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BEST OF PEOPLE & PLACES:

Best TV News

NewsChannel 13
WNYT, Channel 13

The most reliable source for accurate, sensible and timely television news in the Capital Region. In an age of blanket coverage and reactionary reporting (with accuracy often playing second fiddle to expediency), NewsChannel 13’s roster of experienced anchors and reporters brings a sense of needed responsibility to television journalism.

Best TV NewS Anchor

Ed Dague
NewsChannel 13 (WNYT, Channel 13)

Ed’s been off the air for the past few months struggling with spinal arthritis, and the airwaves have never been emptier. Known for his frank delivery and sharp sense for news, Dague also has that special way of grilling his spot reporters, making them think on-air about what they’ve just read. Oh, Ed, how we miss you so. We look forward to your return—well and soon.

Best TV Sports Anchor

Lars Lifrak
NewsChannel 13 (WNYT, Channel 13)

Lifrak knows football, baseball and basketball, but unlike most of the other sportscasters in this market, Lifrak knows soccer, hockey, cycling, NASCAR and other slightly more obscure sports. And he gets it. We don’t think Roger Wyland will be retiring any time soon, but when ol’ Rog is away, it’s nice to get a more rounded version of Big Board Sports.

Best TV Weather Anchor

Bob Kovachick
NewsChannel 13 (WNYT, Channel 13)

With years of meteorological experience under his belt, it’s no wonder Bob Kovachick is still wooing audiences, including Metroland, with his talk of barometric pressure and warm air masses. But it’s not just the words; watch him work the blue screen. Kovachick’ll be giving us the lowdown on the atmospheric conditions in the North Country and then he’ll drop his hand and, in a heartbeat, we know the relative humidity in Cobleskill. Mmmmm. And Doppler, how could we live without his Doppler?

Best TV News to Watch With the Sound Off

Fox News at 10
WXXA, Channel 23

We suppose we could watch Fox for the news, but we prefer to get the real scoop from the other stations’ sober and serious news teams—then turn down the lights, light some candles, put on some Barry White and get comfy with the youthful hotties of Fox News at 10.

Best Daily Newspaper

Daily Gazette and Sunday Gazette
Schenectady

A perennial winner, the Gazette continues to demonstrate the fundamentals that separate a good daily newspaper from any other media source: strong local coverage and independence. While the latter is becoming as rare as a panda pup, the Gazette wins at the former by maintaining a bigger news hole and, like Avis, trying harder. If you think giant conglomerates don’t affect the news coverage of their subsidiaries, just recall the way the war in Iraq was played by that local Hearst-affiliated daily, then appreciate that the little guy in Schenectady remains family-owned and independent. We sure do.

Best News Reporter

Elizabeth Benjamin
Time Union, Capitol Bureau

Jumping from Albany City Hall coverage to the Capitol Bureau, Elizabeth Benjamin has risen through the ranks at the Times Union over the past few years, and we think the paper has been well served. Not only does Benjamin bring often-monotonous state issues to life with her deft, flowing prose, she possesses notable skills as a reporter and a keen ear for the telling quote. Benjamin also does a pretty good job covering national politics for the TU when D.C. pols come to the Capital Region. Keep an eye out for her byline—before it packs up and moves to a bigger paper.

Best Arts Writer

Timothy Cahill
Times Union

We’ve chosen Cahill for this honor before, and the reasons this time are much the same: He is the most consistently thoughtful and thorough arts writer working the beat in this region. Not content simply to follow trends or pander to popular opinion, Cahill chooses and examines his subjects with care and passion, not only for aesthetic and entertainment value but for how they illustrate the ideas and processes behind art. Then he does perhaps the most important thing an arts writer can do: He writes clearly and convincingly enough to make those ideas and processes accessible to the rest of us.

Best Local News Web Site

Times Union
www.timesunion.com

If something big happens in the Capital Region, you can trust that the Times Union’s Web site will have the story up and running by the time you can get your computer booted up. The site is always up-to-date, it’s easy to navigate, and for the most part it’s free, unlike other news websites in the area. The photos are pretty cool as well.

In the public interest: WAMC. Photo by John

Best Public Affairs Radio

WAMC (90.3 FM)

It’s hard to compete with WAMC for public affairs coverage. With Midday Magazine, 51 Percent, The Capital Connection, The Law Show, The Best of Our Knowledge, The Legislative Gazette—need we go on?—you’re pretty much guaranteed interesting, intelligent and comprehensive coverage whenever you tune in. We could do without the accordion playing during the fund drives, but there’s no disputing that WAMC provides us with some of the best that area radio has to offer.

Best World News Radio Programming

WRPI (91.5 FM)

Some of the most important radio broadcasts in the area during the build-up to and beginning of U.S. military intervention in Iraq came out of 1 WRPI Plaza. Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! and the media criticism show Counterspin, put together by the media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, offered local audiences perspective they couldn’t even dream of getting from Clear Channel.

Best Arts Radio Programming

WAMC (90.3 FM)

The region’s provider of all our National Public Radio faves—A Prarie Home Companion, This American Life, the deliciously throaty Marion McPartland’s Piano Jazz, Selected Shorts, Mountain Stage, Music From the Hearts of Space—also has to be given props for its locally produced arts and entertainment programming: from The Book Show to Bluegrass Time, Laurel Masse Jazz Night to simulcasts of the Albany and Boston symphony orchestras, WAMC offers up an impressive cross-section of the area’s artistic personality. And with the Linda Norris Auditorium welcoming the likes of Richard Buckner, the Kamikaze Hearts and Marshall Crenshaw for live performances, it looks as though WAMC is branching out to embrace a younger and/or less exclusively middle-age-couple-with-matching-ponytails-and-wire-rims demographic.

