Static cling: Denver's "1994 Talk Radio Academy Awards" have just been revealed by an anonymous bunch of pranksters--"We of the Academy would reveal who we are," they promise, "but we couldn't do that. We have jobs to keep"--who swear they polled a hundred regular radio listeners by hacking into stations' computer phone lists. And the wieners: Ken Hamblin sews up Best Talk Show, although the reasons cited could land somebody in one big, fat lawsuit. Suffice it to say that "he's got the stuff that talk radio stars are made of (if you can stomach him)," according to the judges. The description of Cescele Baker, Hamblin's producer and winner of Best-Looking Babe, is equally enlightened. Then again, this comes from the crew that gives the same grade-A to Mike Rosen, Rick Barber ("way underpaid for the 20 share he brings overnight") and talkmeister Jann Scott, "mistreated and misunderstood." Although the judges say "she's finished, but she was great," Andrea Van Steenhouse can take some consolation in her B rating. Ditto for Dan Caplis, who ranks as most improved talker, even though the judges call him "Don" and say he "sounds like a meatball."

Bringing up the rear: Steve Kelly, who needs "a new hairdo," "yawwn" Peter Boyles and "the rest of the producers"--"fat, ugly order-takers who smoke and eat chocolates all day, while propping up the egos of the talentless hosts for whom they work."

Don't touch that dial!

Flights of fancy: Apparently Hill & Knowlton, the pricey national PR firm hired by Denver mayor Wellington Webb for spin control on any negative press about Denver International Airport (and lots of luck after this last delay), signed on only to keep the current administration looking good. Meanwhile, former mayor Federico Pena keeps getting bashed. First came former Rocky Mountain News editorial writer Mike Fumento's piece in the American Spectator, which rehashed most of the horror stories about DIA. But that beating seems like a valentine when compared with the February 28 New Republic. In "Cabinet Losers," Fred Barnes contends the Secretary of Transportation is politically "clumsy" and without clout in the Clinton administration, and notes sarcastically that Pena's response to the airlines' woes was to suggest the creation of a commission. "Cabinet members have leeway," he says, "but they have to be smart and careful. White House aides quickly concluded Pena wasn't either." Pena made Barnes's short list alongside Treasury's Lloyd Bentsen and Education's Richard Riley.

After last week's rough handling of DIA, News writer Kevin Flynn clearly isn't working for Hill & Knowlton, either. He also says there's no truth to the rumor that he's angling for a book deal on the new airport--a snore for sure, even with the current cliffhanger ending. Flynn, who's written books on such gritty topics as the Brotherhood and rape, does admit he's working on a deal, though: He's one of the umpteen writers vying to tell the story of former fugitive and Coloradan Katherine Ann Power.


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