CRITICS' PICKS ‌ News & Media 

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Best Scandal
The 'Rev.' Albert Salmon
For 25 years, Salmon ran the Good Samaritan Mission in the southern end of N. Charleston, providing a place to live and food to men who might have otherwise gone homeless and hungry. And then last year, The Post and Courier began an in-depth look into how the mission was run and kicked off an investigation by local and state authorities that ended with Salmon being charged with everything from tax evasion to misappropriating $50,000 with fraudulent intent. And, now it appears he wasn't even ordained. Who could imagine a fake preacher making off with donations in the same state where PTL was once located? --Bill Davis

Best Proof Post and Courier is on Your Side
FOIA request
The Freedom of Information Act is supposed to be a law that gives average citizens a clear view of the (at times labyrinthine) functioning of our government. Unfortunately, government officials often play fast and loose with FOIA in behind-closed-door "personnel" meetings. Thanks in part to the P&C's good work, dropping FOIAs on anything that moved over the last few years, S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster issued the following warning: If it's in doubt, let it out. The paper doesn't deserve all the credit, as it was taking part in a statewide effort led by the South Carolina Press Association. Thanks to the SCPA's and the P&C's FOIA bombs, we now know about crooked cops, the ongoing boondoggle at Noisette (see Best Boondoggle, duh), and a bevy of other tasty morsels. It's not often we get to write it: Thanks, Post and Courier. --Bill Davis

Best Standing Ovation
'Voice of Courage' Guerry Glover
Child sexual abuse survivor Guerry Glover was greeted by thunderous applause when named one of Darkness to Light's "Voice of Courage" award recipients at the non-profit's annual gala benefit last November. For those in the community who remember the shock that accompanied Glover's initial report of abuse at the hands of his teacher Eddie Fischer at Porter-Gaud, the award was a healing salve on a tender wound. Glover's decision to come forward prompted 12 other victims to press criminal charges against their perpetrator. Fischer eventually admitted to abusing more than 40 boys and was sentenced to 20 years in prison (he died in prison in 2002). We don't get many opportunities to stand up for our heroes, so thank you Guerry; we applaud you. —Ida Becker

click to enlarge Best Survival Story: Boys floating out to sea
  • Best Survival Story: Boys floating out to sea

Best Survival Story
Boys Floating Out to Sea
Troy Driscoll and Josh Long thought they were just going fishing last year, but when they were caught by the ocean's might, the two floated out to sea, stuck in a rudderless sailboat for six days with no potable water or food. Ingeniously, the duo drank from jellyballs -- floating jellyfish with fresh water inside them -- and eventually made it home after being rescued off the North Carolina coast. According to published reports, they thought about Jesus a lot while at sea, and planned to share their faith with anyone they met on their trip, which they feared would take them as far as Africa. We can't help but think that if Jesus had really been on that dinghy, he would have conjured up an oar or a sandwich. --Bill Davis

Best Celebration of Zymurgy
West Of's 'Beer Snob'
829 Savannah Hwy. West Ashley 7766-WEST (9378)
A year into its existence, the West Ashley weekly West Of regularly includes a well-written beer column from "Beer Snob" Jeffrey Gredlein -- a sincere beer enthusiast who finds an occasion for every classic beer style and a pint of ale or lager for every occasion. Avoiding the technical jargon and the "beer cheerleader" rattle of other American beer reviewers and industry journalists, Gredlein -- pictured with a perfectly-poured pint of Irish stout -- makes thoughtful suggestions and comments about commercial examples that even a novice could dig. Prosit! --T. Ballard Lesemann

Best Local PR Flack
Angel Passailaigue Postell
Home Team Communications 1567 Holton Place, West Ashley 571-0999
When we take a look behind the scenes of the local scene, it's no surprise how often we see Angel at the bat, ready to knock one out of the park for her team. Let's run through some names: Charleston Food + Wine Festival, South Carolina Seafood Alliance, Shopping With Friends, Tall Ships Charleston, Sienna, Hominy Grill ... you might have heard just a wee bit about these people, places, and events, yes? That's just Angel doing what she does best. —Jason A. Zwiker

