Best Radio Personality
Photo by Monica McGivern

Since 1996, Lucy Lopez has been a staple of Power 96.5 FM. Plucked straight out of college to work for Miami's party station, the ever-popular Lopez hosts the Power 96 Morning Show from 6 to 10 a.m. every day. Many South Floridians wouldn't think of waking up or driving to work in the morning without her cheery, infectious voice in the background. Music is an afterthought when it comes to what makes Lopez and the Morning Show practically a part of Miami itself; it's the daily commentary on current events and community news, along with the entertaining jokes, bits and banter, that have kept listeners coming back for almost 25 years. Lucy Lopez is the Dwyane Wade of FM radio in these parts: Life in South Florida wouldn't be the same without her.

Best TV News Reporter
Photo courtesy of WPLG

Born and raised in Miami, FIU grad Nicole Perez joined Channel 10 in 2016 as a traffic reporter but now co-anchors the nightly news. In any other year, she would have been out in front, covering the biggest story of this generation. When it came to reporting on COVID-19, however, she found herself part of the story. Perez contracted the virus, along with her husband, Roy Ramos, also a Local 10 News reporter, back in July. Her recovery became a topic covered by Channel 10, helping to inform the public in a very real way just how serious the virus was. Her recent return to our living rooms reminded us just what we'd been missing while she was recovering. Smart, energetic and extremely well versed in what is happening in the South Florida community, Perez feels like a member of the family. We're glad she's back, doing what she does best: providing South Floridians with the best news coverage in the market.

Running down the latest stories surrounding the Miami Dolphins has never been the easiest task. Over the years, there have been a fair amount of non-football-related topics to dissect in addition to the regular team news. Adam Beasley, a longtime Dolphins columnist for the Miami Herald, has tracked each one with honesty, integrity, and, most important, a point of view that falls not far from the team's fan base; he knows all the angles that fans want and need in order to stay informed. From breaking injury news to new roster additions and subtractions to coaching changes and social injustice-inspired player protests, Beasley's coverage of the team is thorough. He's truly the eyes and ears of Dolphins fans, both on the field and as far off the field as the job takes him — making him the cream of the crop at the Herald.

In his welcoming baritone voice, Mitchell Kaplan explores the human condition and societal woes of the written word during his weekly podcast, The Literary Life With Mitchell Kaplan, which debuted in 2018 and is now more than 100 episodes in. Kaplan, co-founder of the Miami Book Fair and owner of Books & Books, releases a new episode every Friday comprising a good-natured discussion with writers, authors, and anyone with a story to tell. Past episodes, available online, include a talk with Nicholas Griffin about his book detailing Miami in 1980, a year defined by riots, refugees, and cocaine; a recorded event with former Black Panther Albert Woodfox, who spent 43 years in solitary confinement for a crime he says he didn't commit; and a discussion with author Megha Majumdar, who in her debut fictional novel, A Burning, teaches us to laugh and dream in a maddening world through the life of a Muslim girl in India.

When you think of Instagram, a 40-year-old basketball player probably isn't the first thing you think of. And it isn't likely that said player would be in contention for the best account on the social media platform. But this hasn't exactly been the most normal of years, either, and if you're looking for the most meaningful IG account, look no further than the one belonging to Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem. A glance at Haslem's timeline will reveal everything from support for the Black Lives Matter movement to charity work in the Miami community to an overall positivity that is desperately needed right now. There's no world where Udonis Haslem will "shut up and dribble," and his Instagram is a perfect example of why we're all better off with him fighting for what's right instead.

Best Author
Photo by Mari Esquinca

While Jaquira Díaz's debut memoir is called Ordinary Girls — a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Notable Selection and on handfuls of most-anticipated and most-read book lists — Díaz is clearly not your run-of-the-mill author. Recipient of a Whiting Award in Nonfiction and a Florida Book Awards Gold Medal (to name just two of her many honors), Díaz is an extraordinary writer who has penned an ode not only to herself, but to all Latinx LGBTQ survivors of shame, blame, violence, and erasure. Sandra Cisneros writes that Díaz is "a woman who has claimed her own voice, a writer who writes for those who have no voice, for the black and brown girls 'who never saw themselves in books.'" Díaz makes them all visible against the backdrops of Miami and Puerto Rico, and we never want to stop seeing through her eyes.

Best Poet
Photo courtesy of Miami Book Fair

We'd like to say that Maureen Seaton is the Pushcart Prize- and Florida Book Awards Gold Medal-winning author of 23 books of poetry, but we're not sure that's accurate; it could be 24 or 25 by now. One of the most prolific and award-winning poets to ever grace Miami, Seaton, the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and Lambda Literary Award, has penned at least 13 solo books of poems and co-authored at least ten. A gracious collaborator and a generous educator at the University of Miami, Seaton is enormously admired by readers and colleagues alike for her insight and prescience, including in lines like these: "I've never thought to call the world sweet before./A nemesis can do that for you, make things taste different./Suddenly you're a hero/ine./All this devastation — and you're still standing in the middle of it."

During the day, Anastasia Pavlinskaya is a producer at WPLG Local 10, but she really shines at night, when she's delivering laughs as a moonlighting comedian. Although Miami's stand-up comedy scene is small compared to that of New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago, Pavlinskaya stands out as one of its biggest champions. Take the pandemic, for instance: When everything was shut down, including her home venue, Villain Theater — where she's director of stand-up — Pavlinskaya managed to keep the momentum going by hosting a weekly virtual open-mike night. But don't sleep on her comedy chops, either: She's funny AF. Mining her Russian-American background for laughs (she insists her parents aren't spies), Pavlinskaya touches on the child-of-immigrants experience — something a lot of Miamians can relate to.

Best Local Boy Gone Bad
Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty

It's been barely a year since the Miami Heat drafted Tyler Herro. The scouting reports showed Herro looking as clean-cut as his Wisconsin roots. But right from the get-go, the six-foot-five shooting guard has embodied Miami in human form like no other. From the outlandish clothing to the questionable hairstyles to the dating of Instagram celebutante Katya Elise Henry, the 20-year-old Herro is carrying all the glitz, glamour, and gossip that makes Miami alternately beloved and hated. But like the Magic City itself, Herro has thus far been able to back up his frivolities. Not only is he showing up at his day job, but he's been killing it with a sweet-as-pastelito jump shot. Will he continue to excel while burning the candle at both ends — especially next year, when he hits legal drinking age? You'll have to tune in to his social media accounts to find out.

Best Local Boy Made Good
Photo courtesy of the author

Imagine being a nerdy kid growing up watching all the Star Wars movies and playing intergalactic games with your friends. Imagine showing up to the movie theaters early just to see the midnight premiere of Phantom Menace. Imagine collecting all sorts of comics, books, and figurines of well-known movie characters and spaceships. Now imagine being that same nerdy kid and growing up to write a book that's officially part of the Star Wars universe and tells the origin story of arguably the most handsome pilot in the galaxy. Unless your name is Alex Segura, all that is just a fantasy. Miami native Segura had a childhood dream fulfilled when Poe Dameron: Free Fall was published by Disney LucasFilm Press in August. The 384-page novel tells the story of a young Dameron as he navigates the skies of growing up and ultimately becoming the hunk — er, rebel fighter — we meet in 2015's The Force Awakens. Writing his first Star Wars book is not the only feat Segura has to celebrate, however: The current New York resident published the fifth and final installment of his popular Pete Fernandez mystery series, Miami Midnight, in late 2019, and his next noir crime story, Secret Identity, which follows a female protagonist as she moves from Miami to New York and gets involved in the comic book world, is expected to be released soon.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®