Critics' Picks:

Best TV News Reporter

Greg Grougan, KVUE This one's no contest. Having brought such features as the "Truth Test" to the airwaves (in which the veracity of candidates' campaign ads are rigorously examined), Channel 24's Grougan is far and away the best in the city. In fact, his solid reporting is one of the main factors in making KVUE the city's best and best-watched newscast.

Best Television Feature Reporting

Jim Swift, KXAN Austin's a city with a million and one characters - and no one does a better job of seeking them out than KXAN's Swift. Far from the sterile objectivity to which television traditionally aspires, his reports are both entertaining and passionate, personal and heartfelt. Swift's the reason many people still switch over for the tail end of the Channel 36 broadcast.

Best TV Anchor

Robert Hadlock, KXAN Although the Channel 36 newscast languishes at the bottom of the ratings heap, Hadlock's performance remains stellar. His no-nonsense approach minimizes the insipid intra-anchor banter that typifies Austin television journalism. And what a relief that is.

Best Comeback

Michael Coleman Coleman was riding high as KXAN-
Channel 36 Sports Director until his arrest on drug charges during an undercover prostitution sting. A career-ending setback? No way. This summer, after a brief stint in rehab, the former college football player reemerged as general manager of the East Austin community radio station KAZI-FM.

Best Cable Access TV Show

El Chow de Faustina "Lenny" is an opera singer. He demonstrates his technique for the home viewing audience one evening: He takes a clear plastic tube and sticks it into his nose, pushing it down until one end comes out through his mouth. Then, tube hanging from his face, Lenny (in reality performance artist Linda Montano) commences to sing "That's Amore," gagging and drooling through chorus and verse. Watching Lenny and pouring tea for the two of them is Faustina, aka Fausto Fernós, reknowned Austin drag queen. Using what he calls "life-affirming images of transgendering," Fernós interviews local artists and reads letters from his fans and friends, combining original music with rants from his local stage and radio programs into a weekly bilingual talk show format that "takes the radical ideal of exploiting talk show guests to their advantage," he says. Channel 10, Wednesdays, 11pm

Best Post-Game Camera Hog

Gary Bradley Who got the closest to Houston's Akeem Olajuwon in the NBA Finals? That would be local developer and minority-share Rocket owner Gary Bradley, who glued himself to the Dream's armpit throughout the celebration of the deciding fourth game and thus insured his 15 minutes of national television fame. If only David Robinson had done half as good a job at sticking to the big guy, the Spurs would be the team now wearing the championship smile.

Best Reason to Buy TV Guide

CBS/Fox Switch On July 1, KTBC and KBVO switched places, with the former station becoming the new Austin home for Fox programming and the latter (now known as KEYE) picking up the CBS tab. But wait a second - a lot of the syndicated programming didn't move, and some of the reruns found on the respective stations before the change have now been dropped completely. Believe us, it's much easier to understand if you just see the new lineups on paper.

Best New Publication

(sub)TEX   We're always a sucker for an energetic, student-run, left-wing rag, and (sub)Tex clearly meets this criteria. Produced on a shoe-string budget, each issue is written with the kind of passion that comes when you know you might not publish again. We hope they do. Look for the paper's rack under the canopy at Wheatsville.

Best New Environmental Publication

The Austin Environmental Directory Compiled by T. Paul Robbins, it contains damn near everything you need to know to be lean and green. Write PO Box 1374, Austin, TX 78767 to get one.

Best Defunct Fanzine

Peek-a-Boo It would seem like an easy task, but it took a bunch of drunk dada doofuses to let some air out of the puffed-up underground. During its brief existence, Peek-a-Boo's brand of Brechtian bamboozlement managed to piss off all manner of prog rocker, indie rocker, garage rocker, and old-school punk; as a testament to the power of the hormone surge, only riot grrrls emerged relatively unscathed. One-third fawning fandom, one-third Motorbooty for gifted preschoolers, and one-third lies, the nearly unreadable pages featured moments of brilliance that made all the dead trees worthwhile: the fake "Zipatones" interview; crude renderings of underground figureheads (Chepo Peña, John Motard) that all looked the same; the truly demented "Advice From the Devil" column; and "April and Molly," comic heroines who took on the chain-wallet brownshirts with sex appeal and sociopathic aplomb. The posthumous compilation CD, like the mag, will be best enjoyed with people who "don't get it."

Best Article About Central Texas in a National Magazine

"Austin: City at the Limit," Audubon, July/August 1994 As evidenced by Austin's runaway growth rate, our city's one-time undiscovered charms have gained excessive attention from the national mainstream. What's really worth noting, therefore, is an essay that actively discourages further immigration. This one does the job rather nicely. The lead paragraph, for example, includes this stern warning from Threadgill's owner Eddie Wilson: "We're full up. Come and visit, but don't come here to live." Amen.

