Thing Tarrant County Needs
Critic’s choice: An Occupy the Shale protest group
Can’t you see it? They show up every time a well is drilled or fracked next to a school or park. They record the noise and play it back outside city council members’ homes at 2 a.m. Instead of Anonymous masks, they wear the visages of mayors and Chesapeake Energy officials and the Texas Railroad Commission executives who have done the most to turn this into a dirty ol’ town, as Don Young says. They orchestrate flash mob events in which members lie down on cue at public events to represent the victims of asthma and cancers brought on by drilling-related air pollution. When the Christmas tree goes up downtown or the big rodeo begins, the Occupistas would be nearby, offering a guerrilla theater option, with volunteers playing the parts of homeowners as they try to drink the flaming water coming out of their faucets or take a shower without succumbing to the gas vapors. Couldn’t hurt, might help, and it would give all the dedicated, long-suffering regular critics a night off.
Readers’ choice: Deborah Ferguson, KXAS-TV/Channel 5
Critic’s choice: Gloria Campos, WFAA-TV/Channel 8
Longtime TV news anchor Gloria Campos is a household name in the Metroplex. In March, she walked away from a 30-year career at WFAA. Covering everything from political conventions, presidential inaugurations, and the funerals of Ann Richards and Ronald Reagan to local tragedies and triumphs, Campos was always in the moment but never tried to appear bigger than the story. For many people hereabouts, she has been the face of broadcast news since their childhoods. She will be missed.
Readers’ choice: Dale Hansen, WFAA-TV/Channel 8
Critic’s choice: Norm Hitzges, KTCK/96.7-FM/1310-AM The Ticket
Sure, his “laugh” is annoying. Coming from his mouth instead of his belly, it sounds forced. And like nearly every other sports pundit in North Texas, he only pays lip service to the Dallas Stars. But the 30-plus-year broadcast veteran approaches football, baseball, and basketball (and the ponies) with an equal mix of childlike enthusiasm and professorial sobriety. His all-business-all-the-time ethos (except when he’s doing “Knucklehead of the Week”) is a refreshing respite from the station’s often-ingratiating cool-kid feel. Catch him 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. weekdays.
Hottest Local Celebrity (Male)
Readers’ choice: Joel Burns
Critic’s choice: Mac Engel, Star-Telegram sports columnist
Tragically, many newspaper journalists could never make it as movie stars or underwear models –– we have faces (and bodies) for print, to paraphrase the old saw about radio personalities. But then longtime Star-Telegram sports writer Mac “Big Mac” Engel started doing regular YouTube vids with Randy Galloway, as well as his own “Mac Attacks” segments. This dude’s casual masculinity, classically handsome features (those cheekbones! that rugged lantern jaw!), and a damn fine head of hair have established his hotness as a welcome fact of online media life in North Texas.
Hottest Local Celebrity (Female)
Readers’ choice: Wendy Davis
Critic’s choice: Adrienne Bankert, CBS 11 News This Morning anchor
Local morning news shows tend to rely on acerbic, slightly goofy male anchors, a la Tim Ryan, Ron Corning, and Brendan Higgins (well, at least until Higgins got fired after getting drunk and rowdy in Aspen last month). The male anchors mostly rely on smart and pretty female co-anchors to chuckle and pretend to be shocked at their jokes. Bankert has the “straight woman” part down, and she’s certainly a hottie, but she can be just as caustic and funny as the boys.
Readers’ choice: Russ Martin, KEGL, 97.1 FM
Critic’s choice: Corby Davidson, KTCK/96.7-FM/1310-AM The Ticket
There’s no mistaking that pterodactyl laugh once “The Hardline” gets rolling on The Ticket. Since taking the co-host slot in 2007 after years as producer, Corby Davidson has been on his game. In his early years, Davidson was thought of as a funny guy who stepped aside when the sports talk got too deep. Now he displays his surprisingly vast knowledge of local and national sports, college and professional, on a daily basis. Davidson has matured into a personality at the top of his craft without losing his edge — and he’s still funny.
Readers’ choice: Randy Galloway
Critic’s choice: Bob Ray Sanders
No matter what’s on the front page of the Star-Telegram, Sanders’ column almost always provides meaningful food for thought. His topics run the gamut from botched state executions to immigration issues, and he’s not afraid to tell it like it is. In addition, Sanders is an active and entertaining public speaker. His current focus on the “new Jim Crow” is a sober examination of criminal laws (mostly drug-related) that target minorities.
Servant of the People
Readers’ choice: Wendy Davis
Critic’s choice: Lee Ann Bryce
First Congregational United Church of Christ practiced what it preached about inclusion and hired Arlington native Lee Ann Bryce as its minister, making her perhaps the only openly lesbian minister leading a mainstream church in North Texas. Bryce does a beautiful job of promoting peaceful, loving coexistence without beating people over the heads about sexuality issues during sermons. Her gentle touch seems the perfect fit for this congregation that includes various cultures, races, and sexual persuasions all worshipping side by side.