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From the General Manager – 2013


The end of the year is a time to reflect on the past year’s successes and take stock of the many things that bring meaning to our lives, and it is when many Arizona Public Media (AZPM®) members, viewers, listeners, and volunteers take the time to tell us how much our programs mean to them. Please think about sharing the enriching experience you receive all year long from AZPM’s programs with your family members and friends this holiday season by giving them the gift of AZPM membership. You can also support AZPM by making a year-end donation or an IRA Charitable Rollover. For more information about giving, please visit

The following is a list of just some of the many accomplishments of the past year that could not have been achieved without your support:

AZ Illustrated, the revamped flagship local TV production from AZPM, premiered in February and replaced Arizona Illustrated, which aired for more than 30 years.

AZPM staffers were recognized with three Rocky Mountain Emmy® Awards for AZPM original productions.

Original radio productions included “A Matter of Principal,” and “The Battle of Picacho Pass, Brought Back to Life.” The latter program won the prestigious 2013 National Edward R. Murrow Award for Feature Reporting.

The Tucson Symphony Orchestra Encore Series on Classical 90.5 presented 13 concerts recorded during the TSO’s 2012 – 2013 season.

For the 11th year in a row NPR 89.1 was voted Best Radio Station for News by the readers of the Tucson Weekly.

NPR 89.1 posted its highest ever Summer audience numbers.

On Facebook, AZPM surpassed 3,000 friends, and on Twitter, AZPM surpassed 5,500 followers. (I invite you to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

The PBS 6 membership campaign “Come Home for the Holidays” continues into the month of December and features compelling and entertaining specials such as “Great Performances: Barbra Streisand: Back to Brooklyn,” and “Return to Downton Abbey.” Actress Susan Sarandon hosts “Return to Downton Abbey,” which will take viewers on a tour of the past three seasons and include interviews with the program’s creators and cast. An encore broadcast of the seven episodes of “Downton Abbey, Season 3” starts December 2nd and leads up to the much anticipated premiere of Season 4 on January 5th. A schedule of dates and times is at

Additional holiday specials to be broadcast on PBS 6, PBS Kids, the UA Channel, and ReadyTV during December include “Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir featuring Alfie Boe and Tom Brokaw,” “Celtic Women: Home for Christmas,” the “National Christmas Tree Lighting,” “The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About Christmas,” “Home for Christmas: The Chris Mann Christmas Special,” and many others. For a complete schedule of holiday television programming, visit here.

Classical 90.5 celebrates the holidays with a number of special programs as well as several locally-produced offerings including “A Holiday Card to Tucson,” featuring The Arizona Choir, The UA Symphonic Choir, The University Community Chorus, The Tucson Arizona Boys’ Chorus, The Tucson Girls’ Chorus, and guest soloists; “The Arizona Repertory Singers Holiday Concert;” “The Tucson Arizona Boys’ Chorus Holiday Concert;” "UA Wildcat High School; Choir"; and the “St. Olaf Choir Holiday Concert in Tucson.” The complete program schedule is here.

NPR 89.1‘s holiday offerings will include, among others, “Christmas with the Morehouse and Spelman College Glee Clubs;” “Jonathan Winters’ A Christmas Carol;” “Tinsel Tales 1 & 2,” featuring holiday stories presented by NPR program hosts; and the annual “Toast of the Nation” coast-to-coast jazz celebration on New Year’s Eve. Check here for the full holiday program schedule.

On behalf of all of us at AZPM, please accept our very best wishes to you and your family for a happy and healthy holiday season. As always, thank you for your viewership, listenership and continued support.


Jack Gibson


In October Arizona Public Media (AZPM) wrapped up the first membership campaign of the fiscal year for Classical 90.5 and NPR 89.1. The campaign was a resounding success with the assistance of more than 110 community voices and 35 behind-the- scenes volunteers, and the more than 2,400 callers who pledged their support. Our thanks go to all of the new and renewing members of AZPM, and to those who pledged additional gifts to help us surpass our goal.

More good radio news includes the results of the summer audience ratings survey. NPR 89.1 posted it highest ever summer listening numbers.

The national time change occurs on Sunday, November 3rd and will affect some weekday radio programs. Starting on Monday, the 4th, Fresh Air moves to 11 a.m. and Here and Now and Here and Now/Science Friday move to Noon on weekdays to maintain the live call-in aspect of Science Friday during both hours of the show.

On the TV side, I am pleased to report that three AZPM staffers received Rocky Mountain Chapter Emmy® Awards this year. Photographer Bob Lindberg won for the AZPM original production Arizona’s Dust Bowl: Lessons Lost and photographer Steve Riggs and editor Mitch Riley won for the AZ Illustrated story Barista. These awards, which are judged by peers in other regions of the country, demonstrate the creativity and quality of AZPM’s content production staff – whose work would not be possible without your continued support. Visit those stories by clicking the live links above.

