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From the General Manager – July 2009


This month we begin our special celebration of Ken Burns’s latest documentary series, National Parks: America’s Best Idea. While the series begins on September 27, 2009 – our events start in August with the National Park Family Expo at Centennial Hall on the campus of The University of Arizona, Saturday, August 29th from 2-6 p.m. We have interactive events for all ages, a preview of the National Parks programs, and a Community Conversation roundtable hosted by our own Bill Buckmaster. Panelists for the roundtable include Senator Tom Udall, Congressman Raul Grijalva, and Darla Sidles the new Superintendent of Saguaro National Park. There will be something for everyone at the event, and I would love to see you there.

I hope you had the chance to join us for our coverage of the Judge Sonia Sotomayor Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings. True to our name, Arizona Public Media provided you with options to tune in with whatever media was most convenient for you. Complete coverage of the proceedings and analysis from NPR and PBS included gavel-to-gavel coverage via live webcast on the radio page at and from our newest television channel, PBS World (KUAS Channel 27-3, Cox 83, Comcast 203), in addition to regular updates throughout the day and special evening wrap-up programs on NPR, KUAZ-FM 89.1/1550 AM and The Newshour with Jim Lehrer. This type of broad content delivery (radio/television/online) is what I believe will be the future of our organization as we work to keep you informed.

On August 9th we begin a week of transmitter power reductions and periodic outages for channels 6-1 PBS-HD, 6-2 V-me, 6-3 Create, and Classical KUAT-FM. These service disruptions are necessary to ensure a safe working environment for tower crews who will be at our Mt. Bigelow transmission site, working to install a new digital television antenna. This will only affect over-the-air viewers who use a set-top or rooftop antenna to receive their television signals, and all classical radio listeners. Our hope it to return all stations to full power by mid-August. Updates on our progress will be available on our website. Please accept my apologies in advance for any inconvenience these service disruptions may cause you.

The first pledge week of the new fiscal year begins on August 1, so I hope you’ll join us for the best that public television has to offer in outstanding music, self-help, news, and entertainment programming. When it’s hot outside – stay cool with us from the comfort of your living room!


Jack Gibson
Director and General Manager
Arizona Public Media®

General Manager,


Last month, I reported on the goals we needed to reach to successfully close our 2009 fiscal year. I’m pleased to follow this month with the good news that we exceeded our membership goal for the year. Membership increased 5% over 2008 thanks to more than 30,000 individual supporters, including more than 4,100 first-time supporters. We are now in a position to meet our financial obligations to NPR and PBS. Thank you for your continued support!

Arizona Public Media also smoothly transitioned into the digital age on June 12. KUAS Channel 27 concluded analog PBS program services and will continue with a 30-day “Nightlight” service broadcasting only programs on the digital transition in English and Spanish. On July 12 at 11:59:59 p.m., our analog broadcast service will terminate completely and we will continue to broadcast using digital-only technology on both Channels 6 and 27. With respect to digital service on Channel 6, repairs have been completed to the main digital antenna which was damaged by a severe ice storm on Mt. Bigelow last winter. We expect reinstallation of the antenna in the early part of August and a return to full signal strength shortly thereafter.

According to the Nielsen Media Research from May:

  • Channel 6 prime time viewing is up 3.45%

  • Full week viewing is up 9.1%

  • Arizona Illustrated attracted 20% more viewers this May than last

  • The Desert Speak, In-Tune and Wavelengths attracted good audiences

On radio, our own Arizona Spotlight which airs on KUAZ-AM/FM, celebrated its 200th show at the end of June. The NPR News section of our website has some features you might not have seen before. You still get links to NPR's hourly newscasts and the top stories, and if you go there or refresh the page when NPR is offering extra coverage of special events or breaking news, you'll find a link to a live stream.

The numbers have been good to us. But the rest of the news is that we start all over again with a new fiscal year beginning July 1, and there are many challenges ahead. We look forward to your continued support as we work to meet them on your behalf.


Jack Gibson
Director and General Manager
Arizona Public Media®

P.S. Hopefully you had a chance to see Tucson Remembers: The Korean War. If not, info is still on our Web site, here.

Fiscal-Year General Manager,

About From the General Manager

Thoughts and Letters from Jack Gibson.