Back in the saddle: John C. Scott to return to Tucson airwaves, again
It would take a two-hour radio show to recount the times talk show host John C. Scott has bounced around the radio dial, but he's not looking back. Scott, 73, will return his eponymous interview program to Tucson radio — this time at the helm of a new liberal station, the revamped KEVT 1210 AM.
"Call it realistic, call it responsible," Scott said Monday. "Yes, it's liberal. The progressive voice is not heard in this town, on the radio."
Scott said he hopes to have his show, and a stable of syndicated national talkers such as Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann and Bill Press, on the air by Nov. 1.
"This is a university town, a Democratic-majority city, but all of the talk radio has traditionally leaned far to the right," he said.
Scott was last on the air with his show, which has been on the radio on various local radio stations almost continuously since 1989, in February. The 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. KEVT was then being run by conservative morning-show host Jim Parisi, who took the station off the air that month.
The KEVT signal, licensed to a transmitter in Sahuarita, is owned by Armando Zamorra, who had leased the station to Parisi beginning in February 2014.
Scott, whose often curmudgeonly take on issues leaves many wondering if he's a liberal or conservative, declined to detail his arrangement with the station owner. Scott said he was being backed by a number of local Democrats in getting the station back up and running.
"I'm getting to do what I always wanted to do: progressive talk seven days a week," he said.
"With all of the right-wing yammering on the air, every time I listen to the radio I want to crash my car into a telephone pole," Scott said. "But, I ask myself, 'why destroy the car?'"
"So, the John C. Scott Show will live again," he said.
Scott will take his usual time slot, 3-5 p.m. While his program will likely be the only local show on the station when it relaunches, he hopes to add additional programming about Tucson issues. Scott said he plans to keep the station focused on news and analysis.
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 then spent two years at KEVT, before the station went dark last winter.
In 2013, the Tucson Advertising Federation gave Scott the Golden Mic Award in recognition of his career.
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 in February. "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 gotten fired (from stations) because I was too liberal," he said Monday.
Since he left the airwaves in February, Scott had worked on the reelection campaign of County Attorney Barbara LaWall.
"But that ended with the primary," he said. "She had an overwhelming victory, which I'm proud of. But now I need something to do, and I wasn't going to just sit on my couch."
"So I'm starting this up for people who want to hear the rest of the story," he said.