Other staff news includes the promotion of Michael Chihak to the position of news director for AZPM. Formerly host of Arizona Week and director of online news, Michael will be responsible for news operations and reporting on AZPM’s television, radio, online, and social media platforms. Michael will be an interim host on Arizona Week until a new full-time host has been selected.

In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, AZPM presents a diverse series of documentary programs which intimately showcase the rich history as well as the modern culture of today’s Native Americans. Throughout the month on PBS 6, WORLD, and the UA Channel, discover the unique livelihoods of American Indian tribes in the southwest and across the United States. Highlights include the AZPM original production, “Seeking Water From the Sun,” “Apache 8,” Independent Lens: “Indian Relay,” and the Citizen Journal Project. Visit here for a complete listing of programs.

This month PBS 6 will also honor the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, with three special primetime programs. American Experience: “JFK,” a two-part documentary on JFK’s life, accomplishments and unfulfilled promises in office, will air on Monday the 11th and Tuesday the 12th at 9 p.m. On Wednesday the 13th at 9 p.m. NOVA: “Cold Case JFK” follows a unique group of experts trying to unravel the lingering mysteries of the Kennedy assassination, and at 10 p.m. Secrets of the Dead: “JFK: One PM Central Standard Time” recounts the riveting story of the reporting from Dallas and the CBS Newsroom in New York from the moment of the shooting.

As we approach the holiday season, I want to thank you for your viewership, listenership and continued support of Arizona Public Media.


Jack Gibson


Fall is always an exciting time here at Arizona Public Media (AZPM). Emmy® Award nominations were just announced and AZPM garnered fourteen Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter nominations, more than any other television station in the Tucson market. In addition, for the 12th year in a row NPR 89.1 was the Readers Pick for Best Radio Station for News in Tucson Weekly’s Best of Tucson annual poll. The nominations and the award are indications of the quality work produced by AZPM’s talented staff, which continues to place AZPM ahead of our peers.

The first radio campaign of the fiscal year airs October 10th – 18th on Classical 90.5 and NPR 89.1. The campaign features special guest hosts from the community who provide meaningful personal insights about the benefits of becoming a member of the AZPM family. Remember that your member dollars are an investment that makes our award-winning local productions and national news coverage happen throughout the year.

Election Day is just around the corner and this month AZPM will feature news and information about city elections on NPR 89.1, PBS 6, and online at Coverage includes candidate bios and interviews, ballot initiatives, campaign finance information, and two city council candidate forums which will air on AZ Illustrated Politics. The first, a Ward 3 forum with Democratic incumbent Karen Uhlich and Republican challenger Ben Buehler-Garcia, will broadcast on October 4th. The second, a Ward 5 forum with Democratic incumbent Richard Fimbres and Republican challenger Mike Polak, will air on October 18th. AZ Illustrated Politics airs on PBS 6 on Fridays at 6:30 p.m. Each forum will be posted online by 5 p.m. on those respective dates. Learn more here.

The celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month continues on PBS 6, WORLD, Vme, and the UA Channel with the final episodes of Latino Americans: “Pride and Prejudice” and “Peril and Promise” on Tuesday, October 1st beginning at 8 p.m. with an encore broadcast the following Friday at 2 p.m. For a complete schedule of Hispanic Heritage month programs, visit here.

PBS Kids is all abuzz with the launch of PEG + CAT, the new week-day, pre-school children’s series premiering on October 7th on PBS 6 at 8 a.m. and on PBS Kids at 11 a.m. This new program follows the adorable, spirited Peg and her sidekick Cat as they embark on adventures, solve problems, and learn foundational math concepts and skills. Visit PEG + CAT online for games and videos, and download printable activities. Join AZPM and PBS Kids characters Maya & Miguel at the University of Arizona BookStore in the Student Memorial Center on Saturday, October 5th at 10:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. where we will host the premiere of the first episode of PEG + CAT!

We welcome new staff members to the AZPM family. John Booth joins the television production team as Executive Producer, Mark Channell joins the development team as Associate Director of Development, Julie Ben-Yeoshua will be the Program Coordinator for Development and Underwriting, Andrew Brown joins the production team as Videographer/Editor, and Amanda Le Claire comes on board as the Weekend News Reporter.

Thank you for your exceptional support of AZPM. It makes what we do possible.


Jack Gibson


This month we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) with special programming across PBS 6, World, Vme, and the UA Channel. The feature program, Latino Americans, is a special six-part documentary film that chronicles the lives and experiences of Latinos in the United States from 1500 to the 21st century.

