BEST LOCAL WEATHERCAST
Chuck Gaidica, Channel 4
BEST LOCAL TV SHOW
BEST HIDDEN LOCAL TV TREASURE
MOST TALKED-ABOUT LOCAL STORY
MOST IGNORED LOCAL STORY
Detroit Public Schools troubles
BEST DRIVE-TIME RADIO SHOW
Drew & Mike, WRIF 101.1 FM
BEST LOCAL TALK RADIO HOST
Mitch Albom, WJR 760 AM
MOST OBNOXIOUS MORNING SHOW
Howard Stern, WKRK 97.1 FM
BEST SPORTS RADIO TO CATCH
Stoney & Wojo, WDFN 1130 AM
BEST SPORTS RADIO TO MISS
Parker and the Man, WKRK 97.1 FM
BEST STUDENT-RUN RADIO STATION
WHFR 89.3 FM (Henry Ford Community College)
BEST LOCAL MEDIA MERGER YET TO HAPPEN
Channels 2, 4 and 7
BEST LOCAL BAND TO MAKE IT BIG NEXT
TIE: Atomic Numbers
BEST LOCAL BAND TO REUNITE
BEST LOCAL ZINE
BEST FILM ABOUT OR SET IN DETROIT
Grosse Pointe Blank
BEST NOVEL ABOUT DETROIT TO MAKE INTO A FILM
The Purple Gang
BEST LOCAL RECORDING STUDIO
BEST LOCAL INDIE RECORD LABEL
BEST TITLE FOR A BILL CLINTON-HOSTED GAME SHOW
5. If the Price is Right
4. Head Games
3. Whose Stain is it Anyway?
2. Truth or Dare
1. Who Wants to do a Millionaire?
BEST WAY TO COUNTERACT MEDIA MONOPOLIZATION
5. Turn off the TV
4. Community FM radio
3. Read alternative papers
2. Start your own media
- Use the Internet
BEST WAY TO USE THE WEB AT WORK
5. Plan your vacation
- Find a new job
All drek, all the time
Best Local Media Merger Yet To Happen
Channels 2, 4 & 7
Seeing as Detroit’s local news programs are always jumping on programming bandwagons — what is the difference between the Fox 2 Problem Solvers, the WDIV Local Defenders and WXYZ’s "You Paid For It" anyway? — it seems inevitable that channels 2, 4 and 7 will soon be merging into one giant local superstation.
Channel 247 will feature a distillation of the most mediocre viewing each station now provides individually. No longer will there be three different — not to mention slightly inaccurate and conflicting — reports of the same news incident. Instead, there will be just one completely inaccurate report! Imagine the teasers during your favorite prime-time shows: "Armed madman on the loose in one metro Detroit neighborhood. Find out if it’s yours tonight at 11!"
Following this report (turns out the guy was actually in Oklahoma), there will be a big party on the 247 weather patio with Chris Edwards, Chuck Gaidica and Jerry Hodak. Maybe this committee can determine whether it’s going to snow tomorrow. They could also do some "Survivor"-style challenges to see who gets the most on-camera time. That’s entertainment!
Since all three channels claim to be on your side, the moral-outrage quotient of Scott Lewis, Bill Spencer and Kevin Dietz working side–by-side will go through the roof. We can envision a month-long stakeout and series of reports on lazy city workers who embezzle government funds, distribute Ecstasy at raves and park in handicapped spaces. The indignity, the outrage, and "only Channel 247 could bring it to you." —Aaron Warshaw
Operators will be waiting
BEST STUDENT-RUN RADIO STATION
WHFR 89.3 FM (Henry Ford Community College)
"Every week when the Billboard charts come out, we look at what music is on them and then make sure we don't play any of it. Seriously," states WHFR station advisor Jay Korinek.
Using this formula, along with its self proclaimed "mission-driven" philosophy and programming that includes everything from jazz to heavy metal to hip hop, Henry Ford Community College's WHFR-FM (89.3) has already staked its claim as a beloved Detroit-area treasure (even though it's only been on the air since 1995).
WHFR took on part of that mission —the addition of European classical music to its format — after Detroit's only classical radio station, WQRS-FM, changed to an alternative-rock format. WHFR currently plays 62 hours of classical music each week, making it Detroit's leading classical outlet.
WHFR is also on a mission to promote the blues here in "one of America's top three blues cities," according to Korinek. Blues programming features 60 percent local music, and the folks at the station have released two volumes of blues compilation CDs, Uncut Detroit. They’re available from the station directly and at select independent record stores.)