Best Local Blog
We love that we can find a bit of King Street day-by-day in the blogosphere. From the jaw-jarring crack of the jackhammers maintaining the roads to the occasional misplaced cheese sandwich in the gravel parking lot, it's all home to us. The microfamous K.Lo (a.k.a Skirt!'s Kelly Love Johnson) posts bite-sized portions of her wry observations, memories, pictures, daydreams, and online purchases; a smart eclectic blend with oodles of links to other browseable blogs, local and out-of-town alike. —Jason A. Zwiker

click to enlarge The Critic remains the Best Radio Personality in Charleston
  • The Critic remains the Best Radio Personality in Charleston

Best Payola P&C Must Be Getting
Free iPods
OK, come on. In its weekly Preview section, the Post and Courier has published a breathless, hyperventilating article about Apple's iPod seemingly every single week for the past year. It's as dependable a feature as Hot Tickets and Head2Head Trivia. Here at the City Paper, we're as enthusiastic about the iPod as the next guy, but does anyone really think a mere piece of hardware calls for that kind of saturation coverage? Is there anybody in Charleston who still doesn't know what an iPod is or what it does? Conclusion: someone over there's getting some serious payola. --Patrick Sharbaugh

Best Payola We Got
Chick-Fil-A Platter
Last November, we reported in our A La Carte section that Chick-Fil-A was opening a new store. After the issue hit the streets, two cheery Chick-Fil-A representatives hand-delivered two enormous platters of piping hot fried chicken nuggets and a couple sacks of tasty chicken sandwiches to the City Paper office. Of course, we normally return such obvious payola to the sender (and sometimes it really, really hurts, believe us). But within seconds, the scavenging vultures in our office were face deep in the golden-fried goodness -- and how do you say no to a smiling (and if we do say so, awfully cute) pair of Chick-Fil-A chicks? You don't. So zip it. --Patrick Sharbaugh

Best Local Podcast
The Nate and Di Show
Nate and Di Fulmer, a 25-year-old married couple living in Mount Pleasant, started their own podcast in March, 2005. Like a twice-weekly pirate radio program, The Nate and Di Show is chock full of tongue-in-cheek news segments, comedy bits, interviews, exceedingly irreverent cultural commentary, and music. There’s something in it for everyone — assuming you have a twisted sense of humor and a politically progressive mindset. The podcast now has more than 10,000 subscribers (that’s huge, in podcast numbers), and Nate and Di have been featured in Wired magazine and on Sirius Satellite radio. Last week they hit the big time by landing one of the first major media national ad campaigns for podcasts. A month after quietly declining a big contract offer from podcasting patriarch Adam Curry in SanFran, Nate and Di nailed a contract to promote HBO’s upcoming new series Big Love, which premieres on March 12. National advertising contracts for podcasts — can anyone say “paradigm shift”? —Patrick Sharbaugh

Best False Advertising
Hyman's Appearance in Where Magazine
Tourists coming to Charleston can pick up a wide variety of advice on where to eat tasty, cheap seafood -- from friends or relatives who've visited, from the bartender at the hotel, or from one of the ubiquitous booklets scattered around the Visitor's Center. Apparently, the editors of Where went for the first stock photo they could find to illustrate the most popular tourist restaurant in town in their Winter 2006 edition. Unfortunately, any out-of-town visitor who goes to Hyman's expecting gleaming white decor and floor-to-ceiling windows is going to be sorely disappointed. The Hyman's we know and love would never serve such frou-frou plates of food, either. (Where are the ubiquitous boiled peanuts? And is that something green on those plates?) --Sara Miller

Best Cancellation
No More Attorney 'Nickname' Ads
Last year, when Gov. Mark Sanford signed the state's new tort reform into law, he signed out of existence all those annoying "strong arm" and "heavy hitter" ads local lawyers had been running on television for years. Sorry, Bill Green: one signature and that was all. Unfortunately, Green has launched a new round of crappy ads, one featuring him hurling a car. And "Extreme" Akim Anastopoulo still hosts his nationally syndicated show, Eye for an Eye. They oughta make a law. --Bill Davis