A special members-only event on Sunday, September 15 at the Center for Creative Photography will feature highlights from the Latino Americans documentary and a lecture by Dr. Juan R. Garcia, Professor of History at the University of Arizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

The Latino Americans series airs Tuesdays on PBS 6, September 17th, 24th and October 1st at 8 p.m. with encore broadcasts the following Fridays at 2 p.m. Hispanic Heritage Month programming also includes the re-broadcast of AZPM’s original production “Barrios and Barriers,” the premiere of “Earthflight: A Nature Special Presentation: South America,” and the second season of In the Americas with David Yetman, to name a few. Check program schedules for PBS 6, World, Vme, and the UA Channel at

Other PBS 6 program highlights this month include a marathon broadcast of the award-winning Ken Burns’ National Parks: America’s Best Idea. Each night at 8 p.m. starting Labor Day and continuing through Saturday the 7th, tune in to this six-part documentary on the history of America’s national parks.

Earthflight: A Nature Special Presentation, a six-part, awe-inspiring journey airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. starting September 4. Take to the skies and explore earth’s natural wonders through the eyes of birds from around the world including North America’s snow geese, Africa’s cape gannets, Europe’s cranes, South America’s scarlet macaws, Asia’s swallows and swifts, and Australia’s lorikeets and budgies.

Three years ago, PBS 6 launched the Hollywood at Home film series on Saturday nights at 9 p.m. The series features great classic and contemporary films and has become very popular among PBS 6 viewers. This month, in celebration of the Jewish holidays, a special presentation of “Fiddler on the Roof” will air Thursday, September 12 at 8 p.m., with an encore broadcast on Sunday, September 15 at 1 p.m. Other feature films this month include “Get Shorty” on Sept. 14, “Splendor in the Grass” on Sept. 21, and “The Birdcage” on Sept. 28.

In other news –

Zac Ziegler, an AZPM news reporter, will participate in the Community Food Bank SNAP Challenge set for September 3 – 6, 2013. Zac and his wife Ashley will be among the many participants who will challenge themselves to live on a budget of $4.00 per day per person for a four-day period. $4.00 per day is the average amount of Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits received by those participating in the program. Zac will chronicle online his and his wife’s experiences living on a total food budget of $8.00 per day starting September 2. He will broadcast an in-depth report on Monday morning, September 9 during Morning Edition on NPR 89.1. If you miss it, you can read and listen to the entire story at

AZPM’s news team will provide in-depth coverage of all the Tucson City Council candidates and ballot initiatives starting later this month, prior to the elections on November 5th. AZ Illustrated Politics will feature full coverage of the initiatives and the candidates are invited to take part in forums. The stories and forums will wrap up by October 18th, the day early voting begins. Arizona Week will look at the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and its impact on businesses and individuals in Arizona. September 17th is Constitution Day, when immigrants traditionally take their U.S. citizenship oaths. Arizona Week will visit a swearing in ceremony and talk with some newly minted citizens. Watch AZ Illustrated Politics on Fridays at 6:30 p.m. and Arizona Week on Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6. Tune in to NPR 89.1 and visit for complete election coverage and the ballot initiatives that will affect our community.

We welcome our newest members to the Community Advisory Board: Karen Borek, University of Arizona Adjunct Faculty, Religious Studies; Paul Lindsey, owner of Arizona Stagecoach and Salon Nouveau; Jan Lesher (Emeritus), Deputy County Administrator for Pima County; and UA student representative Morgan Abraham, ASUA Student Body President.

On behalf of all of us at AZPM, thank you for your viewership, listenership, and continued support.

Jack Gibson


Radio ratings were just released and once again NPR 89.1 maintained its top rank among other news/talk radio stations in the Tucson market. Morning Edition on NPR 89.1 ranked #3 in the market for listeners age 12+(1) and #1 for listeners 50+(2). Classical 90.5 ratings also increased by 15% from the winter 2013 survey(3) and weekly cumulative audience was up 4% over last year(4).

Several staff promotions were announced in recent weeks. Enrique Aldana has been promoted to Director of Development. Aldana was formerly Associate Director of Development. With the recent retirement of Fran Sherlock, AZPM’s longtime Director of Production and Broadcast Operations, three internal promotions were made. Ian Hubbell has been promoted to Post-Production Manager, Martin Rubio to TV Production Manager, and Greg Steed to TV Master Control Supervisor/IT Engineer. Editor, Mitch Riley was also promoted to Producer/Editor and Lili Bell, formerly TV Traffic Manager, has been promoted to Broadcast Schedule Manager. Finally, in the business office, Gus Loaiza has moved up to Accounting Specialist.

