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From the General Manager


August is always an exciting month here at AZPM as we welcome students to the start of the fall semester at the University of Arizona and to the student crew at AZPM. While for many, August is the last of the summer fun, for AZPM and UA we are all about gearing up for a productive fall season!


The Spring Audience Research arrived for our radio stations and the growth is impressive. Our NPR affiliate KUAZ-AM/FM, increased audience share by 33% since the Winter measurement period and increased by 51.4% over the same period last year. Classical KUAT-FM increased its audience share by 3.2% since the Winter measurement period, and by over 52% from the same period last year. KUAZ is the #5 radio station in the market among all radio stations, the #5 morning drive station and the #1 news/talk format station in Tucson. Both stations demonstrated a healthy average 8.3 to 8.5 hours of Time Spent Listening, per listener, per week.

Speaking of radio, I am very pleased to announce that we have been awarded a construction permit by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a new FM radio station to be built in Pima, Arizona (136 miles northeast of Tucson). This new station KUAE 107.1FM, will extend the program service provided by our NPR and jazz music station KUAZ, and will, for the first time, bring over-the-air NPR news and information programming to listeners in that community. We have three years to complete the fundraising and construction for new transmission facilities there. We also made application and received conditional approval from the FCC for a new full power FM station in Sierra Vista, Arizona, KUAS 88.9FM. We are now working through the steps required to receive approval from the Mexican Government, given this station’s proximity to the border. I hope to have more good news to report on this in the coming months.

May TV Sweeps

Overall, full day viewership for PBS-HD Channel 6 increased by 19% over the same period last year. Top programs were: Keeping Up Appearances (Sat. 8 p.m.), Antiques Roadshow (Mon. 8 p.m.), As Time Goes By (Sat. 8:30 p.m.), Masterpiece (Sun. 8:00 p.m.), and NOVA (Wed. 9 p.m.). Additionally, audiences grew 27% in full daily viewership for PBS Kids compared to last May.

The Best and the Brightest

We are fortunate to have a terrific professional staff at AZPM. One of our most recent hires Gisela Telis, who joined us last fall as our Online Editor in the content production group, recently received a 2011-2012 Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism. Gisela’s editorial focus will be to examine mental health in Arizona’s rural, tribal and underserved communities and will be presented starting this fall on several of AZPM media platforms (TV/radio/online). This fellowship program is part of the Carter Center's Mental Health Program, which works around the world to reduce stigma and discrimination against people with mental illnesses and to decrease incorrect and stereotypical information. Gisela received one of six fellowships awarded to journalists from the United States and two from Romania in the highly competitive pool of applicants for the 15th annual class. We are thrilled for her to be honored with this award and are confident that you will be enlightened by her upcoming reporting.

August Programming

On the programming side, please be sure to check out PBS-HD Channel 6 on Wednesday, August 10th starting at 8 p.m. and enjoy the ‘smartest night on TV’ with “Big Dreams, Cosmic Journeys”. This is a blockbuster of an evening with back-to-back local and national, award-winning programs that begin a new era in the search for signs of life on our neighboring planets; Phoenix Mars Mission: Ashes to Ice, NOVA: Is There Life on Mars, 400 Years of the Telescope and Phoenix Mars Mission: Onto the Ice.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes returns to our daytime TV schedule this month, Monday through Fridays at 3 p.m. Certain to keep you out of the heat and humidity and bring you first-rate drama and mystery, we start off with the “Armchair Thrillers”; ten episodes, including The Sign of Four Parts I & II and The Hound of the Baskervilles Parts I & II.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not publicly acknowledge the departure of Steve MacCarthy, the University’s Vice President for External Relations, who departs from UA at the end of the month to move to the University of Pennsylvania as its new Vice President for Communications. AZPM reports through Steve’s office to the University and it has been my privilege and good fortune to work with and for such a talented professional. You may recognize Steve’s name from his many appearances on our various fundraising campaigns. Steve has been a tireless advocate, fundraiser and champion of public media and AZPM. He will be missed.

As always, thank you for your viewership, listenership and continued support of Arizona Public Media.

Jack Gibson


We heartily welcome two new voices to the AZPM radio news team - Andrea Kelly and Steve Shadley. These new talented reporters are part of our strategic intent to provide you with more focus on local news. Andrea comes to AZPM from the Arizona Daily Star and covers local government and politics. Her goal is to give you what you need to make informed decisions, even when it's not election season. To read more about Andrea click here.

Steve Shadley joins AZPM as your Morning Edition news anchor and reporter. A native Arizonan, Steve is an award-winning news correspondent who attended NAU and perfected his craft at public radio stations around the country, including Chicago, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, California, Albuquerque, Madison, (Wisc.), Colorado and Phoenix. He’s found his home here at AZPM waking you up each day with your morning news. Read more about Steve here.

