Friday, November 14, 2014

And the elections night radio coverage nod goes to....

Okay, this is strictly personal, but I have to do it.  The relatively new radio station I work for has just won some impressive applause, and it feels great.

On Election Night, I got to sit in the PowerTalk 1210 studio with three other fabulously talented and experienced journalists, giving returns and providing analysis.  Morning drive host and station manager Jim Parisi, like me, is a former TV news director with loads of experience; we don’t think there’s another radio station anywhere that has two of those in the lineup.  John C. Scott is a former TV news anchor, a former state legislator, and a radio icon in Tucson who towers above the news landscape here with his unparalleled knowledge, experience, and intuitive grasp of the southern Arizona political scene.  Mark Ulm, our producer, absolutely has the best Rolodex in town; he knows everyone, it seems.  On Election Night we aired special coverage counting down the local and national election returns.

In previewing the coverage on my 5pm show, which preceded the special program, I said that I wasn’t aware of anyone else in local radio doing anything quite like that.  During the elections program itself I had no way to be absolutely certain, though, since I was in the studio, not listening to our competitors on the radio.

Well.  Now we know.  On Thursday, John Schuster, the media critic for the Tucson Weekly, summarized the available radio coverage in the market with a story headlined, “KEVT EXCELS WITH ELECTION COVERAGE.” 

And it only got better from there.  He wrote, “While most folks interested in election results likely bounced between local television coverage or their preferred national tilt of choice, which amounted to endless gloating on Fox News or the snark induced liberal meltdowns on MSNBC, for others traveling the roads opting for radio updates, the new player on the AM scene, 1210 KEVT, stepped up extremely well.”  John went on to describe how our competitors devoted lesser efforts, or no efforts at all, to the local coverage.  He said that out of all the local radio stations that night, “KEVT was the market standard bearer.”

What convinced him was the combined experience and expertise of those gathered in our studio, as described above.  “As a result,” he wrote, “guys with a multitude of election coverage experience, from John C. Scott to Forrest Carr to Jim Parisi to Mark Ulm, constantly bounced off one another with input and understanding of the nuances of various races.”  Mark had also lined up one expert after another to go live with us, which made a huge difference.

I thanked Schuster on the air yesterday and also wrote him privately.  But I know John didn’t say those things as a favor to us.  I know him to be an ethical, thorough, and objective critic, and as a TV news director I learned full well first hand that if John didn’t like something he saw or heard, he would say so.  We’re lucky to have a critic like that working in our market.  A lot of cities no longer do.

Meanwhile, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the PowerTalk 1210 team and our investors and sponsors—and of course, my thanks to our listeners—who make our radio station possible.  Not a bad performance, over all, for a news/talk operation that’s really the “new kid on the block.”


John Schuster’s full review can be found here (scroll down to the end of the page).

The Forrest Carr show is heard from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM Mountain Standard Time.   A good way to stream it is use Tune In at this link.  You can also find other streaming options on our website.

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