BEST TV NEWSCAST -- NIGHT 2006 | Channel 4 | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Since the '70s, 9News has dominated the 10 p.m. ratings -- but Channel 4 finally appears ready to chip away at that station's nighttime lead. Veteran forecaster Larry Green's on the way out, but morning-sider Ed Greene should seamlessly fill his green-screen silhouette, and sportscaster Vic Lombardi, replacing outgoing Steve Atkinson, is a definite upgrade. They join solid anchor duo Jim Benemann and Molly Hughes and an impressive batch of reporters led by top investigator Brian Maass to form a crew that overflows with potential.
Anne Trujillo has been the mainstay on Channel 7's evening newscasts for ages, but because that show's ratings are far from stellar, she's often taken for granted. That's unfair but not surprising, since Trujillo prefers to get out of the way of a story rather than bid for attention. Despite her low-key approach, though, she's a straightforward communicator with a warm personal style and good news judgment, and while Channel 7 may not be a winner in the ratings, Trujillo is a winner with us.
While Vic Lombardi is a sports communicator from the ESPN generation, he doesn't let shtick dominate his presentations. He can be a funny fellow, but he knows when to dial down the comedy in favor of reporting or perspective, and he leavens his wit with the enthusiasm of an unabashed fan. Belatedly named Channel 4's chief sportscaster (a position he's deserved for years), Lombardi's a hometown boy made good -- and getting better all the time.
Stations take up a lot of airtime touting their assorted weather gadgets, but the gear hasn't made one signal more accurate than the others. All of TV's predictors have about the same success/failure rate, so their differences have more to do with personality than prognostication abilities -- and by that measure, Angie Austin, who works the morning shift at Channel 2, clearly stands out. She's a lot sassier than her typically bland peers, with a sharp sense of humor that comes out in the entertainment segments she also helms. Austin earns her screen time, weather or not.
As top legal commentator for CBS, Andrew Cohen regularly jets to important trials and legal proceedings across the country. But because he lives in Denver, we get to hear more of his characteristically cogent on-the-scene reports and opinions than viewers nationwide, who usually have to settle for a sound bite or two on the CBS Evening News. Cohen frequently weighs in on matters of local concern, too, providing Channel 4 viewers with analysis that's accessible but never dumbed-down.
Commercial radio gets lamer with each passing year, which only makes Radio 1190 sound stronger by comparison. Because the station is staffed by students from the University of Colorado at Boulder, the turnover is continuous. Yet the outlet has maintained a high level of quality, thanks to the most eclectic playlist in town (one recent hour ranged from Mi and L'au to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass) and great specialty shows such as Under the Mattress, a Sunday show focusing on vintage rock. This is a commercial-free oasis in a desert of radio mediocrity.
DJ Chonz is a member of the Radio Bums, a collective devoted to promoting forward-looking hip-hop. Yet urban-music buffs in these parts know him best for his work at KS-107.5, where he brings an underground sensibility to the mainstream, presenting live mixes on weekdays and really getting the party started during Friday rush hour. Some Bum.
This award's a two-fer. Yeah, Dan Caplis can be infuriating, especially when he refuses to find fault with such favored institutions as the University of Colorado, and Craig Silverman's nasal honk is so pronounced that listening to the show outside invites attacks by dive-bombing geese. But Caplis has proven to be a determined digger capable of tracking down information that's eluded full-time reporters, and the pair has a good feeling for what topics will pop that day. At its best, the program spotlights differing ideologies rather than redundantly pressing the same agenda, and while the two hosts regularly take highly dubious stands, disagreeing with one -- or both -- of them is part of the fun.
Back in the '90s, Kingdom was one of the area's top MCs. Nevertheless, the station that became KS-107.5 refused to play his music, turning a deaf ear to protests from both Kingdom and the rest of the local hip-hop community. But now the power's shifted -- and how. Today Kingdom appears regularly on the station's morning show, and as a co-host of The KS-107.5 Mix Tape Show, a Sunday-night program that co-stars DJ Chonz, he helps promote music by the Colorado rappers who've followed in his wake. Kingdom may not yet rule the airwaves, but give him time.
Like working folks everywhere, radio types love to dish about their jobs -- and fortunately for us voyeurs, jocks, hosts, board ops and other local pros are eager to do so in public, as long as they're protected by pseudonyms. has gone through many permutations over the years, but its "Comments & Rumors" section continues to offer unvarnished critiques, behind-the-scenes scoops and some of the most entertaining bitchiness available on either side of the dial.

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