Best On-Air Flashback
96 Wave's 'Open Format Day'
2294 Clements Ferry Road. Daniel Island. 972-1100
The local "rock alternative" station celebrated its 20th anniversary last summer with a weird, unpredictable "open format" day. For 24 hours, the station's deejays played whatever randomly popped up from the archives, back-announcing an unlikely variety of bands such as Sniff 'N The Tears, Cinderella, The Hoodoo Gurus, Iron Maiden, and such. Hilarious, unsettling, and inspiring. —T. Ballard Lesemann

click to enlarge Beauty queen Kain Cameron gives a regal wave for her win as Best Morning Radio Show for Community Events
  • Beauty queen Kain Cameron gives a regal wave for her win as Best Morning Radio Show for Community Events

Best Addition to the Local Airwaves
98X's 'Local X'
59 Windermere Blvd. Charleston 769-4799
"Local X," 98X's weekly two-hour local music show, kicked off last spring with host Amy Hutto at the helm. Loose, chaotic, chatty, a bit repetitive, and full of good vibes, Local X provides some welcomed additional coverage of the local music and club scene, putting the spotlight on mostly heavy-rockers from the Charleston and S.C. scene — many of whom have never received airplay or acknowledgement from commercial radio before. Tune in at 9 p.m. every Sunday night. We do. —T. Ballard Lesemann

Best Morning Radio Show for Community Events
The Drive at 100.5 FM
950 Houston Northcutt Blvd., Suite 201. Mt. Pleasant 884-2534
Longtime Charleston disc jockey Kain Cameron, host of the daily 6-10 a.m. "Kain on the Morning Drive," brings in an unusual mix of local characters, musicians, event promoters, and businesspeople to blab and yap about what's happening in the local club scene, among other things. The impressive amounts of compression on the microphones makes even the least confident guest sound important as they discuss various fundraisers, annual events, and stage performances. Cameron's welcoming manner ties each segment together nicely. --T. Ballard Lesemann

Best Way to Listen to Radio Without Feeling Corporate
The Bridge at 105.5 and 98X
Last year saw Clear Channel-owned radio station WALC make a switch from "Alice at 100.5" to "The Drive at 100.5" and adopt a seemingly anti-corporate message suggesting that the mostly AAA format station is entirely listener created. Mantra: "It's all about the music." At exactly the same time, Apex broadcasting-owned 96 WAVE began a merciless anti-Drive ad campaign, mocking the station for suggesting that anything but white-collar executive brains could be behind the format change and making a regular point of noting that Clear Channel is one of the six largest corporate media entities on earth. The two stations have traded barbs for months. Meanwhile, over behind South Windermere Shopping Center, little local broadcasters 98X and The Bridge at 105.5 have stayed mostly out of the fray, content to create their own playlists and use strictly local talent to plug local music and local events. City Paper columnist Jessica Chase cohosts a pants-wetting morning show weekdays on 98X, while a few feet down the hall, Morgen keeps a revolving door of Charleston names and figures coming through her own morning show, with lots of particular attention to entertainers and even City Paper Arts and Screen editors (Wednesday mornings at 8:40 a.m.). Keep fighting the good fight, guys. (And watch out for flying mud.) --Patrick Sharbaugh

Best Local Radio Show for National News
96 Wave's 'Storm & Kenny with Stupid Mike'
2294 Clements Ferry Road. Daniel Island. 972-1100
Pulling stories from what they call "the news womb," morning jocks Storm Zbel, Kenny Z, and Stupid Mike know how to poke fun at the crazy-sounding headlines and odd details while maintaining a sincere and respectful approach to the more serious current events — from the war in the Middle East to the police blotter in the Charleston area. Handling live phone calls from real listeners with a mix of humor, common sense, and sternness adds to the debate and discussion — a local phenomenon which listeners can't catch elsewhere on the airwaves. Stupid Mike's hoarse, perfectly-timed interjections are icing on the cake. Cronkite, Brinkley and Chancellor these guys ain't, but they're a terrific alternative to the infotainment crap on the cable news programs and other morning radio shows. —T. Ballard Lesemann