July, along with the start of the monsoon season, brings us a new fiscal year and continued great programming. We kick off July with one of our biggest television and 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 musical names topped off by the greatest display of fireworks anywhere in the nation. Emmy® and Golden Globe Award-winning actor Jimmy Smits hosts this all-star line-up airing on PBS-HD Channel 6 live from Washington, D.C. on Monday, July 4th from 5 – 6:30 p.m. with encore performances at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. A special audio encore will air at 8 p.m. on NPR 89.1FM/1550AM and Classical 90.5FM. Immediately following A Capitol Fourth, we air the season finale of the Emmy®-award-winning science program WaveLengths “New Science on Sleep”, an Arizona Public Media original production, at 6:30 pm. and 10:30 p.m.

AZPM offers ‘something for everyone’ this summer with new series such as Wild South America. This BBC six-part series airs Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. and takes you on exciting explorations of the diverse and unique wildlife that inhabits the dramatic landscapes of the vast South American continent. Episodes throughout July include Lost Worlds, Might Amazon, Andes, Amazon and Penguins Shores. Summer Monday nights get even better with a double dose of one of your PBS favorites Antiques Roadshow airing all summer at both 8 and 9 p.m.

The innovative Wacky Americana series takes you on a tour of America every Thursday at 8 p.m. Visit some the country’s coolest hot dog eateries with The Hot Dog Show, breakfast diners and dives with The Breakfast Special, ice cream parlors and Great Old Amusement Parks. If the heat hasn’t gotten a hold of you, I am sure the ‘Summer of Intrigue’ has! The Masterpiece Mystery detective series continues on Sunday evenings at 8 p.m. with encores on Thursdays at 9 p.m.

Click here for complete program schedules and episode summaries.

Our efforts for the benefit of Southern Arizona would simply not be possible without you. Please accept my sincere thanks for your continued support and best wishes for the summer.

Jack Gibson, Director and General Manager


Changes Coming to Public Affairs Programming

Jim Lehrer will take another step toward “winding down” his 36 years of anchoring or co-anchoring the daily public television news broadcast known now as the PBS NewsHour. Effective June 6, Lehrer will no longer be part of the regular daily anchor rotation team, but will still appear on many Friday evenings to moderate the weekly analysis of Shields and Brooks which features syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks. Lehrer said he will also remain involved in the editorial direction of the PBS NewsHour and with the program's producer, MacNeil/Lehrer Productions.

AZPM’s own Kimberly Craft has decided to leave Tucson to be closer to family and has accepted a position with KNAU-FM, our sister NPR station in Flagstaff. Kim has served audiences well as the interim host of Arizona Illustrated for the last several months. In Flagstaff, she will host local KNAU radio newscasts around All Things Considered. Since 1984, Kim has been reporting stories and hosting programs for AZPM and our community. She has served as AZPM’s principal education reporter and produced programming for a number of years in our multimedia division. We wish her all the best in her new endeavor and hope to work with her again soon --through the magic of radio.

We know our audiences depend on AZPM for the best in public affairs programming, both locally and nationally. We will take the summer to analyze our efforts with regard to Arizona Illustrated to determine what opportunities exist to improve the program -- to better serve our local community. We intend to re-launch an improved Arizona Illustrated just after Labor Day, on Tuesday, September 6th at 6:30 p.m.

In other news, June takes us to the end of another fiscal year and our year-end membership countdown. Viewer and listener support is critical to meet our financial obligations and start next year on a solid footing. Given the volatility of both state and federal funding, individual supporters have never been more critical to sustain AZPM and the programs you enjoy.

To thank those of you who have invested in AZPM and to encourage those of you who have not stepped forward to help to defray program costs, we have assembled some great programs this month on PBS-HD Channel 6. Highlights include special music performances from Eric Clapton and Les Misérables, to a new season of the popular afternoon costume drama Lark Rise to Candleford, (now airing one hour earlier at 1 p.m. starting June 13th).

For complete program schedules and episode summaries, click here.

Our efforts for the benefit of Southern Arizona would simply not be possible without you. Please accept my sincere thanks for your continued support and best wishes for the summer.

Jack Gibson, Director & General Manager


Spring in the desert means new programs are in full bloom

Thanks to the outstanding support of our listeners, AZPM completed another successful spring radio membership drive by exceeding its goal of $235,000. The campaign renewed the pledge of support from 1,734 current members and attracted 626 first-time supporters! This is a testament to our community’s desire for the best in local, national, and international news and some of the most entertaining classical and jazz music on the radio. Each campaign we receive an increasing number of contributions through our website, which is a safe and fast way to pledge or renew your support. Member dollars are reinvested right back into the NPR and classical music programs you expect from AZPM. Additionally, your support helps to make possible, increased local news coverage and special classical music performances that are presented throughout the year.