Best Local Action From Your Laz-E-Boy

Check This Action, AMN-15 When they say "action," they mean music. Here's the best bet to catch the latest on what's up in the clubs. Every Sunday (10pm) and Monday (10:30pm), supervixens Tara Veneruso and Chronicle editor Margaret Moser dish on local gossip, sample fine cigars, flash their pick for gig flyer of the week, and give the best tips for the coolest E-Ticket rides in Austin's live music scene by previewing clips of local videos and live local performances from your favorite venues. Special guests and give-aways make it an even surer bet - to get better than this, you'll have to get out of that chair. AMN-15, Sunday, 10pm; Monday, 10:30pm

Best Reason to Mix a Batch of Early Morning Martinis or Best Early Morning Hangover Remedy

The Lounge Show with Jay Robillard, KOOP Some of us never really hated our parents' music. Some of us secretly reveled in those snappy, pappy tunes by the likes of Ferrente & Teicher, 101 Strings, Sergio Mendez & Brasil 66. Jay Robillard forces the smoking jacket out of the closet and serves up a swizzling mix of easy-going (not EZ Listening) tunes. Like many of his compadre deejays at Austin's new community radio station KOOP, he is an expert - nay! an academician - in his field of elegance and savoir vivre. The music of Nino Rota is the soundtrack to life, baby - and may any backlashers who debunk the Cocktail Nation forever fizzle in the embers of their lack of true spark: They probably think the best drinks come in a can. KOOP, 91.7FM, Saturdays, 10am

Best New Statesman Hire

Ken Herman When the Houston Post closed its doors April 19, Capitol Bureau Chief Ken Herman lost a job at which he had become one of the state's most respected journalists. Herman was hired in the same capacity by the Statesman, a move that renews some faith in the paper's eventual improvement.

Best Statesman Ongoing Series

James E. Garcia, Mexico and Latin America An opinionated and in-depth analysis of cultural trends and current events south of the border that appears in each Sunday's "Insight" section, Garcia's column is one of the Statesman's must-read items. If only the rest of the paper could match his consistently impressive standard of excellence.

Best Statesman Headline

"Bacteria basher may help banish bad, bad breath" Alliterating b's are particularly popular at the paper (another winning entry proclaimed "Bikers boost Barbara Bush with back-cover blurb"). And if you like puns, how about this one for a story on the Internet in the traditionally stodgy business section: "Web Wilder with Growth".

Best Sports Headline

"Lady dogs leap all over Texas lapse" When the U. of Georgia Women's Basketball team took advantage of a Lady Horn cold streak in February, someone at the Statesman sports desk saw their chance.

Best New Statesman Feature to Improve a Lagging Self-Image

Rant 'n' Rave The Statesman's newest addition to the "Life" section lets disgruntled readers sound off on everything from noisy babies to rude waitresses and unappreciatve immigrants.

Best Bumper Sticker

"78704: It's not just a zip code, it's a way of life"

Best Telephone Acronym

Jim Hightower at 1-800-AGITATE We hope it's true that Hightower can have more long-term impact on policy on the radio than he did in the bureaucracy.

Best Second Term in the Bag

Ann Richards for Doritos

Best Phone Book Pages (Yellow Pages)

The "Notes" Pages While it's never a waste of time to behold three professional women embracing a skeleton (p. 385), most people don't realize how truly efficient the Yellow Pages can make you. Have a great idea or a shopping list you want to remember? Simply jot them down on any of the handy "Notes" areas Ma Bell thoughtfully tucked throughout the one thousand four hundred and some odd pages (i.e., 215, 363, 626, 1165, 1325). Finding them again may be tough, but hey, think of the exercise your fingers will get doing all that walking.

Best Phone Book Page (White Pages)

Page 210 You'd like to think someone in SWB's directory division has a potato fetish.

Best Reason to Tape Seinfeld and Watch It Later

Michael Corcoran and Don McLeese, On the Record The name of their weekly call-in program is stupid and redundant since it's also the name of the already-established Daily Texan column. Corky mutters that he wants to change it to Everybody's a Critic, which sounds like a good idea. Still, we hear too many people griping about music critics and their opinions in print; here's the chance to ask two sharp, world-class critics hard questions about the Biz, and what the two get is moronic queries like, "Who do you like better, Stone Temple Pilots or Nirvana?" On the other hand, an annoyed Corky is infinitely more amusing than a happy Corky. KROX 101.5FM, Thursdays, 8-10pm

Best Reportage

Chuck Glover's WWII Column It's been said nostalgically that World War II was "the last good war." That's not the way it has come across in Glover's column over the past few years. With his "50 years ago this week" format, a matter-of-fact, present-tense prose style, and liberal quotations from first-hand accounts, news reports, and primary historians, Glover has woven together a moving tribute to his fellow WWII veterans and given readers a vivid feel for their life and times. There's been an element of historical text - the dates and places of the major battles - but where Glover has really shined is in his glimpses into some of the personalities of the war. He's focused not only on the generals and politicians, but also, through diaries, letters, and other sources, on the field officers and ordinary grunts. And the portrait that has emerged is not only one of extraordinary will and courage, but also of folly, bureaucracy, and backroom politicking of senseless tragedy and futile death. Slowly, over the last few years, the random vignettes of human drama, played out in scattered obscure corners of the globe, have coalesced into not just a history lesson, but a lesson in what histories can be. Soon after the 50th anniversary of VJ-Day, presumably, Glover will re-retire. We'll miss him. American-Statesman Opinion Page, Mondays

Best Morning Twang

KOOP's Country, Swing and Rockabilly Jamboree You may have already changed out of your vintage cowboy jammies by the time host Rod Moag starts spinning his partner-swingin' favorites, but this show will inspire you to replace them with floor-skatin' western boots and a bolo tie. Tune in to sweet nasty rockabilly bomp and the honey-smooth sounds of western swing classics to point your pony down the right trail, buckaroo. KOOP 91.7 FM, Thursdays, 9-10:30am

Copyright © 1995 Austin Chronicle Corp. All rights reserved.