Best Whisper on the Radio
Purple Tree Lounge
36 ½ N. Market St. Downtown. 722-4222
The radio advertisement for the fancy dance club on The Market is both creepy and hilarious. Between announcements on the who, when, and what, a spooky, dreary voice with loads of added reverb whispers, "purple-tree-lounge..." and "DJ Linz..." — creating an ethereal sound that send shivers up the spine. —T. Ballard Lesemann

Best Holiday Season Torture
Five Weeks (and counting) of Christmas Music
Oldies 102.5 and Sunny 96102.5 WXLY-FM; 96.9 WSUY-FM
Somehow, somewhere, in some executive's office, a couple of geniuses gathered some research data and decided that an "all-holiday" format would work wonders on the local airwaves. In early November, two local commercial radio stations — Y102.5 (a Clear Channel station) and Sunny 96.9 (a Citadel Broadcasting station) — cranked up the Christmas classics and holiday "cheer" — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The results: a double dose of torturous radio pap. —T. Ballard Lesemann

click to enlarge Best TV Weather Forecaster Rob Fowler predicts the weather by sticking a finger in the air
  • Best TV Weather Forecaster Rob Fowler predicts the weather by sticking a finger in the air

Best Charlestonian On TV
Stephen Colbert
Aw, our little man's all grown up! In 2005, Colbert parlayed his years as a writer, correspondent, and his self-described speciality, the "high-status idiot," on The Daily Show into his own pundit-mocking half hour crammed so full of funny that you have to turn the volume up to the max just to hear over your own laughter. With The Colbert Report, Colbert has taken the grand ol' Southern tradition of dedicated two-facedness to a whole new level with his on-air persona of a right-wing blowhard and ardent supporter of the Administration, right down to the crappy CGI eagle that flies in over the opening credits. After less than six months on the air, the show has already made headlines; The Colbert Report's very first Word of the Day -- "truthiness," or the quality of stating concepts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than the facts -- was named 2005's "word of the year" by the American Dialect Society. Oh Stephen, even if the Associated Press wouldn't show you love, your hometown does. (And we're completely bear-free!) --Sara Miller

Best Return to TV
Warren Peper
When Warren Peper was unceremoniously unhitched from WCSC Channel 5 in 2004, after a 30-year career at the station, there was a massive outpouring of support in the community for the veteran sportscaster. Bumper stickers sprang up on cars ("Pick a Peper, Rid a Rita" was a blunt swipe at WCSC general manager Rita O'Neill) and longtime Channel 5 watchers gnashed their teeth and rent their garments in dismay -- more so because neither they nor Peper were ever provided any explanation for the matter-of-fact sacking. It was a welcome bit of news, then, when last year Channel 2 picked up the Pep last year after his "no compete" with Channel 5 expired and made him a news anchor. Considering Peper started his career in the '70s as an intern at Channel 2, there was a happy karmic synchrony about it all. Whether he can improve that station's fortunes is another question. Good luck, Pep. --Patrick Sharbaugh

Best DVD Release(and catch)
Hip-Hop crime video
OK, this is pretty easy to understand. If you want a career in crime, don't pose for a fake documentary of hip-hop culture that basically glorifies violence with what appears to be real drugs and real guns in your possession. Apparently, some in our community didn't get the memo last year, and the police were able to arrest a buttload of folks without so much as breaking a sweat. Like one federal marshal said, "If you want to get into the rap business, this is the wrong way to do it." --Bill Davis