Alan Fischer, Public Information Officer for the Planetary Science Institute, joined the AZ Illustrated team as the co-host of Tuesday’s AZ Illustrated Science edition. Fischer is a journalist who has specialized in science and technology reporting and has a strong interest in writing about space exploration. Fischer is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a degree in journalism. Laura Palmisano joins the AZPM news team as a Reporter/Producer. Palmisano holds a journalism degree with a minor in sustainability and has worked in public broadcasting and for the Cronkite News Service. Maria Taracena, a recent graduate of the UA School of Journalism and freelance writer, was hired as an Online Reporter/Editor.

With these promotions and new appointments, AZPM continues to demonstrate the investment in our staff as well as our continued mission to create, acquire, and distribute high-quality, relevant content for and about Arizona, the University of Arizona, and the Southwest. For more information on employment opportunities with AZPM, please visit or the UA Job Siite.

This month brings the first PBS 6 membership campaign of the new fiscal year. Themed “Cool Summer Nights,” these programs will definitely cool you off from the summer monsoon heat and humidity. Music specials highlight the campaign and include, “60’s Girl Grooves,” with host Mary Wilson of the Supremes, “The Jimmy Dean Show: Country Classics,” hosted by Roy Clark, “Elvis, Aloha from Hawaii,” and “Alfie Boe: Storyteller at the Royal Albert Hall,” just to name a few. Check PBS 6 program schedules for dates and times.

I hope you will keep in mind that your financial support of AZPM is critical in helping to provide you with the award-winning, wide variety of engaging and educational programming that you have grown to expect. Thank you for your viewership, listenership, and continued support.


Jack Gibson

(1)Metro Average Quarter Hour share, age 12+, Spring 2012 – 2013, ©Arbitron, Inc., ©Radio Research Consortium, Inc.

(2)Metro Average Quarter Hour share, age 50+, Spring 2012 – 2013, ©Arbitron, Inc., ©Radio Research Consortium, Inc.

(3)Metro Average Quarter Hour share, age 12+, 50+, Winter 2013 – Spring 2013, © Arbitron, Inc, ©Radio Research Consortium, Inc.

(4)Metro Cume Persons, 12+, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, © Arbitron, Inc, ©Radio Research Consortium, Inc.


We kick off July with one of our biggest programs of the year, “A Capitol Fourth.” This live PBS broadcast of America’s favorite Independence Day tradition features unrivaled performances from some of the country’s best-known performers, topped off by the greatest display of fireworks anywhere in the nation. Tom Bergeron (Dancing with the Stars) hosts this all-star lineup live from Washington, D.C. on Thursday, July 4th from 5 to 6:30 p.m., with an encore performance at 7:30 p.m. The PBS 6 patriotic celebration continues at 6:30 p.m. with Ken Burns’ documentary “Statue of Liberty,” followed later that evening by the premiere of “Magic Skies: A History of Fireworks” at 9 p.m.

This month there are some program scheduling changes to NPR 89.1 and to PBS 6. On NPR 89.1, the daily news-magazine radio program Here & Now debuts Monday, July 1st from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., replacing Talk of the Nation, which concluded production on June 27th. Tune in and welcome hosts Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson for breaking news and in-depth analysis. To learn more about the program, visit

Starting Saturday, July 6th on PBS 6, Lawrence Welk will air one hour earlier, at 6 p.m. That adjustment affects the Saturday late-afternoon/evening schedule as follows:

-Antiques Roadshow 4 – 5 p.m. Moved up 1 hour
-This Old House 5 – 6 p.m. Moved up 1 hour
-Lawrence Welk 6 – 7 p.m. Moved up 1 hour
-Are You Being Served 7 – 7:30 p.m. New time
-As Time Goes By 7:30 - 8 p.m. New time

Other programming changes include:

-POV will move to one hour earlier on Monday nights, to 10 p.m. from 11 p.m.
-MI-5 switches to five nights a week, Monday through Friday, from 11p.m. to 12 a.m.
-DCI Banks, a new BBC detective drama series based on crime writer Peter Robinson’s novels, takes Doc Martin’s place on Thursdays at 9 p.m., starting July 11th.
-Doc Martin Season 1 encore broadcasts move to Sundays at 9:30 p.m. beginning June 16th.
-Charlie Rose: The Week premiers July 19th and will air on Fridays at 10 p.m. The 30-minute program joins the PBS 6 public affairs lineup to revisit some of the best reports and interviews of the week, while looking ahead to developing business, political, arts and cultural stories.

Visit PBS 6 and *NPR 89.1 for updated program schedules.

July is the start of a new fiscal year for AZPM, and I thank you for your financial support during our 2013 fiscal year-end fundraising campaign. It takes everyone who uses, appreciates and values public broadcasting to support it. Your pledge to AZPM not only provides you with the wide and award-winning variety of programming that you have grown to expect, but your support also allows AZPM to employ the talented journalists, producers and videographers who create and deliver the stories about our unique community that we all value so much.

Jack Gibson

About From the General Manager

Thoughts and Letters from Jack Gibson.