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Switched off: John C. Scott off air - again - after quarter-century of radio

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Switched off: John C. Scott off air - again - after quarter-century of radio

Has longtime broadcaster finally dropped the mic? Stay tuned

  • John C. Scott
    John C. Scott

Tucson's long-running talk radio host is yet again without a microphone, as the John C. Scott Show has run into static. Scott, whose show has been on various local radio stations almost continuously since 1989, has been off the air since Monday.

Scott's political and public affairs radio program had been broadcasting on AM 1210 since February 2014, the latest in a series of bounces that had him on just about every radio signal in town at one point or another.

Scott was tight-lipped about why his show isn't broadcasting afternoons on KEVT.

"We're not compatible at this point; that's all I can really say," Scott said Thursday.

The station, branded as PowerTalk Radio by manager and radio host Jim Parisi, has been playing sports talk radio in Scott's place since Monday.

Parisi was also reluctant to comment, saying only that "things didn't work out."

Parisi, who hosts a morning talk radio show, took over the station, is licensed to Sahaurita, where the radio tower is located, in 2014, leasing it from the owner of the broadcast license.

This isn't the first time the 73-year-old Scott has been off the air, but he said that this time he may not seek a return.

"I'm really proud of what we did with the show," he said. "People learned from the discussions we had."

But, "I've learned to not exaggerate (reports of) my death," he said.

Scott had eye surgery this week, so he would likely have broadcast "best of" repeats for at least several days, but the timing of the split means he won't get a farewell show such as he had the last time he ended a run on a station.

In December 2013, Scott left KVOI over differences in opinion over content between him and station owner Doug Martin.

At that time, he said he wouldn't seek to move to another signal.

"I've been doing the broadcast thing for more than 50 years," he said. "I started when I was 16.'

Scott was then in his second run at that AM station.

His program, which featured in-depth interviews with politicians and community leaders (and regular appearances by a cast of local journalists, including yours truly), made the rounds of local airwaves.

"We moved the show to five different stations through the years," Scott said in 2013. "We were at KTUC, then KTKT, KVOI, the Jolt, then back at KVOI." His career also included radio stints at KHYT and KCUB, and in TV news for several stations.

Scott, an interviewer who was never shy about sharing his own opinions, left many listeners unclear about where he stood on the political spectrum, as he challenged both Republican and Democratic politicians alike.

"I'm a registered Democrat," he said. "I served in the state Senate as a Democrat. I also ran for office as a Republican." (Scott, then known as John Scott Ulm, was elected in 1972 and served one term. He unsuccessfully ran in a 1998 GOP legislative primary.)

"I've always said 'I'm in the hemp business,'" he said two years ago when he thought he was winding up his days on the air. "I'd give people just enough rope to either hang themselves as they talked, or they could pull people along with them."

Scott said he couldn't point to a favorite interview.

"We did thousands of shows, tens of thousands of interviews," he said. "I interviewed Bill Clinton. We broadcast from Vietnam and China, Washington and Israel. We made a yearly trip up to the Legislature."

In 2013, the Tucson Advertising Federation gave Scott the Golden Mic Award in recognition of his career.

"Every day, we gave people something they did not know — an interview, some insight into a news story," he said. "Our idea was to always ask, 'what can we learn from this?'"

"If you listened to the John C. Scott Show and you learned something, our thought was that was a good show."

"It was a pretty long run," Scott said in 2013. "A lot of people don't get that kind of run. It had to end sometime."

Has Scott finally dropped the mic? Stay tuned.

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jim parisi, john c. scott

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