Best Local Program
Carolina Stories, SCETV
Thursdays at 9 p.m.
Did you know that South Carolina is home to a revolutionary land deal that saved an historic island near Myrtle Beach from a big-ass road and certain development? Well, you would if you tuned into this new series on SCETV. The state's public channel recently launched Carolina Stories, a series which delves into the stories of our state. The Sandy Island show explains just how Dana Beach of the Coastal Conservation League helped broker a deal with Buck Limehouse, the head of the state DOT at the time, to save Sandy Island. Fascinating stuff. Other shows have profiled the art of Leo Twiggs and Jonathan Green, told the story of railroads in South Carolina, and chronicled "the ongoing pursuit of the American Dream, as seen through the eyes of the Palmetto State's growing Hispanic population," according to the website. Tune in Thursday nights at 9 p.m. for some well-done, locally-produced documentaries that reveal the rich history of our state. —Stephanie Barna

click to enlarge Best Local PR Flack Angel Passailaigue Postell goes rah-rah for her big-name clients
  • Best Local PR Flack Angel Passailaigue Postell goes rah-rah for her big-name clients

Best Local Prime-Time Show
Flip This House
Mondays at 8 p.m. on A&E
Let's face it, there aren't a lot of Charleston-produced television shows in prime-time slots at the moment. The only other contender was i network's ill-fated fiasco Palmetto Pointe (see Best Blown Opportunity, below), about which the less is said the better. So, this isn't a category boasting a hell of a lot of competition. But local real estate developer Richard C. Davis' personal reality show, Flip This House, on A&E is an unequivocal success story. Davis pitched the idea himself to network executives, and last fall's ratings were good enough for A&E to bump it up in January from a Sunday afternoon slot to prime time on Mondays. The show's got a certain guilty lowbrow appeal, and Davis has a fun tendency to break into ranting histrionics on the program about anything and everything to anyone, anytime. —Patrick Sharbaugh

Best 'Music Television'
SCETV (Comcast Channel 11)
Remember when MTV and VH-1 used to actually feature music in their programming? No? Thankfully (and ironically), South Carolina's Educational Television system fills the gap, regularly broadcasting high-quality live concerts, documentaries, "rockumentaries," and music-based series. And it's not just the rustic bluegrass and gospel hoedown or stuffy classical music concerts — there's popular music galore too, from documentaries on Bob Dylan, The Clash, and The Ramones to the Texas-based Austin City Limits and Carolina-based Southern Lens independent film series. —T. Ballard Lesemann

Best Blown Opportunity
Palmetto Pointe
Last summer, a North Carolina production company called Kearns Entertainment decided to set up shop at the new Summerville-based ITS Studios to create Palmetto Pointe, a "hip" teen drama in the mold of One Tree Hill and Dawson's Creek. The producers bought 17 60-minute prime-time Sunday night slots from the new "i" Independent TV Network, and the show was set to premiere at 8 p.m. on Aug. 28. But Palmetto Pointe completed filming on just five of its 17 promised episodes, and it officially died in November. From the beginning, the cripplingly underfunded show's producers hobbled themselves with missteps — lots of untrained actors, terrible sound design, laughable writing, largely unskilled and non-unionized crew members, and worse. What could have been a breakout success for the Lowcountry instead turned into a fiasco, and in the process may have soured skittish producers on our area indefinitely. —Patrick Sharbaugh

click to enlarge Stephen Colberts dedication to truthiness proves hes The Best Charlestonian on TV
  • Stephen Colberts dedication to truthiness proves hes The Best Charlestonian on TV

Best TV Show to Spot Local Actors
Mondays at 8 p.m. NBC
While fellow sci-fi series Threshold has fizzled out after one season, Surface, the unabashed Spielberg pastiche spawned from Wilmington, N.C., is in the running for a second year on NBC. That would give Charlestonians more chances to spot some neighborhood talent, which so far has included PURE Theatre's artistic director Sharon Graci, Village Playhouse co-founder Dave Reinwald, and jobbing Lowcountry actors like Johnny Heyward (Best Actor, tied), Rob Bowman, and Sylvia Jeffries. Co-producers Josh and Jonas Pate, stepsons of local restaurateur Dick Elliot, didn't achieve their stated dream of shooting the show around here, but it's still worth braving a stupid-looking sea creature and some crummy special effects to watch local actors get a good chunk of prime time. —Nick Smith


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