To put it mildly, Adam Schrager, who spends most of his on-air time reporting about politics for Channel 9, doesn't look like a typical TV host: He's got a hangdog face and often doesn't seem to have a total mastery of combs. But on Your Show, his public-affairs program on 9News's sister station, Channel 20, his plain-spoken, anti-slickster presentation only enhances his credibility. He's an accessible everyman, not to mention the perfect antidote for too much happy talk.
Natalie Tysdal is more than just a warm and welcoming personality as adept at banter as she is at delivering the headlines. Along with partner Tom Green, she's also largely responsible for saving her station's news programming. The weak ratings generated by Channel 2's late newscast probably would have led to plug-pulling after the outlet merged with Channel 31. But the popularity of Tysdal and her morning crew helped convince management to keep the department around. And that's good news for everyone.
Investigative reporting requires both a lot of money and time, which is why so many stations are cutting back on it these days. But Channel 7 spared no expense with 33 Minutes to 3-4 Right, a half-hour special built around Denver Health's shockingly slow response to the December 2008 crash of Continental Flight 1404; the first ambulance took more than half an hour to arrive. Correspondent Tony Kovaleski and producers Arthur Kane and Tom Burke were given a big canvas, and they filled it ably, proving that local TV can still make a difference even in fiscally challenging times.
Sure, morning newscasts feature headlines and breaking news — but the best of them also provide information in a way that will prevent grumpy viewers from jumping off the nearest bridge. Channel 4's morning crew — anchors Brooke Wagner and Tom Mustin, supplemented by forecaster Stacey Donaldson, traffic expert Lynn Carey and valuable new addition Gloria Neal — accomplish this goal better than most. They exude warmth and humor without allowing it to curdle into cutesiness.
Because Channel 20 draws from the same well as Channel 9, its 9 p.m. newscast features many of the same stories as its sister station — an hour earlier. That's not the only advantage, though. The headline-fest generally teams weathercaster Kathy Sabine with fresher faces, like Bazi Kanani and Shawn Patrick. And because sports isn't on the regular agenda, there's more time for news, which is delivered briskly and in five fewer minutes. Sometimes, every second really does count.
We all know that weather forecasts are merely educated guesses. But the most effective prognosticators are able to make viewers feel otherwise — and Chris Dunn, in particular, offers shelter from the norm. His smooth, affable delivery cuts through the jargon, allowing him to impart key information in the most user-friendly way possible, and he exudes a quiet confidence that lends weight to his predictions. There are no guarantees in the weather biz, but Dunn makes it seems as if there are.

Best Way to Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Rush to the Rockies

Dress panhandlers as gold-panners

In 1859, thousands of fortune-seekers braved the perils of the plains and joined the Rush to the Rockies, hoping to find a brighter future in the gold camps that had sprung up overnight in the western stretches of the Kansas Territory. Many of these prospectors turned back before they even saw the mountains; still others discovered just how tough it was to pull a living wage from the streams and gold mines, and instead settled in the little towns cropping up along the Front Range, including Denver. Exactly 150 years later, Denver's seeing tough times again. What better way to commemorate our hardscrabble past than to dress the panhandlers who beg at busy intersections in frontier duds, replacing their cardboard signs with pans that they can shake for gold, silver and other non-toxic Colorado assets.

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