doug Martin, Mary Martin, David Mehl and Tom Regina
Scott’s show has been on KVOI for two and a half years. It aired Monday through Friday from 3 to 5 p.m.
While Scott said he understood the decision and held no animosity toward Martin or the KVOI ownership, he said he didn’t know what he did in the past year to upset the leadership after they came to him last December and asked him to increase his show from one hour to two.
“They don’t subscribe to (Arbitron, a radio ratings compiler) so there’s no way to know what the current ratings are but a year ago we were the highest-rated show on the station. Don’t know if that’s the case today,” Scott said. “I don’t know what happened between December 2012 and December 2013.”
He said one of his proudest moments in the past 24 years is when his son, Mark Ulm, who is also the show’s producer, put together a show in two hours for C-Span the Tuesday after the Jan. 8, 2011 shooting at which six people were killed and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was wounded.
He also said he’s proud of the balance his show had, featuring Republicans and Democrats, including some he criticized, liberal and conservative, but who were still willing to appear on his show.
“If somebody listened to the John C. Scott show and they learned something that they didn’t know from all the interviews that we’ve done, and we’ve done thousands of them, or they were going to question their thinking about a conviction, either that it confirmed their conviction or it made them think differently about their conviction, then we did a good job,” he said.
Scott’s show has bounced around the AM dial in the 24 years he’s been doing it. He said he was at KTUC for six years, then KTTK for six, then jumped back and forth the past 12 years between KJLL and KVOI, doing two stints at each.
He said proof of the quality of his show is that despite all the moves, he managed to move his audience with him each time.
“We had sponsors that supported us. We were good business partners with the stations that we worked for. We always made them money. I thought we always gave them a good product,” Scott said.
There’s no chance he’ll move again, he said.
We’re not going any other place. All the other outlets are conservative. This show’s at an end,” he said. “All these stations are extremely conservative and we’ve run into the same problem that we face now. It’s just not going to happen. And that’s fine. You know 24 years is a pretty long run.”
Scott said that after 50 years in the business and working for a combined 40 TV and radio stations, that he understands business is business.
“I’m hardly bitter about it. I certainly have no animosity toward the station. I understand they are what they are and they have to protect what they are,” Scott said.
He said he is concerned, though, that there is only one show left in Tucson that talks to people on both sides of the political divide.
"Should there be something like what we do? Yeah, there ought to be a moderate voice. There should be people who interview Democrats rather than vilify them. But is there? Not now. Other than Buckmaster, who I think is the consummate professional who I have the greatest respect for, plus I have an extreme affection for him as well. He is the last man standing with any kind of balanced talk,” Scott said.
Buckmaster’s show airs on KVOI from noon to 1 p.m. Buckmaster said KVOI leadership have told him they like his show. Unlike Scott, Buckmaster rarely offers his own opinions on his show.
“I’ve tried to position my show as the Switzerland of talk radio, completely neutral,” Buckmaster said.
He added that he has great respect for Scott, who helped Buckmaster transition to radio after he left as the host of Arizona Illustrated on KUAT channel 6 in 2011. Scott at the time was the station manager of KJLL where Buckmaster’s show aired for six months before moving to KVOI.
Scott is broadcasting today from the Hotel Congress in a show sponsored by the Downtown Tucson Partnership, and tomorrow from the Tobacco Barn.
Martin said he will expand the Michael Medved show to fill the 3 to 5 p.m. time slot.
Ed. Note: Editor Mark B. Evans, who wrote this article, was a frequent guest on the John C. Scott Show.