I am pleased to acknowledge the dozens of volunteers from our community who came to our studios to demonstrate their passion for public radio. More 117 people from across Southern Arizona gave their time as on-air talent or by staffing the pledge phones during the drive. We simply could not have succeeded without their time and dedication. Thank you.

All month long, tune in for great programs on PBS-HD Channel 6. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the civil rights “Freedom Rides” in the south. To mark this historic event, AZPM has compiled an emotional local memoir of the era in the original documentary production, Barrios & Barriers: The Tucson Civil Rights Era. This half-hour special will premiere on Monday, May 6 at 9 p.m. One week later, on Monday, May 16th at 9 p.m., we will present a two-hour long special, American Experience “Freedom Riders.” For a video sample and interesting details, click here. Arizona Illustrated will also feature local stories on civil rights all month long.

Every Thursday in May at 8:30 p.m. tune in for WaveLengths, AZPM’s original science magazine series. Host Vicki Chandler from UA’s Bio5 will take you on a scientific journey during each program, exploring the human brain or learning about the Galapagos Islands. Chandler makes science and technology accessible and fun. Her expertise is conveyed in a way that everyone from the most experienced researcher to the science enthusiast can learn something new.

Closing out the month of May is the National Memorial Day Concert, which we will present on PBS-HD at 5:00 and 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 29th and then again on Memorial Day at 9:00 p.m. As always, please accept my sincere thanks for your continued support of AZPM.


The Power of Public Media is Yours

Many of you have inquired where we stand on the issue of continued federal funding for public television and radio.

On March 17th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill which prohibits federal funding of National Public Radio (NPR) and the use of federal funds to acquire radio content. View voting results for HR 1076 here. You can read the story posted by the PBS NewsHour here.

A few powerful facts may help you make the call about the value of Arizona Public Media (AZPM) and public broadcasting:

• The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967 and is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. CPB has no authority over PBS, NPR or AZPM editorial policy or operations.

• CPB distributes 73% of the Congressional allocation directly to local public television and radio stations in the form of Community Service Grants. Of the remaining balance, grants are made available to PBS and NPR to support content production, for special initiatives, and to national and independent program producers.

• PBS and NPR are independent national non-profit membership organizations. AZPM is a member of PBS and NPR and pays an annual member assessment in addition to programs fees for the programs acquired for local broadcast in Southern Arizona. PBS and NPR have no authority over AZPM editorial policy or operations.

• More than 170 million Americans and more than 2 million Arizonans watch or listen to public TV or radio weekly. Arizona public television stations frequently rank in the Top 5 most-watched PBS stations in the country. Half of all TV households in Southern Arizona tune to one of AZPM’s TV channels at least once a month. Radio listening on KUAT-FM and KUAZ-AM/FM provides additional audience reach.

• AZPM is financed through a public/private partnership consisting of federal support from CPB, state support from the University of Arizona, private and family foundations, and individual and business donors. Individual members comprise the largest segment of AZPM’s revenue (38%).

• Federal dollars received at AZPM from CPB support ongoing original local productions including: local radio news reporting, Arizona Illustrated, Arizona Spotlight, Arizona Week, The Desert Speaks, WaveLengths, and classical community concerts. In addition, federal support also helps to finance documentary specials like Tucson Remembers, Phoenix Mars Mission: Ashes to Ice/Onto the Ice, Unforgettable: The Korean War, and Secrets of the Divine, to name but a few.

• Each year, tens of thousands of viewers and listeners contribute to AZPM. Member dollars received during pledge campaigns and through annual gifts made by mail support the acquisition and broadcast of programming from PBS, NPR, BBC, and other distributors.

• The University of Arizona contributes to AZPM operations with facilities support services and by helping underwrite a portion of the costs associated with broadcast operations, including operation of the UA Channel.

• All public broadcasters are licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and have significant limits on the kind of announcements they can air between programs. AZPM and every public station are non-profit entities and are not permitted to sell commercial spots or commercial time in the way other broadcast and cable operators do to earn revenue.

• Public television stations for example, offer up to two minutes (one minute national; one minute local) of underwriting acknowledgment at the beginning and at the conclusion of a program. Commercial broadcasters sell 18+ minutes of time per hour for commercial spots, plus product placement and sponsorship revenue opportunities within programs.

• PBS has been ranked America’s most trusted institution by the independent polling organization, GfK Roper, for 8 years in a row.

• KUAZ 89.1FM has been voted Tucson's Best Radio Station for News for nine consecutive years by the Tucson Weekly/Best of Tucson.

• AZPM is everywhere you are: in your home, car, computer, and on your phone. More than 50,000 unique people visitors utilize every month which hosts more than 3,000 community stories for viewing anytime, anywhere, at no cost.

