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Best Commercial Music Radio

WEQX 102.7 FM

The gang at WEQX continues to impress. With another year of quality programming behind them, they remain one of the most interesting—and important, and most importantly, independent—stations in the country. Now if they’d only drop that Blue October song from the playlist . . .

Best Wacky Whatever Music Radio

WVCR 88.3 FM

In April, the high-powered Siena College FM station known as The Saint (finally) ditched the Top-40 format, which was nothing but a good thing. Their switch to a format that supports the motto “We play anything” proved to be icing on the cake. Guns N’ Roses. Roxette. Kenny Loggins. Zeppelin. Abba. Chuck the iPod; here’s your shuffle mode.

Best Night for Local Music on the Radio

Sunday

If you’re hoping to hear some homegrown sounds on your radio dial, all you need to do is hit the power button between 7 and 11 PM on Sunday evening. That’s when you can catch local-music showcase programs like EQX-posure (WEQX 102.7 FM), Jason Keller’s long-running Big Break (WHRL 103.1), and Ralph Renna’s new Capital Underground (WZMR 104.9); we’re pretty sure Jim Barrett’s Acoustic Kaleidoscope is still around somewhere, too. If you know when and where to tune in, you can take in a solid four-hour block of local music. Not too shabby.

WAMC’s Joe Donahue and guest Bob Scott on Vox Pop.

Best Radio News (Global)

WRPI and WAMC (tie)

If after listening to the five-hour broadcast of BBC World Service aired every weekday night on WAMC you still feel uninformed as to world events, there is always Democracy Now waiting for you weekday mornings on WRPI. And as much as we respect BBC, we just can’t get through the day without that caffeine-like jolt of true underground reporting offered by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. Listen to these two broadcasts and you will be set to discuss geopolitics with the most savvy of world-weary travelers.

Best Radio News (Local)

WAMC

Ah, the crisp early-morning chatter of WAMC’s news department gets us through the day. Over all, they are doing what no other local radio station can manage: keeping us informed with first-rate local programming all day long.

Best Coverage of the State Capitol (Radio)

Karen DeWitt, New York Public Radio

DeWitt delivers informative stories under the time constraints of radio better than anyone in town, and her contributions to political TV talking-heads shows are always worthwhile.


Best Radio Meteorologist (Unabridged)

Mike Landon

WAMC’s Mike Landon may at times need an editor as badly as we do. His lengthy weather reports don’t miss one temperature that interests him, one measurement that excites him. And that tells us he simply loves his job. Who else is going to tell you the temperature in the mambajamba territories? See? We need an editor right now.

Best TV News

News Channel 13 WNYT

A perennial winner because they have the deepest, most experienced staff and the most straightforward approach to presenting the news. And the weekend news, hosted by Kumi Tucker, is as worth watching as the nightly broadcasts with Lydia Kulbida and Jim Kambrich.

Best News Anchor

Jim Kambrich

We didn’t think anyone could fill Ed Dague’s shoes at WNYT, but Kambrich has come as close as could be. Smooth and knowledgeable, he’s the perfect TV partner for Lydia Kulbida.

Best TV Meteorologist

Steve Caporizzo

This is actually one of the more difficult categories, because there are a number of first-rate meteorologists in the area. WTEN-10’s Caporizzo stands out for his unflappable delivery, and—we admit it—his work with the puppies. (We have to be soft-hearted about something.)

Best Impersonation of a Journalist

John Gray

Whether it is his near- insightful segues on Fox News or his pleasantly forgettable column in the Record, Gray never fails to impress. His dedication to the Collins Park geese is admirable, and his straight-backed posture screams “serious journalist.” One of our favorite moments, the opening to his May 10 column in the Record, is an amusing attempt at hyperbole: “Six-hundred-and-forty-seven miles. That’s the precise distance between I-90 in Albany and the Duke University campus in Durham, N.C. The two places couldn’t be farther apart . . .”

Best Public-Access TV Trainwreck

The Unreal Variety Show

Time Warner Cable

Some know him as “The Legend” Rayford Faulkner. Others know him as that guy with the plastic Price Chopper bag tied around his skull. Sometimes he performs an approximation of music at open-mic nights ’round the area. And for the last several years, this bizarre man has “hosted” this bizarre public-access show. Somehow it’s caught on: The show now airs on cable systems in Schenectady, Albany, New York City, and (he claims) Hollywood, Calif. Could he possibly become the superstar he’s always thought he was? Tune in next time . . .

Best Blog on Local Politics

Troy Polloi

The Troy Polloi is exactly what you want from a blog about local politics: A place where rumors are swapped, dirt is dished and a small but dedicated readership leaves regular comments. Although this routinely updated blog often trends toward the cheesy, with its Photoshopped swipes at officials and ham-fisted humor, we have to give it its props. Democratus, the blog’s author, has demonstrated a doggedness with certain issues that can only be called admirable. Plus, we think the Gillibrand banner ad is just plain funny.

Best Print Reporter

Brendon Lyons

Times Union

Lyons has proven his mettle more than once on stories of consequence. From his thorough coverage of the FBI sting that netted two local Muslims in an alleged terrorism plot to his reporting on the unfortunate death of local detective Ken Wilcox, the guy has proven his dedication to bringing out the story. It is just too bad that most of his time lately has been wasted covering ad nauseum the sordid details of the Porco case.

Best Coverage of the State Capitol (Print)

Times Union

The excellent staff, including Elizabeth Benjamin, Jay Jochnowitz, James Odato and Rick Karlin, covers the capitol with insight and—on the Capitol Confidential blog—humor. A winning team.

Best Newspaper Web Site

Times Union

As the newspaper industry struggles to find its place in the egalitarian world of the internet, the Times Union has taken impressive strides. And it has done so by simply not making the same mistakes many of its competitors have, such of charging for access and being too skimpy with online fare. With constantly breaking news, a regionwide calendar, reporters’ blogs, and many other features, this site has become a one-stop spot for all the things that mainstream Capital Region has to offer. Too bad the TU’s news coverage isn’t blazing trails, as well.

Best Local Sports Coverage

The Record

The Record, formally the Troy Record, went through a huge metamorphosis this past year and it has made a marked difference in the paper’s appeal, but most notably in its local sports coverage. While the other dailies print a small piece and leave the rest to box scores, The Record will often put a breaking local sports piece on their back cover and follow it up with well-written, informative piece inside. And the coverage is not just BBF (baseball, basketball and football); they also cover soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, ice hockey and others.

Best Apology Disguised as a Column

Rex Smith’s Saturday Times Union Column

TU executive editor Rex Smith’s instincts are often right, but whether he’s writing about defending press freedoms or explaining why some section of the paper has been changed, he always reads like he’s apologizing. (Think Peter Sellers’ U.S. President Merkin Muffley in Dr. Strangelove.) It’s OK to add a little snark to your writing. You know, like Dan Lynch did.

 

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