A rarity among school stations, WHFR is on the air live 24-7. If you don't live within the main broadcast area (about 12 miles from the station's Dearborn locale), you can log onto whfr.hfcc.net/index.html, where all broadcasts are presented live in Real Audio or MP3 format.
To create all of these quality noncommercial programs, the students, faculty and alumnae running WHFR rely heavily on listener donations and local businesses underwriting shows. March 18-24 will bring this year's annual on-air pledge drive. Pledges can be called in to the station's request line, 313-845-9676. —Nicole Jones
Your autograph, please?
Best Local Band to Make it Big Next
TIE: Atomic Numbers
Some might interpret this unorthodox four-way tie to mean that every band voted for itself and those with the most members won. But I think it represents the fact that there are so many damn fine groups out there that we, as a city, can't finger only one to be the best. The four selected are all obvious choices — this past year, one could argue that White Stripes and Slum Village already made it big. Of course, that depends on how you define "big." Two sold-out shows at the Bowery Ballroom in New York, a slamming by the New York Times, a rave from Rolling Stone: Sure, you could say White Stripes have something good going on. And Slum Village definitely put Detroit on the map by releasing Fantastic Vol. 2 and then subsequently playing throughout the United States and abroad for the prestigious OK Player tour with D’Angelo. The Atomic Numbers and Deathgirl.com also show great promise for the title of "big." Atomic Numbers have been working in the studio this month on a follow-up to the excellent, arena-worthy, Electromotive. And as a band, these guys definitely have the best attitude. They enjoy a good time as much as the rest of ’em, but when it comes down to business, they couldn't be more serious and down to earth about their music — two signs that much more success is soon to shower upon them. Deathgirl.com is enjoying tons of radio airplay of the catchy single, "Pieces." The rest of their songs aren't so bad either! With such an enigmatic sound and stage presence, you know the group is going far. —Melissa Giannini
Soak up the past
Best Local Band to Reunite
I know, I know. That "Molly" song was a good one. And some might say a reunion is not absolutely out of the question. There have been a handful of shows with at least a few members together playing all the old hits. And lately, people have been tickling my ears with gossip that would point in this direction. Who knows? But for the time being, we'll have to let the songs live on in the headphones of our hearts. Besides, you should go see their new bands (Crud, Rev, Orbitsuns). They're good, too. —Melissa Giannini
Best Novel About Detroit to Make Into a Film
The Purple Gang: A History of the Detroit Underworld, 1910-1945
What is it with Americans and our fascination with outlaws? From the mythologizing of Billy the Kid to the wildly successful Godfather trilogy, we seem to be simultaneously repelled by and attracted to bad guys. Maybe the fact that our country was founded by law breakers has left an indelible imprint on our national psyche. Whatever the reason, the phenomenon is undeniable. Which might explain why MT readers voted Paul R. Kavieff’s book about the notorious Purple Gang as the novel about Detroit filmmakers should consider for the big screen. (We’ll even overlook the fact that Kavieff’s work is actually a true historical account of these Jewish mobsters and not a piece of fiction.) An operating engineer at Wayne State University’s School of Medicine who’s pursuing a master’s degree in history, Kavieff provides a detailed account of the gang that ruled Detroit’s underworld during the late 1920s and early ’30s. With only the Detroit River between them and all the booze money could by in Windsor, they were able to control much of the flow of illegal hooch into this country during Prohibition.
So, what are the chances producers will take our readers’ suggestion and put this story on the silver screen? That’s tough to say, but the first step has already been taken. According to Kavieff, he worked closely with Grosse Pointe resident Harry George Manos, who used the Purple Gang manuscript to create a screenplay that he’s currently trying to peddle. —Curt Guyette
Best Local Recording Studio
The Tempermill is hands down the best-known studio in the Detroit metropolitan area, consistently winning Best Of awards left and right, so you gotta wonder if they’re starting to run out of room on their walls for all those plaques. It’s downright impressive to see the list of big-name local artists who have recorded here: Stewart Francke, ICP, Jill Jack, Forge, 19 Wheels, the Articles, Factory 81 and Esham to name just a sampling. You wouldn’t know it from the outside of this nondescript building in Ferndale, but the Tempermill offers all the amenities of a big-city studio: top-of-the-line equipment, expert engineers, warm, hardwood floors, big control room and on and on.
This is the place where you can be guaranteed a first-class recording of all your musical gems. And to an artist, that sort of guarantee is priceless indeed. —Aaron Warshaw
Kids these days
Best Local Indie Record Label
Which Michigan group just happens to hold the title of one of the most independently, insanely and grotesquely popular acts in the world?
