Best of the Quad Cities 2009: Media Print
News/Features - Feature Stories
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Wednesday, 01 April 2009 07:30

TV news station


2. WQAD Channel 8



Local media personality

1. Paula Sands, KWQC-TV6

2. Jessica Tighe, KWQC-TV6

3. Pat Leuck and Dani Howe, WLLR 103.7 FM


Local TV news anchor

1. Gary Metivier, KWQC-TV6

2. Jessica Tighe, KWQC-TV6

3. Jim Mertens, WQAD Channel 8


Local TV reporter

1. Fran Riley, KWQC-TV6

2. Jessica Tighe, KWQC-TV6

3. Chris Minor, WQAD Channel 8


Best local TV reporter - Fran RileyBest local TV reporter

Fran Riley

Raised in Boston, KWQC-TV6 reporter Fran Riley says he grew up "wanting to be a play-by-play guy" for Major League Baseball. "I realized if I wasn't going to be the next Mickey Mantle, the next best thing would be the next Curt Gowdy." Those interested in a reporting career, meanwhile, would do well to strive to be the next Fran Riley. Voted "best local TV reporter" in the Reader's poll, Riley - who joined Davenport's KWQC team in 1994, after 14 years with Rock Island's WHBF - graduated with honors from Boston's Emerson College in 1975, and has been a broadcasting success ever since: Among his accolades are a United Press International Award for "best feature sports story" and "best sports reporting in Illinois," an Associated Press citation for "best feature reporting," and, with KWQC, two awards for religion-themed stories, given by the prestigious Wilbur Foundation. "Faith, and my beliefs as a Christian, are very, very important to me," says Riley, "so it means everything to have been able to do some of these stories and be recognized for them." With daily shooting assignments for Channel 6's newscasts, there's "not a lot of time to fool around," but Riley finds the demanding job intensely rewarding. "You get opportunities to meet some absolutely fascinating people," he says, and in covering such news events as last summer's flooding, "you also see things that really cause a lot of heartache in people's lives. I'm always amazed by people's determination and resiliency, and their desire to bounce back. It's rather uplifting." As for advice for those considering their own reporting careers, Riley says, "The more you can do in terms of versatility, whether it be news, sports, operating a camera ... the more you can offer a business, the more valuable you are to them." Thank you, Mr. Riley, for being valuable to Quad Citians for 28 years and counting. For more on Riley, visit the reporter's biographical page on

- Mike Schulz

Local TV sportscaster

1. Thom Cornelis, KWQC-TV6

2. Dan Pearson, KWQC-TV6

3. Matt Randazzo, WQAD Channel 8


Local TV morning show

1. Quad Cities Today (KWQC-TV6)

2. Good Morning Quad Cities (WQAD Channel 8)


Local newspaper columnist/reporter

1. Barb Ickes, Quad-City Times

2. Bill Wundram, Quad-City Times

3. Sean Leary, The Dispatch/Rock Island Argus


Most reliable weather forecast

1. WQAD Channel 8


3. Terry Swails (TerrySwails. com)

3. The Weather Channel


Most reliable weather forecast - WQAD Channel 8Most reliable weather forecast

WQAD Channel 8

Let's be honest: Every television station claims to have the best forecast.

But the Quad Cities' ABC affiliate, WQAD Channel 8, can prove it.

So the readers who voted for the station in the "most reliable weather forecast" category either have inside information, or they pay a lot of attention to the weather.

A disclaimer: You could measure forecast accuracy any number of ways, from the amount of precipitation to temperature. WQAD, for its "three-degree guarantee," looks at each day's high temperature. And the station claims that its forecast was within three degrees of the actual high temperature 76 percent of the time last summer, compared to 61 percent for the Weather Channel, 55 percent for KWQC, 52 percent for WHBF, and 52 percent for the National Weather Service. (Insert your favorite joke about the federal government here.)

"That's not just some little catchphrase," said Anthony Peoples (pictured), one of three meteorologists for the station. (Neil Kastor will be retiring April 16.) "We have the documentation."

And, he noted, WQAD was 29 for 30 last September.

Given the plethora of computer models available, the key, Peoples said, is the human touch. "You just have to know which one has been more reliable lately," he said. He added that "maybe getting burned once or twice" is helpful, as well.

Each day the forecast lands in that six-degree window, a local charity gets $20. But Peoples said that doesn't mean the bosses at WQAD would prefer that their meteorologists miss the mark - a sponsor pays the prize.

- Jeff Ignatius



Local blog

1. Sean Leary: MySpace. com/seanleary007

2. Complacency Chronicles:





Local Web site





Best local Web site - RCReader.comBest local Web site

In case you were wondering, no, the victor in the "best local Web site" category wasn't fixed - Reader staff members were allowed to vote 10 times each just like all of you. Uh ... you were allowed to vote 10 times each, right? Kidding aside, we're pretty damned proud of our new site at - so proud, in fact, that we're even providing an additional route to get there, via - and we're thrilled that our poll's voters have found it so useful, beneficial, and enjoyable. Visitors, of course, still have access to online versions of Reader stories, but features that were previously only available in print format - Free Will Astrology, Ask the Advice Goddess, Red Meat, the crossword - can now be found online as well, with those additions just the tip of the new's info-iceberg: Online-only stories, news releases, thousands of listings in 10 separate event calendars, video news, social-networking features, a continuous scroll of noteworthy events, local searches for area nightspots, thrice-weekly offerings by cartoonist Ted Rall, quick links to the area's movie theaters, "Reader Tweets," and much, much more. Plan on seeing added perks and features as the new site (which debuted in January) continues to grow, and remember, we're always happy to receive suggestions on how to make the site even more user-friendly. So feel free to share your thoughts with us at ... uh ... hmm ... man, that Web address is right on the tip of my tongue ... .

- Mike Schulz

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