Lisa Simpson, the former executive director of Arizona Newspapers Association, and Chris Kline, the former president/ CEO of Arizona Broadcasters Association, have known each other for years since they both lobby on issues that affect their association's members similarly. The major difference between the two is Lisa's members are from newspapers, and Chris' are broadcasters.
But in a world where more and more media content is being shared and consumed on the same devices by the same audiences, to some, it seems archaic and a bit outdated to define a news media company primarily by its legacy platform of delivery (such as a press or transmitter). Moreover, most agree that a broadcaster and a legacy news company compete less with each other for ad dollars, where both lose the lion's share of local media revenue to big tech companies like Google and Meta/ Facebook.
Add to that how corporate media empires have grouped more and more local outlets under common ownership, depleting association membership numbers. It seemed only logical to these two state media leaders that merging resources would be a logical way to strengthen the support provided to both association memberships.
So on August 20, 2023, history was made when two separate media associations that for years considered themselves competitive for audience and ad dollars — Arizona Newspapers Association and Arizona Broadcasters Association — announced that their boards approved that they would become one on September 1, 2023. Arizona Media Association was created.
Both Kline and Simpson will remain on board in leadership roles, with Kline taking the "top chair" of CEO and president. Kline was quoted in the initial announcement: "There is a significant amount of line-blurring between platforms. For most news consumers, all local outlets fall under the umbrella of local news, making the merger a logical next step for the industry organizations in Arizona." He added, "It gives us a lot of extra room to stand boldly," Kline said of the partnership, "with hundreds of companies across platforms.”
In this episode of "E&P Reports," we explore the groundbreaking move by two organizations that considered themselves competitive for decades. Arizona Newspapers Association and Arizona Broadcasters Association merge into Arizona Media Association. We chat about the "whys and hows" of the union with Lisa Simpson, the former executive director of Arizona Newspapers Association, and Chris Kline, the former president/ CEO of Arizona Broadcasters Association. We also learn their future plans for advancing the industry and serving their combined membership.
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