Right. Insane Clown Posse.
And now class, what label do they run?
Bingo. Psychopathic Records.
Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J could put out a CD by the shittiest band in the entire world on Psycopathic and the group's legions of fans would suck it in faster than an asthmatic on an inhaler. It happens with anything ICP-related: T-shirts, action figures, a drop of their sweat, what have you. It's really, really weird and makes me feel really, really old. But who's to argue with success? The kids like it a whole lot. Oh, my arthritis! —Melissa Giannini
Best Way to Counteract Media Monopolization
Use the Internet
It should come as no surprise that MT’s readers are an astute group when it comes to issues regarding mass media. The fact that they pick up this rag shows their interest in obtaining alternative points of view. Hell, I can’t even disagree with them for ranking the alternative press a middling third choice as a strategy for beating media monopolies. Papers like this have become increasingly consolidated in recent years (we call the folks at a daily in Scranton, Penn., boss these days) so even the alties ain’t the independent voices they used to be. And ranking the Web number one is absolutely spot-on. No matter how much the big boys at AOL Time Warner muscle in on the action, it doesn’t seem possible that they will ever be able to squeeze out those offering an alternative to the mainstream. I see it every day. When I wanted to hook up with demonstrators going to D.C. to protest Bush’s inauguration, the Internet connected me with local contacts in a matter of minutes. Countless messages are posted on the enviro-mich listserve, offering informed critiques of the state’s environmental policies. There’re also timely comments and source contacts from groups such as the Institute for Public Accuracy (www.accuracy.org) which, in its own words, is a "nationwide consortium of policy researchers" who seek "to broaden public discourse by gaining media access for those whose perspectives are commonly drowned out by corporate-backed think tanks and other influential institutions." The BuzzFlash Report (www.buzzflash.org) provides an antidote to Drudge by offering timely links to articles with a progressive bent. Salon (www.salon.com) offers a daily dose of wide-ranging, fiercely independent reporting and essays. And then there’s TomPaine (www.tompaine.com), which "seeks to enrich the national debate on controversial public issues by featuring the ideas, opinions, and analyses too often overlooked by the mainstream media." A group called Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (www.fair.org) offers up "well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship." The Utne Reader (www.utne.com) daily e-mails highlighting selected articles from all sorts of alternative publications. The list goes on and on. So, to paraphrase the late Timothy Leary (who’s still inhabiting cyberspace at www.leary.com), turn on your computer, tune in your search engine (www.dogpile.com is my favorite) and drop out of the monopolies. —Curt Guyette
Best Ways to Use the Web at Work
Find a new job
Let’s face it: If you spend most of your workday making elaborate online vacation plans and drooling over endless pages of porn, you’re not going to be working there much longer. Line up your next gig before you get the ax, and make sure your new employer has a T3 line or better for optimum browsing pleasure. But if updating the resume seems a bit daunting and you’ve grown fond of your cube, here’s a few alternatives that MT readers suggested to save the job.
· If a supervisor suddenly appears while you’re scrolling through airline timetables, grunt an assertive "Mm-hmm!" and scribble down a few numbers before closing the window. Whisper in a conspiratorial tone, "Murphy’s being transferred to Malaysia. Mum’s the word."
· You might not worry about your employer’s rules against personal e-mail, but what about your systems department secretly reading all messages and laughing at you behind your back? Avoid both problems and use a Net-based mail account like Yahoo! or Hotmail for personal messaging; close it whenever you’re away from your desk.
· Stay away from eBay — its pages take forever to load and are difficult to hide at a moment’s notice. Limit your shopping to mainstream items such as books, records and business attire, so you can explain that you’re looking for customer giveaway ideas or a birthday gift for the big boss. (When utilizing the latter alibi, add to its authenticity by demanding a cash donation from your snoopy colleague.)
· If caught while working at an alternative newspaper, announce that you’re doing "cultural research" for an upcoming article/column, or that you’re reviewing a potential advertisers Web site. Otherwise, stay away from the hard-core stuff and check out "Lego Porn" (preschool action figures arranged in hilariously compromising positions (drew.corrupt.net/lp/) or the Louvre’s nude painting and sculpture galleries (lots of male full-frontal at www.louvre.fr; view in French to further confound finger-pointers). Both sites offer innocent-looking smut which will fool casual bystanders, and neither uses obnoxious multiplying pop-up windows.