Best Public Radio Station
Whether it’s that velvety smooth voice of RadioWest host Doug Fabrizio, the late-night jazz stylings of Steve “Daddy-O” Williams or the station’s varied coverage, readers and listeners find KUER the ultimate in compelling radio content. Discussions range from the life of van Gogh to the fight for public lands in Utah, plus spotlights on comedians, touring acts and local theater productions. KUER also provides regular updates from the Legislature and various campaign trails, making it the go-to spot on the dial for local and national issues.
90.1 FM, KUER.org
2. KRCL 90.9
3. KCPW 88.3
Best Local on Twitter
Ben Winslow, Fox 13
Did you jump on Twitter, follow a bunch of celebrities and people imported from your e-mail, and then wonder why Twitter is so boring? Well, you’re doing it wrong. The best way to fill up your feed—and keep up with everything you need to know about Utah news—is simply to follow Ben Winslow. The Fox 13 reporter tweets upward of 40 times a day, a mix of on-the-scene breaking news, replies, retweets of other news sources, song recommendations and photos of himself reporting from remote Utah locations. He’s truly outstanding in the field.
Best Local Podcast
Geek Show Podcast
This year we thought, “There are plenty of new local podcasts being produced; maybe we should un-retire the category now that Geek Show has some competition for votes.” Oh, and GSP panelist Shannon Barnson accosted us in a bar and demanded it. Turns out you can’t beat the Geeks when it comes to weekly audio goodness—another year, another landslide. Geek Show Podcast’s spirited (read: alcohol-boosted) debates and news bites about sci-fi, comics and video games are endlessly entertaining, even if Barnson, Kerry Jackson, Jeff Vice, Leigh George Kade, Scott Pierce and Jimmy Martin are only in it to crack one another up.
2. Soundwaves From the Underground, SLUG
3. Thank God I’m Atheist
Best Lefty Podcast
The Left Show
The label “lefty” would probably be considered “moderate” in any other state besides R-rated (Raging Right-wing Red) Utah. The first time City Weekly recognized commentator J.M. Bell with a Best of Utah award in 2010, he was promptly canned from his weekend slot by KSL Newsradio—related? It’s open to speculation (but not really). In summer 2011, Bell came back louder and left-er with a new roundtable crew (including Jake Winegar, Forrest Shaw, J.C. Carter and Eric Ethington) and The Left Show, a weekly self-produced podcast that takes the piss out of conservative politics, local and national, with equal parts vitriol and comedy, making for an hour-plus “radio” show (complete with swear jar) somewhere between The Daily Show and Real Time With Bill Maher. Making fun of Utah Republicans is an easy job, but someone has to do it.
The Left Show
Best Dynamic Radio Duo
Elaine Clark & Benjamin Bombard, RadioWest
Admit it, you’ve got a little crush on Doug Fabrizio, don’t you? Sure you do. The venerable host of KUER’s RadioWest—which celebrated 10 years on the air in 2011—is a maestro of the airwaves, after all. But do you know where all that Fabrizio mojo comes from? Credit veteran producer Elaine Clark and boy wonder Benjamin Bombard, who go sleepless in Salt Lake City several nights a week to maintain the show’s reputation as the most well-oiled hour of news and information on the dial.
RadioWest, KUER 90.1/KUER.org, weekdays 11 a.m. & 7 p.m.
Paul Rolly, The Salt Lake Tribune
You know a columnist has made a mark in a community, especially a watchdog columnist like Paul Rolly, when people and politicians calculate their actions and hope they “don’t end up in Rolly.” That means Rolly keeps those people and politicians honest—or at least as far as honesty can be measured in Utah. Some people are so powerful or arrogant that they don’t care. But it’s a rare bird who wants to wake up only to find his or her name affixed to some kind of malfeasance or hypocrisy uncovered by Rolly and published in the Sunday-morning paper. Luckily for Rolly, there’s no shortage of human foibles or bad form for him to write about. To some amazement, he’s been covering Utah politics for decades and is still standing. The larger amazement: not only is he standing, but he also still cares.
Best Fat-Cat publisher
Richard Markosian first published Utah Stories online in 2006, then later began printing it as a monthly pamphlet with an emphasis on content, not life-support ads, looking at everyday life and local business trends. He just kept chugging. Now that Markosian is cramming more and more ads into Utah Stories (a story in itself), we’d like to anoint him as the newest member of the Fat-Cat Publishers Club.
Best Retro “Radio” Station
Chat Tapp may have been “formally dismissed” from Simmons Media years ago after the great KJQ relaunch crashed and burned, but his love of New Wave music lived on, along with his passion for broadcasting. Much to his surprise, many of the town’s former radio talent felt the same way, which served as encouragement for Tapp to launch KCQNUtah.com. It’s an online radio station built in the same format of the original ’80s KJQ, with music of the era and hosted blocks and drops from personalities such as Stacee and Mister West.
Best MMA Watchers
Utah’s mixed-martial-arts scene is big, diverse and hard to keep up with. Luckily for fight fans, Jeff Dutcher’s FightingOutOf.net is a handy resource for keeping track of who wins every fight in Utah’s MMA scene and what local fights are coming up. Here you can see hometown favorite Josh “The People’s Warrior” Burkman duke it out in a Showdown event and track regional tournaments like the brutal Last Man Standing, showcasing the punchout/chokeout artistry of local fights like Brandon “The Murderer” Melendez. Local MMA aficionados who are looking for a fight to see need go no farther than this site.