We admit to being a bit perplexed when a local clothing store showed up in the raw-voting data for this section. Further analysis of that data revealed that one ardent fan of this store wrote its name in for what appears to be all the categories, from "Best Thai" to "Best Casino." A valiant effort, to be sure.
Save for this interloper, there were no big surprises in the Media section. The WMC-TV power trio of Joe Birch, Dave Brown, and Jarvis Greer maintained their top spots, each earning a Best of the Best of Memphis designation. In radio, it was Drake Hall and Zeke Logan of WXMX-FM 98.1, The Max dominating the "Best Drive-Time Show," "Best Local Radio Talk Show," and "Best Radio Personality" categories.
Best AM Station
1. WREC-AM 600 News Radio
2. WHBQ-AM 560 Sports
3. 730 Fox Sports Radio — tie —
In this presidential election year, with liberal competition via Air America off the Memphis airwaves, WREC-AM 600 has dominated local talk radio by cornering the market on the year's most discussed topics. With local hosts Ben Ferguson (mornings) and Mike Fleming (afternoons) sandwiching right-wing blowhards ... cough, cough ... um ... stalwarts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, WREC keeps the local airwaves filled with a conservative perspective on the presidential race and other topical concerns.
Best Drive-Time Show
BOM 1. Drake & Zeke in the Morning,
WXMX-FM 98.1, The Max
2. Kennedy & Maney in the Mornings, WHBQ-FM 107.5
3. Chris Vernon Show, 730 Fox Sports Radio — tie —
Rover's Morning Glory, WMFS-FM 92.9
Since relocating to 98.1 from Rock 103, Drake and Zeke have taken over the morning FM airwaves, offering acerbic takes on the newsmakers, pop-culture oddities, and assorted "dumbasses" of the day, in between caffeine jolts of rock-and-roll.
Best Sports Radio Show
- Alex Harrison
- Blues, rock, world, bluegrass, folk, R&B, electronica, jazz, swing, and country: You name the music, WEVL, the Mid-Souths only listener-supported, independent radio station, plays it and has for 32 years. WEVLs volunteer deejays know the score: What they air they program themselves. Hear the difference. Flyer readers do. So does singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo, whos playing a WEVL benefit at the Hi-Tone on October 27th.
1. Chris Vernon Show, 730 Fox Sports Radio
2. Sportstime with George Lapides and Dave Woloshin,
WHBQ-AM 560 Sports
3. Mike & Mike in the Morning, ESPN 680 AM Sports
Radio Memphis — tie —
Sports Bar, WHBQ-AM 560 Sports
Chris Vernon's show finds the humor in our collective sports obsession and makes room for plenty of pop-culture talk as well.
- by Justin Fox Burks
- Chris Vernon Show, 730 Fox Sports Radio, 1st place: Best Sports Radio Show
Best Local Radio Talk Show
1. Drake & Zeke in the Morning, WXMX-FM 98.1, The Max
2. Mike Fleming Program, WREC-AM 600 News Radio
3. Chris Vernon Show, 730 Fox Sports Radio
Our readers like politics (Fleming) and sports (Vernon) but apparently prefer their talk more general and light-hearted and leavened with musical respite ...
Best Radio Personality
1. Drake Hall and Zeke Logan, WXMX-FM 98.1,
2. Kennedy, WHBQ-FM, 107.5
3. John "Bad Dog" McComack, WEGR-FM 102.7
... but maybe it's really just the hosts, as Drake and Zeke pull off a Triple Crown in our radio categories.
Best Newspaper Columnist
1. Geoff Calkins, The Commercial Appeal
2. Wendi C. Thomas, The Commercial Appeal
3. Michael Donahue, The Commercial Appeal
Now that he's taken a hiatus from radio and gotten back from Beijing, our favorite local columnist should be in fine form for a busy fall sports season, charting the doldrums of Tiger football, the after-the-goldrush promise of Tiger basketball, and the touch-and-go youth movement of the Memphis Grizzlies during the busiest months for Memphis sports. As always, expect Calkins to bring humor, deft prose, and a refreshing moral center to commentaries on sports that even non-fanatics can enjoy.
Best TV Weatherperson
BOM 1. Dave Brown, WMC-TV, Channel 5
2. The late Brian Teigland, WPTY-TV, Channel 24
3. Ron Childers, WMC-TV, Channel 5
Dave Brown has come a long way from his early days as a wrestling announcer, and it's safe to say he is the face of Memphis weather. Calmly explaining the latest Doppler advances or showing images of lightning strikes, more often than not he's the man we turn to when the skies turn stormy.
Best TV Sportscaster
BOM 1. Jarvis Greer, WMC-TV, Channel 5
2. Glenn Carver, WREG-TV, Channel 3
3. Mike Ceide, WREG-TV, Channel 3 — tie —
Greg Gaston, WHBQ-TV, Fox 13
Let's put it this way. Several years ago, one of our colleagues celebrated her birthday, and she made it clear that the best present we could possibly get her would be an autographed photo of Jarvis Greer. Not only did Greer happily comply, but you should have seen the look of glee on that woman's face when she pulled out the framed photo. That's the kind of appeal Greer has around here.
Best TV News Anchor
BOM 1. Joe Birch, WMC-TV, Channel 5
2. Donna Davis, WMC-TV, Channel 5
3. Claudia Barr, WREG-TV, Channel 3 — tie —
Mearl Purvis, WHBQ-TV, Fox 13
This has been a big year for Joe Birch: He's celebrating his 30th year on-air, he was named to the 2008 "Who's Who" in Memphis magazine, and now our readers have named him — as they have done year after year — the best news anchor in the business. Plus, this hometown boy (a proud graduate of CBU) is one of the nicest fellows you could ever meet and each year donates a ton of time to local charities. He's a good Joe.
Best Local Website
1. The Memphis Flyer, memphisflyer.com
2. The Commercial Appeal, commercialappeal.com
3. Live from Memphis, livefrommemphis.com
Thank ya. Thank ya, very much.
Best Local Blogger
1. Paul Ryburn, Paul Ryburn's Journal, paulryburn.com/blog
2. "Dirk Diggler," MPD Enforcer 2.0, mpdenforcer20.blogspot.com
3. Thaddeus Matthews, thaddeusmatthews.com
Live downtown? Wish you did? Just visiting? Nobody covers the day-to-day goings-on in downtown Memphis like resident Paul Ryburn, who acts as both nightlife guide and civic advocate on his prolific, 'hood-centric blog.