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Best Daily Newspaper

The Daily Gazette

Schenectady

Still the most straightforward, best edited and most informative local daily; they may be suffering under the same economic constraints as the rest of the business, but at least they don’t seem to be undergoing an ongoing identity crisis. Their coverage of the Raucci case and the scandals in the Schenectady police department was exemplary. And they have the best comics page in town.

Best TV News

Newschannel 13

WNYT

We’re still smarting from the departure of Lydia Kulbida, but despite her unfortunate absence, the Newschannel 13 team is still delivering top-notch breaking news and in-depth specialized reporting. Their 13-person crew of anchors and reporters includes a strong mix of veteran reporters and new energy.

Best Radio News

WAMC Northeast Public Radio

WAMC-FM

WAMC simply has no competition for this award. They mix reports from their far-flung regional news bureaus, capitol reports from Karen DeWitt and NPR programming to present the most comprehensive news on radio (or TV, for that matter). Also worth noting are the interviews with regional newspaper editors on The Roundtable, and local political commentary all day long.

Best Newspaper Turnaround

The Record

It was only a couple years ago that the smart money was banking against The Record, which had long suffered under the relentlessly poor management strategies of its parent company, Journal Register. In the past year, however, The Record has fought back against the odds, and we have been happily surprised. The credit was due, ironically, to the bankruptcy of JRC, which forced the corporation to reimagine itself and forge a new approach to reporting local news. And locally, we have seen the impact of this at The Record, which has doubled its editorial staff (in this economy!) over the past year, and now regularly produces the most satisfying read of any paper around.

Best Newspaper Columnist

Carl Strock

The Daily Gazette

Carl Strock is a consummate professional, and year after year he consistently engages the Capital Region with his intelligent and challenging journalism. Over this past year, he has performed an exemplary job with his courageous reporting on the trial of Steven Raucci, and the mess in the Schenectady school system.

Best TV Reporter

John McLoughlin

WTEN

Over the past year, John McLoughlin has impressed with his mighty important work in the murky political cesspool of Troy. In October, he broke the story that Bob Mirch had sneaked a Schenectady jailbird onto the ballot on the Working Families Party line in Troy as a dummy candidate (as was his habit); McLoughlin’s footage of Mirch giggling over the ruse probably cost him his reelection bid. And just this past month, McLoughlin got on the trail of another Rensselaer County Republican when he chased down and proved false the tall tales that Mayor Harry Tutunjian was telling about why Troy missed the opening date for its city pools. Give ’em hell, John.

Best TV Weatherman

Bob Kovachick

WNYT, Newschannel 13

Chief meteorologist Bob Kovachick leads a crack weather team at Newschannel 13. With a more than two-decade tenure at WNYT, he knows our local weather, and he prepares and delivers four, count ’em four, evening broadcasts each day, all with professionalism we trust and personality we love. But we implore you Bob, bring back the mustache.

Best Radio Weatherman

Paul Caiano

WAMC, Newschannel 13

He’s a good man and thorough. When Newschannel 13’s meteorologist Paul Caiano comes on the box for his “Midday Magazine” regional forecast, it’s not just a cursory run through the highs and lows or blind conjecture about precipitation. Dude lays it all out. It might start with frost warnings and the weekend outlook, but by the end of his five-minute discourse, Caiano’s spun a full mini-epic of dew points, cold fronts and barometric pressure.

Best Weekend Radio Host

Joe Gallagher

WGY-AM

Joe Gallagher, aka “weekend boy,” seems to be getting the hang of the radio show hosting thingy. He seems to have figured out which buttons to push and how to work the mic, though we question his belief that most listeners enjoy his ukulele strumming. Gallagher’s weekend morning shows on WGY are more fun than they have a right to be.

Best Political Radio Show

Live From the State Capitol With Fred Dicker

Talk 1300-AM

New York Post state political editor Fred Dicker’s show is a perennial winner. He breaks news, gets interesting (and powerful) guests, and lets the listener know where’s he’s coming from. And his “music Friday” segment, where he plays everything from 1940s pro-Stalinist ditties to 1910s anti-immigrant tunes, is a hoot.

Best Political TV Show

Capital Tonight

YNN

Capital Tonight is TV crack for political junkies; it’s the ultimate show covering state politics. Why? It’s on five nights a week. (And if your TimeWarner Cable conks out, you can listen to it on AM radio.) Host Elizabeth Benjamin brings her print-reporter experience to the nightly newsmaker interviews—and the show gets quality guests consistently.

Best Political Blog

Jimmy Vielkind

TimesUnion.Com’s Capitol Confidential

Smart, to-the-point, and often funny, Jimmy Vielkind has assumed the “top blogger” perch at the New York State Capitol.

