Most TV news anchors are saccharine. They work too hard for our attention, overplaying emotions like freshmen drama school students. Then they end every story on a note of hope, even when the facts are bleak. Not Calvin Hughes. When the Emmy Award-winning WPLG Channel 10 newscaster headed down to Port-au-Prince for a three-part series called "Haiti: One Year Later," he didn't choke up, even when covering earthquake victims with amputated limbs. And he didn't inject false hope into the country's struggle to overcome crime, disease, and poverty. Instead, he reported the story gracefully and professionally, ending one piece by lamenting that most Haitians still lived in "inhumane conditions with an inept government, no leadership, no work, and, dare I say, no hope for some that tomorrow will bring a better day." Growing up in Cleveland and East St. Louis, Hughes learned that reporters' platitudes and smiling sign-offs often hide the intransigence of poverty and blight. His reporting reveals those problems without dismissing them.
We admit we had never heard of Claudia DoCampo either, at least until last winter. That's when the plucky brunette elbowed her way up to soon-to-be-ex-county Commissioner Natacha Seijas and did what no other reporter around had yet achieved: forced her to answer a question. Well, kind of. On January 31, DoCampo showed up to interview Julio Robaina at the opening of a clinic in Hialeah. Instead, she spotted Seijas, who for weeks had been dodging her and other reporters' interview requests. So the scrappy DoCampo cornered the commissioner and asker her about the recall campaign against her. First, Seijas simply repeated, "No, señora," and tried to slip away. But when DoCampo held her ground, the politician shoved the reporter out of the way, banging her arm against a doorway. Even then, the Argentine-American newscaster didn't give up. "Don't push me!" she yelled and kept following Seijas around the clinic. At one point, the commissioner had to stare at a wall to ignore her. Finally, Seijas turned around, grabbed DoCampo's microphone, and said in Spanish: "Ma'am, we are not here for that. We are here for something very special, OK? There is an ongoing lawsuit. I am not going to answer you. Do you understand what a lawsuit is? OK? Thank you." As Seijas marched off, DoCampo shot back, "You don't have to push me or touch my microphone," before adding a sarcastic gracias of her own. In the end, DoCampo didn't get the straightforward answer she and the rest of Miami-Dade deserved. But by exposing Seijas's fear of the truth, the resilient reporter revealed a more accurate portrait of Seijas than if the commissioner had simply answered the freaking question in the first place.
Hot!
It's 3 a.m. on a Tuesday, and you can't stop thinking about the aliens that kidnapped your dog, the ghost that talks through your cell phone, or the satanic lady at the supermarket. Don't worry — you're not the only one. In fact, millions of listeners already tune in to the Coast to Coast AM radio show seven nights a week, just like you should. Talk to George and his guests about paranormal activity, conspiracy theories, the occult, aliens, and tales of whoa and fury. His temper is as cool as Iceland, his tone as warm as vintage radio tubes. And the show is open to both good and evil. The callers are an amazing, strange, and wonderful assortment of crackpots, believers, seekers, and lunatics. George knows how to get them talking, cuts them off when they're boring, and asks the questions that elicit the best answers. In South Florida, we tap the 5 kilowatts of output from 610 WIOD every Monday through Friday from midnight to 5 a.m., and weirder hours on the weekends, for the kind of talk that gets you thinking.
If voices were alcohol, Andy Wagner's would be an expensive yet approachable, universally beloved champagne. An announcer for WLRN, Wagner is a witty Bristolian Brit with a sparkling charm that sedates frazzled nerves and melts the day's resentments away. Swallow a few sips of his gentle English brogue on your commute home, and you'll suddenly find yourself much less desirous of punching things or screaming, all without the risks of driving under the influence. The announcer doesn't usually impart information much more urgent than the weather or upcoming programs (although he has produced All Things Considered, among other meatier tasks), and that is part of his appeal. It's all about his gorgeous accent and his witty little puns, the kind that make you chuckle softly, shake your head slowly, and say, "Oh, Andy." The ten-year BBC World Service Radio veteran has graced our airwaves since 2002, after coming to Miami in 1999 for a three-month assignment and developing a taste for our salty sea air. A worldly chap, he's been a telephone engineer for the British Army, a Greenpeace activist, and a teacher of English as a foreign language. Wagner enjoys swimming, cooking, and cinema when he's not reaching through our car radio to tickle our ears.
A journalist who came to Miami via Venezuela and New York with more than 30 years of experience, Julio Cesar Camacho never gets lost in the maze of this city's Spanish-language radioverse, prone to sensationalist noise and cheap jabs. Every day from 5 to 7 p.m. on Actualidad (WURN-AM, 1020), Camacho is just as likely to level hard-hitting questions at politicians across the ideological spectrum as to interview doctors working on important research, musicians performing across the globe, or local professors conducting sociological studies. He welcomes anyone and everyone to his show, maintains a cool and collected stance, and delves deep into far-ranging issues. And perhaps most important, he seems comfortable enough to understand the story isn't about him.
