Who knocked over the tire mound of mystery? Jordan Smith. Who unlocked the KeyPoint Government Solutions report into the Nathaniel Sanders II shooting? Jordan Smith. Who helped exorcise the ghosts of the fake satanic abuse scandal that put innocent people in jail? Jordan Smith: the best damn cops and courts reporter in Texas.
Since he's constantly writing novels, short stories, screenplays, and material for DadLabs.com, we're not sure when Owen Egerton sleeps. Add to that his work onstage with Girls Girls Girls and Zach Theatre, appearances with (and helping found Austin's original) Master Pancake Theater, and the release of his own album, and we can see why this Renaissance man is one of Austin's favorite authors. While Texas transplant Sarah Bird doesn't stray so far from the page, she too is an author of many talents. With degrees in anthropology and journalism, Bird has a knack for observing human behavior and writing social comedies about it. You've probably read her newest, the hilarious How Perfect Is That, so why not trace the funny back to its source by picking up one of her old romance novels under the name Tory Cates?
Owen Egerton, www.owenegerton.com
Sarah Bird, www.sarahbirdbooks.com
It’s the local creation and the regional office. The homegrown Republic of Austin is a DIY mash-up of single-take music videos and debates about art cars vs. hoarder-mobiles, while Austinist has adapted the Gothamist hipster-culture model to life on the banks of Lady Bird Lake.
Founder of the popular Republic of Austin, Chris Apollo Lynn is outgoing and always on the town. An Internet-age Kerouac (though we can't shake how much he looks like the lovechild of Hugh Grant and Rufus Wainwright), Lynn has a cultural point of view that promotes responsible living, and he does a great job synthesizing what makes our city the vibrant force that it is – from ugliest underwear contests to sightings of gorillas on the Lance Armstrong Bikeway. His great reporting, humor, and creativity keep our readers obsessively clicking refresh.
What's going on tonight? That phrase can strike fear in the hearts of even the most connected city dwellers, but it's Do512's business. From music, film, art, and comedy to the best happy hours, Do512 knows what Austinites want to do: drink, mingle, get cultured, and get weird, though not necessarily in that order.
Missed last night’s big story? Catch a replay on KXAN’s website. Essentially what a news portal should look like in 2010, KXAN’s page features video of most of its stories, offers blogs and photo galleries, and, of course, includes a comprehensive weather page.
When looking for the future of journalism, look no further than UT’s beloved Texas Student Media. The Daily Texan is proof college students actually know what’s going on in the world. UT’s award-winning student newspaper has been keeping students informed and breaking local stories since 1900. However, when things get too serious, the Texas Travesty, UT’s humor publication, lightens it up. Full of clever quips and jokes at UT’s expense, the paper keeps students laughing even when the piles of homework make things look grim.
Tyler Sieswerda, Terri Gruca, Olga Campos, Quita Culpepper, Melissa Gale, Mark Murray, Mike Barnes – these are household names in Austin television for a reason. KVUE takes the "Best of Austin" win yet again, and it's no wonder why: reliability, trustworthiness, and honesty. We're honored to congratulate them once more.
No less than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum enshrined public television's locally produced music beacon this summer with its Austin City Limits exhibit – a sound and vision of American roots and rock from the last four decades. The show is already in the thick of its 36th season's taping schedule, and Austin institutions Alejandro Escovedo and Spoon have taped global transmissions. Just wait ’til ACL Music Fest season. Austin City Limits is the original music television.
Our readers have a favorite radio frequency, and it's home to local singer-songwriters, talk radio, and even metal (AC/DC, Rush, UFO). Larry Monroe scholars out the first, morning man John Aielli inhabits all modes of the second, and last month's superb Armadillo soundtrack took care of the last ("In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida," yo). Jay Trachtenberg holds down the afternoons, Paul Ray hosts eternal Twine Time, and Michael Crockett dishes picante Tex-Mex (Horizontes). For those about to rock: KUT, we salute you.