Best Political Blogtapus

Times Union Community Blogs

TimesUnion.Com

From the sublime to the ridiculous, the Times Union’s community blogs contain multitudes.

Best Agit-Blog

Albany Citizen One

albanycitizenone.blogspot.com

No one, in the legitimate or illegitimate press, can keep up with Theresa Grafflin. Blogging under the nom de plume Albany Citizen One, Grafflin has positioned herself as the most insidery and most irritating insider in the insular world of Albany city politics. No small feat, to be sure, for a reporter or a blogger. And we appreciate having her around, even when what she has to write makes us cringe.

Best Arts Blog

Nippertown

Music writer extraordinaire Greg Haymes, musician/programmer Sara Ayers and phonics-boggling photographer Andrzej Pilarczyk—the team behind Nippertown—deliver quick hits of local arts and music news, tips and criticism on an often hourly basis. They’re neck-deep in the scene, and report about it with savvy enthusiasm and just enough snark to keep it amusing.

Best Food Blog: Steve Barnes

Photo: Joe Putrock

Best Food Blog

Steve Barnes

Table Hopping

“Pull up a chair and talk about food,” urges Steve Barnes’ blog Table Hopping. His comprehensive conversation of all-things gastronomic will have you not only pulling up a chair but drooling on your keyboard. He challenges readers to delight in food, to understand the business behind food, and their consumer choices. And folks love it—Table Hopping recently celebrated a landmark 50,000 comments.

Best Puppy Blog

Fridaypuppy.com

Everybody now: Awwwww. Restaurateur Matt Baumgartner’s insanely popular blog begins with readers submitting photos of their cutey-patootie, fuzzy-wuzzy snoogle-puss every Friday and then voting on the cutie-patootiest, but that’s just the hook. Friday Puppy also features conversation regarding preferred breakfast cereal, reader polls for favorite Real Housewife of New Jersey, and all kinds of “Puppy Prizes.” Just remember to keep it clean—otherwise, Matt will disem-vowel your comments.

Best Civic Television

Albany Community Television

albanycommunitytelevision.com

Before this volunteer community organization came around, if you wanted to catch a meeting of your city government, you had to show up. If you wanted to hold a politician to their word, you had to record it yourself. With an archive of video going back to February 2009, this minuscule team of civic-minded videographers has captured almost all of the important meetings—council, committee, caucus, ad hoc, you name it—in Albany that can directly affect you.

Best Music Radio Station (Commercial)

WEQX 102.7 FM

The rest of commercial radio may continue to decline, but WEQX stays true it its mission—and remains a great station to listen to. The Manchester, Vt.-based mainstay presents “alternative” music in all its ragged glory, from the Black Keys to Laredo to the Hold Steady. Keep on doin’ what you’re doin’, EQX!

Best Independent Radio Station (Public)

WEXT 99.7 FM

Just as independent bands these days survive by the goodwill of the community that they serve, so do the radio stations that play them. Having just celebrated its third birthday, WEXT is deeply committed to the region—not only its local musicians, whom the station plays more than any other, but its listeners, to whom the station offers guest DJ spots and relies on for support. Definitely a win-win situation.

Best College Radio Station

WCDB 90.9 FM

UAlbany

There was a stretch there when tuning into UAlbany’s student-run radio station yielded untzy techno and meatheads from Long Island discussing who got wastedest last weekend. But this past year or so has seen a return to the kind of taste-breaking programming that makes college radio vital, and once earned CDB the reputation of the first area station to play bands like Jane’s Addiction and Melissa Etheridge.

Best Indie Rock Radio Show

Hello Pretty City

WEXT

Laura Glazer is nearly as well-known for her distinctive radio voice as she is for her excellent taste in contemporary music (and artwork, and photography . . .), and it’s these two things that make her weekly two-hour show the best of its kind. Hello Pretty City used to be the best reason to wake up early on a Tuesday morning when Glazer started at WRPI, but after a move to Sunday nights on WEXT, it’s the best way to wind down a weekend and get psyched on cool new music.

Best Free-Form Radio DJ

Hair Man Du

WRPI

Quick, wherever you are, tune into “nifty 91-fitty, W-RRRRRR-P-I Troy.” Chances are, Hair Man Du is taking you through. The guy doesn’t sleep. Whenever the station isn’t playing Democracy Now, In the Spirit, or any number of student-hosted shows, the Hair Man is manning the booth, spinning playlists that spurn thematic continuity, performing skits in multiple voices, and improvising public service announcements about forest fire prevention over abstract John Fahey tracks. A true master of his art.

 

 

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