Don Francisco has been in the business so long that his life is slowly transmogrifying into a daytime variety show. At the age of 70 — when most South Floridians have retired and taken to wandering around the mall food court — the Chilean talk-show host was recently hit with a paternity suit by 43-year-old Patricio Flores Mundaca, who claimed his mother once had an affair with The Don while she was working as a hotel maid. To make matters juicier, Francisco was allegedly caught bribing a biochemist to alter the paternity test. But after 49 years at the helm of Sábado Gigante — Univision's irrepressible and unapologetic pastiche of buxom models, weepy interviews, and dancing dwarfs — the king of kitsch can be forgiven for a few transgressions. Besides, he looks great. If Charlie Sheen has tiger blood, Don Francisco's bodily fluid comprises dragon DNA and Johnny Walker Black. Since bringing his show to Miami in 1986, he continues to strut around the stage like an ultratan AARP avenger in impeccably tailored suits. Born Mario Luis Kreutzberger Blumenfeld in Talca, Chile, while World War II was just getting underway, Don Francisco is the epitome of an entertainer. His latest foibles only make the man behind the tan mask all that more human.
Marc Hackman is like every other sportscaster in the country — prone to pukey clichés, blatant pandering, and an almost encyclopedic store of useless information. Except Hackman isn't really a sportscaster or radio personality. He's not even a real person. He's a hack, a construct created by 790 the Ticket station program director Marc "Hoch" Hochman to serve as an ad hoc (excuse the pun) guest from Miami when sports shows across the nation come calling. Instead of getting a sports insider talking about the Heat or Hurricanes, unsuspecting hosts are treated to the most hackneyed, cornball, goofball sportscaster imaginable. It's the best kind of satire — just credible enough to keep unwitting hosts from hanging up, but over-the-top absurd enough so his appearances provide pure comedy gold for Miami listeners who are in on the gag. Here's Hackman talking to a Cleveland station about the Heat's early-season troubles: "There's an old saying that every dog has its day, and we've been saying in Miami radio for a while that even when there's darkness, one size fits all." On air in Chicago, he likened the Dolphins' problems to a pizza: "It's like a Chicago deep-dish pizza — lots of layers and lots of sausage." He's apt to ramble nonsensically, make up silly facts ("UM President Donna Shalala invented the pantsuit"), and mispronounce names such as Heat coach Erik Spolestra (instead of Spoelstra). Catch Marc Hackman bits periodically weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m. or in rebroadcasts on the 790 website.
Assume Conan is on vacation and The Daily Show is on hiatus. What do you watch at 11 p.m.? Spanish-language paid programming on Mega TV, of course. Sure, you might learn a thing or two about immigration laws or DUI charge loopholes, but the best-bet byproduct of En Corte con el Dr. Ricardo Corona is belly laughter. Sandwiched between Bayly and prerecorded commercial programming, En Corte con el Dr. Ricardo Corona is a live phone-in show that offers generic legal advice from a team of Corona Law Firm abogados. At the helm of this hourlong consulta gratis is an attractive blonde named Leyla (at least when Dr. Corona isn't in), along with Nina Tarafa, lead counsel, so to speak, who butchers the Spanish language Mondays through Fridays. Each weekday offers something a little different: Mondays, the panel discusses foreclosures. Tuesdays are dedicated to immigration law. Divorce, domestic abuse, and other family matters take center stage Wednesdays. Thursdays and Fridays round out a week of paid programming with a potluck of cocaine possession-related charges and DUI Breathalyzer test queries. And the beauty of it all: It's commercial-free — because it's already an hourlong commercial.
In any other season, on any other Canes team, on any other night, University of Miami star Leonard Hankerson would have left the locker-room doused in champagne last November 28. On the field at Sun Life Stadium that Saturday, the mammoth six-foot-three receiver with 200 pounds of sprinter-quick muscle scorched the University of South Florida for nine catches and 127 yards. No one on the Bulls could cover him. Hardly anyone in the country could all year, actually. With his season-ending haul against USF, Hankerson set a new UM record this year for touchdowns (passing some guy named Michael Irvin, who once had 13) and tied a 26-year-old mark for receptions. He might just have turned in the best single season ever by a Miami wideout. Too bad for Hankerson that the heroics came amid an epic Hurricanes implosion. In fact, the very night Hankerson rewrote the record book against USF, the boys in green and orange blew a last-minute shot at a field goal and eventually lost 23-20 to the Bulls. Instead of celebrating his feats after the game, Hankerson was left arguing why his coach, Randy Shannon, should keep his job. (Shannon was fired hours later.) Well, consider this your much-belated champagne bath, Leonard. Pop!

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®