This one-woman whirlwind of energy and talent has become synonymous with the term "photo booth." At the forefront of the photo booth trend and known for her shouts for more passion, Annie Ray is loved for both her charisma and her fantastic shots, which always have colors that pop and personality shining through.
Annie Ray, www.annieray.net
This international public access show includes debates about religious philosophy while promoting a positive education on atheism. Some of our town's most delightful free thinkers, including Hepcats author Martin Wagner, computer scientist Don Baker, and aerospace engineer Jen Peeples, host this tasteful approach to lively, interactive conversations with viewers of various beliefs.
Though his playlists today might not be quite as free-ranging (and surprising) as they were when he spent 30 hours a week behind the mic, John Aielli still spins enough varied and unexpected music for his long-running KUT program to more than justify its title, Eklektikos. The public radio station's morning host for the past 40 years is that rare deejay who is comfortable with and conversant about both classical and pop music, and, moreover, he can hear musical connections between disparate songs and scores and weave a tapestry of recordings over the airwaves that leads you to hear them, too.
Charlie Hodge, formerly one-third of the morning radio trio on The Dudley and Bob Show, has launched his own four-hour midday program featuring his brand of idiosyncratic comedy (complete with impressions of notable local figures George W. Bush, the Whataburger dude, and the Lockhart sausage – yes, he impersonates a sausage) mixed with tried and true rock & roll standards. Hodge was previously anchoring an hourlong noon show by himself but this year has taken on a sidekick, veteran Austin comedian Matt Sadler, who reins Hodge in and keeps his comedy on track. Given the synergy created by this teaming, it's no wonder our readers have pegged Hodge as the best radio chatter in Austin.
For more than 20 years, Mike Barnes has been with KVUE, using such local sports segments as "Friday Football Fever" and "Texas Tailgaters" as his calling cards. Arguably the more successful sports-related Barnes in Austin (with Rick presumably being his evil twin), Mike has clearly earned this award thanks to his love and loyalty for Austin sports.
In a city where you’re vilified for being anti-Longhorn, this award is a testament to Austin American-Statesman writer Kirk Bohls’ great work. Even after he voted for Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh for Heisman over Longhorn legend Colt McCoy, you admired Bohls’ stand and decided an honest opinion was better than a pressured one.
Whether you want the latest buzz out of City Hall, the scoop on the day's national headlines, or someone to keep you company on your evening commute, KUT's on the air. But Austin's favorite public radio station does a little bit more than that. Like the sound of a baseball game in the summertime or a lawnmower buzzing in the distance, kids jumping into Barton Springs or your number getting called at your favorite taco stand, KUT is the voice of America, of Austin, of home – so once you've rolled into your driveway and turned off your radio, walked into your kitchen, and started up the stove, all you need as you make a lovely dinner is a glass of wine and the sounds of KUT.
Amid the shifting TV news landscape, perennial "BOA" favorite Maggio is a comforting, steadying presence. A UT alum with nearly three decades of news experience, she’s in her seventh year of anchoring KEYE-TV’s newscast, delivering the 10pm news with smarts and sincerity.
Was there a time before Quita Culpepper? More to the point, was there a time before Culpepper won our readers' hearts as the best TV reporter in town? We think not – at least not in the last eight years. Culpepper first hit the "Best of" list in 1999 and, after a three-year hiatus, won again in 2003. And she's remained our favorite ever since. Culpepper is infinitely interested, engaged, and enthusiastic no matter what role she's playing – anchor, reporter, intrepid tester of products – for KVUE news. It's no wonder we love her so very, very much.
The formality and candor of KXAN's chief weather guru and 12-time "Best of Austin" winner Jim Spencer makes the weather sound like dish. Waving a hand at the map in beautifully cut suits, in sleeves even during full meteorology crisis, he always looks perfectly put together, and he still has all the answers.