• Public broadcasting provides a platform for the civil dialogue that Americans are demanding, especially in Arizona. The weekly television series Arizona Week, was launched earlier this year as a statewide effort to connect communities in a common dialogue with policy makers and each other.

• Public broadcasting’s format allows for in-depth, long-form interviews that are especially beneficial to local communities during political campaigns. In Arizona, no other broadcast service offers a comparable amount of local airtime to political candidates and elected officials to discuss the issues.

• AZPM has had a week-nightly public affairs series in production for more than 30 years. Arizona Illustrated interviewed 981 guests last year, providing audiences with in-depth features on community issues. Arizona Spotlight provided an additional 339 interviews for radio audiences.

• AZPM hosted 33 candidate forums during the last election season, including community debates for major races. AZPM also hosted several community forums to convene the community around an issue or ballot proposition — featuring a live audience on location as well as broadcasting to TV, radio and online audiences at home.

• In Southern Arizona, U.S. Homeland Security and local law enforcement officials depend on AZPM’s technical infrastructure to support emerging first-responder communication needs.

• Remote learning opportunities are supported through televised college lectures and classes for students, business and industry by AZPM, including the new Digital Learning Library for educators and students (fall 2011). In addition, AZPM radio stations support SunSounds, a radio reading service for the blind.

• AZPM’s public broadcast stations provide job training for dozens of students every year. Many go on to work in Arizona’s media industry and at media companies throughout the nation.

PBS Kids is a safe haven for our children, 24 hours a day. AZPM does not schedule any fundraising campaigns on the PBS Kids channel.

• While local commercial TV stations average 4 hours of children’s programming each week, PBS Kids provides educational children’s programs 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week.

I hope you will take the time to call or write to your members of Congress and let them know what you think. You can find their contact information here.

You can also visit 170 and register to receive updates on this issue via email. Because the future of Arizona Public Media and public broadcasting is at stake, it is important that elected representatives hear directly from you — about whether or not funding for public broadcasting should be continued.

April Programming

For two decades, filmmaker Ken Burns has brought to American public television viewers a host of award-winning productions — Baseball, JAZZ, The War, The National Parks among them. This month, to mark the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the civil war, we are proud to present an April 3-7 rebroadcast of The Civil War, the first blockbuster film series created by Burns. Viewed by 40 million people, and the highest-rated film in the history of public television, this 1990 production remains the gold standard for modern documentary filmmaking.

The programs, airing over five consecutive nights, explore the fascinating and poignant story of the bloodiest war in American history — from which a divided collection of states emerged a nation. Finally for this month, Masterpiece presents Upstairs Downstairs, the sequel to the beloved, iconic 1970s drama of the same name.

Thank you for your continued support of Arizona Public Media.



I am disappointed to report that early on February 19th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution eliminating all federal funding for public television and radio stations by a vote of 235-189.

If this House-passed bill stands, it would endanger hundreds of public radio and television organizations, including AZPM, that serve as educational, informational and cultural lifelines for millions of people nationwide. For public stations serving rural and small-town America, it would be a death sentence because these small stations rely on the federal appropriation for the bulk of their operating revenue.

Federal funding provides 14 percent of Arizona Public Media’s operating revenue and helps us to deliver commercial-free educational programming that expands children’s minds. If you have spent time watching children’s programs on Channel 6 or our PBS Kids channel, you know that we do not interrupt programs or present on-air fundraising campaigns in those schedules.

Your federal tax dollars also help to finance a large portion of our original local productions from local radio news and Arizona Spotlight to Arizona Illustrated, WaveLengths and our newest public affairs series, Arizona Week, on TV.

Some say that there is no longer a need for federal support of public broadcasting. Others believe it’s one of the best investments of federal tax dollars. For the sixth consecutive year, the non-partisan international research company GfK Roper, released the results from its national opinion survey showing that Americans consider PBS the nation’s most trusted institution among nationally known organizations and the best choice in children’s programming for ages 2-8. It also lists public television as the second best use of federal tax dollars, following military defense. You can review a summary of that report for yourself, here.

More importantly, though, is what you think.

I hope you will call members of Arizona’s Congressional Delegation and tell them what you think of public broadcasting and the proposed cuts. You can find a list of Congressional phone numbers. If you prefer, or if you cannot get through, you can call the main switchboard on Capitol Hill at 202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121.

You can also visit 170 and register to receive updates on this issue via email. Because the future of Arizona Public Media and public broadcasting is at stake, it is important that elected representatives hear directly from you — about whether or not funding for public broadcasting should be continued.

Thank you for your continued support of Arizona Public Media.

About From the General Manager

Thoughts and Letters from Jack Gibson.