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BEST OF PEOPLE & PLACES:

Best TV News

NewsChannel 13 (WNYT, Channel 13)

Mature, professional and straightforward delivery and solid news judgment are what you get (most of the time) when you tune into NewsChannel 13. It’s the most reliable source in the area, and rarely does it miss a breaking story.

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Best TV News anchor

Ed Dague
NewsChannel 13 (WNYT, Channel 13)

You just can’t beat Ed Dague. It could be his years of experience, it could be his on-camera presence, or it could just be the way he handles Alan Chartock during his daily commentary—whatever it is, there’s just something in the way he does the news that keeps us coming back for more.

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Best TV Sportscaster

Lars Lifrak
NewsChannel 13 (WNYT, Channel 13)

We are highly encouraged when Roger Wyland takes a vacation, because that’s when Lars Lifrak is in the bullpen. We find his straightforward, call-a-spade-a-spade, I-know-a-lot-about-all-the-sports (not just BB&F) approach very refreshing. Could Lifrak be the next Bob McNamara or Rip Rowan? Stay tuned.

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Best TV Weatherman

Steve Caporizzo
News 10 (WTEN, Channel 10)

Steve Caporizzo finally made the top of our list earlier this year when that flurry of freak tornadoes touched down in Saratoga and Rensselaer counties. While we watched and waited in anticipation for the other news channels to bring us the up-to-the-minute information—to no avail—we found ourselves repeatedly flipping back to News 10. There we could reliably find Caporizzo reading viewer e-mails and faxes, reporting from weather tickers and providing us with regular news flashes on the storms’ progress. While the other weathermen popped in and out with updates every once in a while, Caporizzo stood by us—almost literally—throughout the storm. It’s also worth noting that Caporizzo uses his high-profile position to better the lives of the less fortunate—less-fortunate animals, that is. He raises funds constantly for animal shelters in New York and Massachusetts, and in 1990 he started the “Pet Connection” segment of the Channel 10 news, in which a homeless animal is featured on the 5 PM news every Monday and Thursday evening. We’ve even spotted him on his days off at animal-adoption clinics in the region. To top it all off, we hear he’s also raised funds for the American Lung Association, the Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center and the Center for the Disabled. Come on—with a record like that, how could we not give this guy Best TV Weatherman?

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Best Newspaper

The Daily Gazette
Schenectady

Though this paper could use a redesign (it’s looking just a bit too stodgy and gray for our taste these days—but hey, everyone’s a critic, right?), the Daily Gazette still offers the most comprehensive daily news coverage of any paper in town.

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Best Music Radio

WSPN (91.1 FM)

Truly independent radio is hard to come by these days, but Saratoga’s WSPN (91.1 FM) is one station that still lets its DJs decide what to play. Tune in to hear which indie rock bands the Skidmore College students are listening to these days, or check out the many excellent, longstanding shows spun by community members—Phil Donnelly’s King Loser’s Cut-Out Bin (the best of obscure rock, garage, punk and psychedelia), Gail Mattson’s highly-revered Just Jazz, Chris McGill’s Simpatico (folk, bluegrass) or the ever-popular Polka Magic. If you’re outside the reach of the radio waves, WSPN’s Internet broadcast will allow you to listen from anywhere.

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Best Radio That Doesn’t Rock

WAMC (90.3 FM)

A Prairie Home Companion, This American Life, Fresh Air, All Things Considered . . . need we say more? OK, one more: the Zucchini Brothers. What other radio station packs in so much great programming? We even get stuck listening to its pledge drives . . . yikes!

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Best On-Air Music Resource

Audio visionaries: Sounding Board. Photo by Martain Benjamin.

Sounding Board
Time Warner Cable Channel 9

We keep pinching ourselves, marveling at the fabulously-far-beyond-the-call-of-duty commitment that Time Warner Cable of Albany continues to make, year after year, to bring Sounding Board into our homes each weekend. Over the past year, the show stretched its creative wings with a new mobile recording studio, taping shows outside its longtime Washington Avenue Extension home—and in the fall, it’s going to be back on the air with a brand-new, permanent studio at Time Warner’s new facility in Rotterdam. And the music? It just keeps getting—and sounding—better and better and better and better.

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Best Voice for Local Business

Business Matters
WRGB (Channel 6)

With so much business news focusing on large corporations and the ups and downs of the securities markets, it’s nice to see a local show spotlighting the ideas, concerns and successes of small local businesses. A thoughtfully produced show that gives local owners a chance to talk about how business gets done in the real world that exists beyond the smoke and mirrors of Enron, Arthur Andersen and the Dow Jones.