Best of the Sunday Pundits

New York Week in Review
WMHT, Channel 17

Karen DeWitt, WAMC’s New York state government correspondent, and Jim Brennan, former WTEN anchor, moderate this weekly roundtable discussion of journalists covering New York state issues. The journalists know their stuff, the reporters come from all media, and the program airs three times a week—what more could you ask for?

Best Online ’Zine

Scenester Online
www.scenesteronline.com

Scenester Online is the place we go most often in search of information on local bands (they’ve got the most varied list), upcoming shows (the kind that usually fall below the radar) and record releases, and when we’ve got time, we sit back and peruse the message board to see what’s on the minds of the music- loving folk in the area. The people behind the e-’zine are tireless in their effort to keep everything updated, from concert listings to band photos, and their Building a Scene releases offer a great smattering of the local talent we’re graced with. Thank you, Scenester.

Best Way to Be Your Own News Source

Hudson Mohawk Independent Media Center
www.hm.indymedia.org

Part of a growing, global independent-media movement, the Hudson Mohawk Indy Media Center’s Web site offers easy enough access that anyone can be a practicing journalist. DIY reporters can cover their own events, write them up, shoot the photos and upload the stories and video in minutes. The site is usually updated a few times per week and offers a good place to see what’s happening and what’s been missed by the mainstream and maybe even the, ahem, alternative press.

Best Way to Be Part of the Revolution

The New York Capital Region Progressive Peace and Justice Calendar
nycr-prog-cal-subscribe@topica.com
www.social-capital.org/calendar

The gargantuan, comprehensive list of what is going on in the area’s progressive/peace and justice/social action communities sent directly to your inbox. And we mean big! Print the mother out and see whether you can get a staple through the damn thing. Not only does the newsletter post weekly the wheres and whens of the area’s social-action events, speakers, protests and so on, it also offers a number of Web sites providing further reading and news updates on the progressive issues of the day.

Best Radio Show on TV

The Glenn Slingerland Situation

Time Warner Cable Channels 2 and 4

You’re likely to run into The Glenn Slingerland Situation while channel surfing late at night—11 PM to be exact—and you’re likely to wonder what on earth you’ve stumbled upon. Despite appearances, it’s not an Ultravox video. Interesting jazz music accompanies the activity on the screen, which varies slightly from song to song—it’s usually a curious “situation” of short-skirted women with great legs (occasionally some guys are thrown into the mix) scurrying around a brick alley with some motive, it’s hard to say what. The show highlights the music of jazz artists, with interviews on occasion, and provides something to look at while you listen with Glenn Slingerland at the helm.

Best Music Radio

WSPN (91.1 FM)

With entertainment behemoth Clear Channel rapidly stripping commercial radio of its soul (what little soul it had left), true music lovers have only one place to turn for cutting-edge local radio: college stations whose playlists are dictated by the record collections of DJs, not by record companies and promoters. Among the local college radio stations, Saratoga’s student-run WSPN, which broadcasts from Skidmore College, does the best job of balancing the needs of students and the community. While the station values its longstanding shows by community members—from Phil Donnelly’s King Loser’s Cut-Out Bin and Chris Lawrence’s Loud, Blaring Punk Rock to the Meatman’s Blue Monday—students are also given plenty of time to make themselves heard on the air. If you’re outside the reach of its signal, WSPN’s Internet broadcast will allow you to listen at your desk.

Best Self-Serving Interpretation of a Metroland Best Of Cover

Times Union Best Of

Some years ago, the Times Union’s editors instituted an annual Best Of issue that looked, felt, smelled, walked and talked like Metroland’s long-running annual issue of the same name. And two years ago, we rewarded their flattery with “Best Metroland Rip-Off” honors—from which, apparently, they’re still smarting. Because in this year’s TU Best Of, they actually suggest that our highly original cover artwork last year—an illustration of a curiously mangy mutt winning Best in Show—was a nod to their 2002 Best Of cover, featuring the region’s most tired canine cliché, Nipper. C’mon, guys. It’s not all about you. Arf.


Readers Poll Results:

Best Local TV News

1. WNYT channel 13

2. WRGB channel 6

WTEN channel 10 (tie)

Best Local News Anchor

1. Ed Dague

2. Liz Bishop

Best Local Meteorologist

1. Bob Kovachick

2. Steve Caporizzo

Best Local Sportscaster

1. Rodger Wyland

2. Dan Murphy

Best News Radio Station

1. WAMC 90.3

2. WGY 810

Best Local Music Radio

1. WEQX 102.7

2. WFLY 92.3

Best Local Radio DJ

1. Jason Keller (103.1)

2. Jeff Mrozek (103.5/103.9)

Best Local Publication

1. Metroland

2. Times Union

Best Local Print Journalist

1. Alan Ilagen

2. Fred LeBrun

Best Local News on the Web

1. timesunion.com

2. wnyt.com

 
Copyright © 2002 Lou Communications, Inc., 4 Central Ave., Albany, NY 12210. All rights reserved.