Phil Farrar and Kevin Finnerty with their award
Phil Farrar (left) and Kevin Finnerty with their Golden Mike award.

The Radio and Television News Association of Southern California recently presented a 2018 Golden Mike award to anchor-reporter Phil Farrar and producer Kevin Finnerty of KOGO 600-AM. The award in the “Best Feature News Series Reporting” category was for a three-part series titled “Shattered in 1968: San Diego Remembers.”

The series focused on San Diego’s connection to the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and presidential candidate Robert Kennedy, as well as the Vietnam War’s “Tet Offensive” battle that began in January 1968.

The series included interviews with a local pastor who drove King around San Diego when he came to the city in 1964. Farrar also had a sit down talk with a press aide to Kennedy. San Diego was Kennedy’s last campaign stop before he traveled north to Los Angeles where he was shot and killed. Farrar also interviewed two San Diego men who were in the Marines in South Vietnam when the deadly attack began. He also sat down with an expert and author on Vietnam who gave insight on the war.

The news association said while Farrar used a descriptive narrative of creative words and voiced the stories, Finnerty engineered a powerful backdrop infusing and blending actual sounds from the Vietnam War battlefield. It was Farrar’s fourth Golden Mike award and a first for Finnerty. It was the second year for KOGO as the only San Diego radio station to be honored by the association. Awards were presented in January at the Universal Hilton in Los Angeles.

Padres Announce Spring Training Broadcast Schedule

The San Diego Padres 2018 spring training season, presented by Southwest Airlines, will feature 30 games available via TV, radio or audio webcasts.

Fox Sports San Diego will televise 15 Cactus League preseason games, including 10 live broadcasts. Some games will be simulcast on both TV and KEGY 97.3-FM The Fan, San Diego’s only 24/7 all-sports FM station and the club’s English-speaking radio flagship home.

The first televised game of spring training is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 23, when the Padres play the Seattle Mariners at the Peoria Sports Complex in an annual Charity Game.

Padres play-by-play broadcaster Don Orsillo will return to the booth for all spring training telecasts, while former Padres Mark Grant and Mark Sweeney will split time in the analyst seat. Former MLB pitcher Bob Scanlan will provide analysis and reports from beyond the dugout.

97.3-FM The Fan will broadcast at least 13 spring training games this year, with the first spring radio broadcast beginning on Feb. 23 and concluding on March 25 when the Padres venture to Seattle to face the Mariners in the first of two exhibition games. Ted Leitner and Jesse Agler will return to the booth for play-by-play and color commentary in addition to analysis provided by Tony Gwynn Jr.

At least nine games will be available only via audio webcasts on the team’s website. The first game slated for a live audio webcast is Monday, Feb. 25, when the Padres face the Chicago Cubs in Mesa. Fans can access the free live audio stream by logging in or creating a free account on

An image from the Curious Gene campaign for Hilton.

Curious Gene Ad Campaign Wins Award for i.d.e.a.

Creative ad agency i.d.e.a. of San Diego was recently presented with a Platinum Adrian award in the digital marketing innovation category from the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International. The award recognized i.d.e.a.’s “Curious Gene” campaign for Hilton Hotels’ Curio Collection properties. The Curio Collection consists of more than 50 one-of-a-kind hotels and resorts.

“When Curio Collection asked us to help brand engagement on their social channels, we researched what drives people to choose non-branded hotels,” said Jon Bailey, founder of i.d.e.a. “Curio Collection appeals to travelers seeking unexpected and authentic experiences, so we set out to create a social campaign designed specifically for that target audience.”

During the research phase, i.d.e.a. discovered a scientific study indicating that 20 percent of all humans carry the DRD4-7R gene. Called the curiosity gene, it triggers those who possess it to seek out new experiences, adventures and truths. This gene became the central platform from which i.d.e.a. and the Curio Collection marketing team created the campaign.

Ascent Student Loans Names Chief Marketing Officer

Ascent Student Loans, a division of San Diego-based finance technology company Goal Structured Solutions, has named Kim McNealy as its chief marketing officer. The company said McNealy will spearhead initiatives that will position Ascent Student Loans for continued growth in the student lending market.

Kim McNealy

Prior to joining Ascent, McNealy founded and led CMO Mojo, a company working to educate technology startups on lean marketing practices. He also has worked at Global Analytics as vice president of marketing and user experience, where he tripled the company’s United Kingdom market share. He also was marketing director at Intuit, where he led strategy for TurboTax. He also was a marketing and brand manager at General Mills and led marketing efforts for such brands as Yoplait, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury and Nature Valley.

A former U.S. Navy nuclear submarine officer, he earned his bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and a master’s in business administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Rick Griffin

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.