Thursday, April 1, 2010

Goodbye, Mr. Arnold... And Thank You

In a shock to us at KOLD, Jim Arnold, our vice-president and general manager, is leaving to deal with personal issues.

As he told Tucson Weekly:
"I have a son who's been battling a brain tumor most of his life," Arnold explained. "He's lost most of his vision. He does a wonderful job working at the UA Athletic Department. He's a remarkable young man. He's been with us now for the past eight years, and when your kid is sick, it's just a natural layer of stress, no matter how well they're doing.

"Over the last year, that stress has taken a toll on my wife and myself. I can't eliminate the family stress. That is something we deal with on a daily basis. ... I can rid myself of the stress of day-to-day work. For the past year, I've been very tired. It's a grind. I don't need to be told it's a grind every day. I know it's a grind. I finally said, 'Timeout, enough, I'm going to take some family time and Jim time.'"
Jim has been with us for the past decade, piloting KOLD News 13 to a number one station from the back of the pack.

I started at the station on December 31, 1999, six months before Jim took the reins. When I came in, we were in the rebuilding mode. Bad management had left us hovering between second and third in the news ratings, although on some days you could say we were in fourth. KVOA was the number one station, and it dominated. I knew our folks wanted to win, but we just weren't pulling it off.

Enter Mr. Arnold. He tells this story about his first day on the job, when an executive with our parent company, Raycom Media, called to give him an official welcome.

"Have you seen the ratings book?" he asked.

"Yes, I have," Jim answered.

"Are you coming back tomorrow?"

Yes, he did. One of Jim's first moves was to start finding people who could lead and fix the problems. He found the right people to get our news department out of first gear. He found the right people for marketing and sales. He stressed community service. CBS also helped with a little show called CSI. Mr. Arnold told us that if you had one big hit show, it could work wonders to promote the rest of your station.

The needle moved in our direction. A KVOA reporter told one of our reporters, "We just had a meeting about your ratings." Within a few years, we hit the top and stayed there. It's been a load of work getting there, but none of us would want to be where we started.

The journey continues, and I know Jim would like to be with us. In spirit, he always will. Thanks, Mr. Arnold. Be Blessed.

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