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Best Strokefest

The Media Project
WAMC (90.3 FM)

It’s such a good idea: Have local media gurus examine, collectively, how news gets reported—and distorted. But bring us behind the scenes a little: What really happened between Alan Chartock and Mario Cuomo? Who are the sacred cows that Times Union reporters know they can’t touch? What are the underlying reasons for the shallow and usually slanted foreign reporting in the U.S. media? And in general, how do corporate and other moneyed interests set the agenda for the mainstream press? We suspect that certain folks on the show don’t want to admit (or even believe) that that’s actually true—and would rather trade inside jokes about state politics and slap each other on the back.

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Readers Poll Results:

Best Local TV News

  1. Channel 13
  2. Channel 6

Best Local TV Anchor

  1. Ed Dague
  2. Liz Bishop

Best Meteorologist

  1. Bob Kovachick
  2. Steve Caporizzo

Best Sportscaster

  1. Rodger Wyland
  2. Dan Murphy

Best News Radio Station

  1. WAMC
  2. 810 WGY

Best Music Radio Station

  1. WEQX
  2. WRPI
  3. The Channel 103.1 (tie)

Best Local Radio DJ

  1. Jim Barrett
  2. The Wolf (tie)
  3. Jason Keller

Best Internet Provider

  1. Road Runner
  2. AOL

Best Print Journalist

  1. Fred LeBrun
  2. Al Quaglieri

Best Local Publication

  1. Metroland
  2. Times Union

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You Said It:

Best Use of Public Funds

Congress park carousel . . . trying Zwack . . . filling potholes . . . tulips . . . animal shelters . . . clean the river . . . walkway to Corning Preserve . . . Pine Bush . . . horse cops

Best Misuse of Public Funds

Zwack trial . . . Congress park carousel . . . Schenectady Police Department . . . Library bus stop . . . racetrack . . . Pataki . . . Troy . . . Saratoga County landfill . . . charter schools

Best Place to Take a First Date

Cooperstown . . . Empire State Plaza . . . Scotia Theater . . . NYC ballet . . . Oakwood Cemetery . . . Museum . . . the Egg . . . Saratoga . . . Indian Ladder . . . Ben & Jerry’s and Washington Park theater . . . Kurver Kreme

Best Place to Hook Up

Happy hour . . . Empire State Plaza . . . bar . . . internet . . . Washington Park . . . library . . . racetrack . . . Ale House ladies room . . . Riverhouse

Best time under to be Had in the Capital Region for Under $10

watch Cohoes landfill torch . . . Capitol vendors . . . Lark’s Dunkin Donuts’ parking lot . . . Alive at Five . . . teasing passersby . . . Grafton Peace Pagoda

Best Place to Experience Road Rage

787 . . . Troy . . . Albany rush hour . . . Saratoga in August . . . Balltown Road . . . Latham Circle . . . Crossgates . . . Wolf Road . . . Central Avenue

Best Village Idiot

R.A. DePrima . . . Al Jurzyinski . . . Justin Resnick . . . Roger Ploof . . . Mark Pattison . . . Pataki . . . Joseph Bruno . . .
Schenectady police chief . . . Rensselaer police chief . . . Nancy the Monument Park freak . . . No Nose of Schoharie

Best Person to Run the Capital Region After the Revolution

Abe Lincoln . . . landlord’s dog . . . Jim Kuntsler . . . Jason Martin with Scotty Mac as head of the military . . . H. Carl McCall . . . Bob Mason . . . Steve Nover . . . Duane Beer . . . Hamell on Trial . . . Marylou Whitney . . . Kari from the Ale House . . . Ted Etoll . . . Paul Bray

Best-Kept Secret in the Capital Region

Ed Dague has full neck mobility . . . local music scene . . . Ed Dague’s scalp . . . where our taxes go . . . John Sweeney’s history . . . Artie’s Lansingburgh Station’s jukebox . . . Trink . . . El Loco’s cute women . . . the Velmas . . . Saratoga Poetry Zone . . . IQ of Rensselaer police . . . river

Best Way to Keep People From Leaving

Fences . . . leg irons . . . construction takes care of it nicely . . . pro sports team . . . build a dome and heat it . . . moat . . . go-go and juice bars . . . free beer . . . lower utility bills . . . refurbish Lark Street . . . wet T-shirt contests . . . move the stinky river

Best Local celebrity With Whom You’d Like to Have a One-Night Stand

Steve Ammerman . . . Benita Zahn . . . Ed Dague . . . Steve Caparizzo . . . Kumi Tucker . . . Mike Eck . . . Ian Carlton . . . Kevin McKrell . . . Margaret Black . . . any female Fox News reporter . . . that Ann chick on Fox . . . Lisa Riley

Best Local Felon

Mike Tyson . . . Jim Coyne . . . Schenectady Police Department . . . Jim Conroy . . . Al Lawrence . . . Joel O’Keefe . . . R.A. DePrima

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