Fitz Haile

The Best of Savannah

Best of Savannah 2009: Media

Best Local TV News Anchor: Sonny Dixon

Former state representative and current media hot property on WTOC.

Runner-up: Tina Tyus Shaw


Best Local TV Sports Anchor: Frank Sulkowski

WJCL/Fox 28's go-to guy on the sports desk for the past three years.

Runner-up: Rick Snow, WTOC


Best Local Meteorologist: Pat Prokop

WTOC stalwart is a voice of calm and reason in a frenetically hysterical weather media environment.

Runner-up: Dave Turley,av WTOC


Best Local Blogger: Fitz Haile

First off, Haile insists that the Creative Coast blog is a collaborative effort. "Summer Teal Simpson does more of the writing these days, as I've taken on more of an editorial role over the past year or so," he says. "Kudos in large part go to her."

Haile says the main point of the blog -- other than being entertaining and compelling, as is the case with any blog -- is to be "an editorial outlet - a place where we could spout off on things in a less formal way than we could in a press release or in typical website copy. What it's turned into is sort of a cross between our official take on relevant issues in the community, cool stuff we hear about or interesting news we think is particularly pertinent, and last but not least - information on our own events and initiatives."

Haile says that despite the economic downturn, the local knowledge-based economy still has a lot to be excited about.

"Everyone is having a rough time, including knowledge-based businesses, but in our experience they seem to be weathering the storm a little better than most. I tend to think it's because they require (comparatively) less capital/equipment, are pretty flexible and in general have a lower cost of doing business than say, a construction firm, bank, newspaper (no offense) or manufacturing operation."

Haile says the silver lining of the recession is that "The Creative Coast Alliance has never been busier. I've been working here since 2004 I can comfortably say that we've had more on our plate (in terms of potential relocation projects) over the past 9 months than I can remember. In addition to some of our marketing efforts paying off, I think it has something to do with the fact that Savannah (in relative terms), is a lower-cost alternative. If you're a game development shop in NYC dropping 1 million bucks a year on rent, Savannah is a godsend."

Runner-up: Eric Kildow,


Best Local Website:

A totally legit win, folks, we just count the votes. First time in forever that the Morning News site at didn't win or place in this category, so overall we're pretty stoked.



Best Local Radio Station: Q105.3 FM

Imagine a radio station without incessant jingles, obnoxious commercials or the inane babbling of some drive-time pinhead who thinks he’s funny.

Imagine a radio station that puts the focus squarely on the music.

That’s what Jerry Rogers had in mind when he launched WRHQ in 1991. Rogers had been on the air in Savannah since the late ‘60s – the native New Yorker was a boss jock at the city’s legendary AM station WSGA – and like a lot of radio veterans had a warm spot for the era before broadcasting corporations started buying up FMs, homogenizing them and doing whatever it took to turn a profit.

Choosing a format was a no-brainer. “It’s such a subjective thing,” the 65-year-old Rogers says, “but I think younger people understand that the music of the late ‘60s and the ‘70s was pretty good. Certainly music today – from the ‘80s onward - isn’t terrible, but my sense is that the ‘60s, from the British revolution on to the late ‘70s, probably were the glory days.”

Q105.3 doesn’t play the same old corporate-station “Classic Rock” – you aren’t likely to hear “Stairway to Heaven” and “Free Bird” twice in the same day. It’s programmed entirely by Rogers, his staff and a “Listener Advisory Board”; the objective, he says, is to “go deep into an artist’s music.”

Yes, there are commercials, but WHRQ is decidedly jingle-free, and the on-air personalities (Rogers included) make it a point not to talk over a song’s intro or outro.

The station isn’t first in the market, but it’s very near the top with the all-important demographic of adults from ages 25 to 64.

And that tells Rogers – who says the station’s debt-free, and therefore not beholden to anyone or anything - that he’s doing something right with his 25,000 watts.

“We can really live by the fact that the airwaves belong to the public,” Rogers says. “We just try to treat it that way.

“We want to make money, but we’re very blessed. We don’t turn the kind of profits we were turning a couple of years ago, but nobody does. It’s a different paradigm now.” -- BDY.

Runner-up: Rock 106/WFXH


Best Local Radio Personality: Bill Edwards

The affable conservative local voice of WTKS talk radio from 6-9 a.m.

Runner-up: Jerry Rogers, Q105.3


Best Talk Radio Station: WTKS 1290 AM

The home of Rush Limbaugh, Bill Edwards, and Glenn Beck.

Runner-up: National Public Radio, FM 91



Best Local Columnist: Bill Dawers

The Savannah Morning News man about town is your must-read.

Runner-up: Tom Barton


Best Local TV Commercial: Jiffy Lube

There's a certain indefinable art to the local TV spot.

Runner-up: Spine and Sport

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