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— Ex-KFMB TV editorial director Carl Sisskind has picked up a new gig as a public relations consultant to the city of San Diego, and he's putting a favorable spin on some controversial issues dear to the heart of mayor and senatorial hopeful Susan Golding. "Area water supply, convention center, Super Bowl, stadium, NTC, and other issues are important to the city's future," according to an inside document justifying Sisskind's $34,000 taxpayer-funded contract. "Providing information to the media for public consumption is critical to the success of those ventures." Asked who came up with the idea of hiring Sisskind, city spokesman Carl Nettleton is vague: "I don't really recall. We just talked about it here at the executive level. It was just part of the professional upgrading of things we do in the city." Coincidentally, another of Sisskind's clients for "corporate media training" is Stoorza, Ziegaus, & Metzger, the downtown PR firm whose subsidiary handles Golding's senate campaign ... Herb Klein, the Union-Tribune's "editor in chief" who just turned 79, doesn't seem to be slowing down any. The ex-Nixon staffer is up to his heels in secret "negotiations" over final terms of the Qualcomm stadium deal and serves on another "off the record" ad hoc city committee trying to finance a downtown baseball stadium.

Jock corps

Jacor, the mega-million-dollar media outfit that snapped up KSDO and nine other local radio stations earlier this year, then dispatched a memo ordering its employees to show up at a rally opposing a public vote on the stadium and later fired controversial talk show host John Coleman, may have a motive behind its methods. "One of the methods Jacor utilizes to develop the personality of its AM radio stations is by broadcasting professional sporting events and related programming," says a company document provided to investors last month. "Sports broadcasting serves as a key 'magnet' for attracting audiences to a station and then introducing them to other programming features, such as local and national news, entertaining talk, and weather and traffic reports." The payoff, says Jacor, is big bucks. "Jacor believes that sports broadcasting, absent unusual circumstances, is a stable source of advertising revenues. There is less competition for the sports listener, since only one radio station can offer a particular game. In addition, due to the higher degree of audience predictability, sports advertisers tend to sign contracts which are generally longer term and more stable than Jacor's other advertisers. Jacor's sales staffs are particularly skilled in sales of sports advertising."

One hump or two?

The defense industry is abuzz with news that San Diego's own Southwest Marine is getting ready to build customized submarines designed by a Spanish firm for the Egyptian navy. Egypt wants the subs to counter three Kilo-class Russian-made submarines recently acquired by its archenemy Iran. No slouches in the sub business, the Russians are also trying to sell the Egyptians on Kilo-class models, but U.S. officials are said to be blocking the move and leaning to Southwest. Egypt will be paying for the subs with part of that country's $1.2 billion worth of U.S. military aid ... Qualcomm's new "Q" cellular phone is on hold, pending resolution of a lawsuit brought by Motorola, alleging Qualcomm stole its design from Motorola's own "Startrac" phone. Now Motorola has raised the ante by slapping yet another patent-infringement suit against Shieldmate Robotics, a small injection-molding company in Itasca, Illinois, which makes the plastic casings for the "Q" phone. Shieldmate says it was only doing Qualcomm's bidding. Motorola says that's no excuse, especially since Shieldmate used to make the casings for Motorola.

Power and hot air

It's been hushed up locally, but plans are afoot to build a huge, gas-fired electrical power plant along the border at Otay Mesa. Spurred on by deregulation, U.S. Generating Co., a partnership of Pacific Gas & Electric Enterprises and Bechtel Enterprises Inc., is proposing a 660-megawatt plant, which at first would run only during peak loading periods and then gear up in accordance with future demand. Potential environmental impacts are said to be substantial.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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