Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mega 106.3 and Journal Broadcast Group: The end of my time

Today has been an extraordinary day.

I went to work this morning an employed person and came home a few hours later an unemployed person.  Isn't it amazing how quickly life can change?

I was employed at Journal Broadcast Group for six years almost to the day.  I was first hired to do mornings on 104.1 The Point in October 2005, then moved to afternoons when Journal repackaged 104.1 as "Z104.1".  When 104.1 was switched to conservative talk/news in April 2007 I was given the opportunity to move to Mega 106.3 and 104.9 to do afternoons and program the radio station.

Working on Mega has been a combination of triumph and frustration.  It had a hot run the first year I programmed it, reaching 6th with 25-54 year olds (the most desired demographic with radio advertisers).  Then budget cuts followed.  Following that in January of 2010 the broadcast tower for 106.3 fell over in an extraordinary ice and wind storm on Mount Lemmon which severely reduced the station's signal coverage.

The poor signal and technical issues took a year to resolve.  A new signal booster was put online just before Christmas 2010 but all technical issues with the station's signal were not resolved until late spring of 2011.  The station's ratings and audience declined due to poor coverage and they've been slow to recover.

In an attempt to create a signature personality for the station I put myself on mornings in addition to afternoons in May 2011.  That created a situation where I was working 70 hour weeks seven days a week but I thought that in combination with grass roots marketing through social networking and additional exposure hosting the Mega Movie on CW that would help the station's profile in the Tucson market.  The station's ratings have improved some but apparently it wasn't sufficient fast enough.

There were three of us that worked on Mega on the air:  Myself, Rosemary and Dino.  We worked hard to put on the best station we had the resources and capability to put on the air.  It was a privilege to work with both of them over the last handful of years.

While I am disappointed that my involvement with Mega and Journal has come to an end I'm proud of the attempt to make it a winner.  I had the chance to do things while working at Journal I had never had the opportunity to do before.  I was on television two nights a week on Mega's TV sister station The CW Tucson Channel 58 hosting a movie show for nearly three years.  I had never done television before that and the opportunity to do it was one I'll be forever grateful for and an amazing addition to my resume.  I also did the voiceovers for CW's promos and that was a new experience as well.

I will miss the wonderful people I worked with each day.  The hardest part of leaving any job is not having the opportunity to work with people you grow quite fond of.  I am not upset at whoemever made the decision to end my employment at Mega / Journal.  They made the decision in what they believe is the best interest of the company and that's how a business should be run.  Being selfish for a moment (I can do that right?), I hope it was a really difficult decision for the person that made it and my contribution to the day to day operation of the business is missed.  Then I'll know I was doing my job.

I posted what happened on Facebook and Twitter today and the hundreds of comments, Tweets, emails and calls have been overwhelming in a really good way.  Everyone has been amazing.

Life goes on.  I'll find another job of some sort most likely in media (since that's where I have almost all of my career experience).  I'll look fondly on my time working at Journal Tucson.  It was KENtastic!