Special Section

Media and Information

your choices for the Chippewa Valley’s best in Media and Information

V1 Staff, illustrated by Erik Christenson |


1st Place: Judy Clark
2nd Place: Jerry Gallagher
3rd Place: Jaimie Paige

Not all medium-sized television markets have the talent that Eau Claire boasts. Sure, you’ll see the occasional novice testing his or her chops on the weekend newscasts, but for the most part, the Chippewa Valley has the level of newscaster you’d expect to see in the big city. Judy Clark of WEAU TV-13 won this years survey with her professionalism that is tempered by her likeability – she is equally at home delivering the tough headlines as she is interviewing fourth graders. The cutest news duo in Eau Claire, Jerry Gallagher and Jamie Paige of WQOW TV-18, rounds out second and third. We don’t just mean cute because of their always-impeccable hair styling. They have mastered an on-screen chemistry that works as well with the hard-hitting journalism as it does with the wacky pre-weather banter with Doug. – Eric Rasmussen

Up-and-Comer: Krista Hostetler (WQOW TV-18)


1st Place: Jake Leinenkugel
2nd Place: Michael Perry
3rd Place: Hank Aaron

Even if Brad Pitt grew up across the street from Mitscher Park on Eau Claire’s south side, he would have a hard time beating out this year’s winner of favorite local celebrity – Jake Leinenkugel. Who cares about acting? This guy is the human embodiment of beer. Jake spends most of his time conducting PR for the Leinenkugel’s company, and every time we see him, it’s a magical little reminder of how delicious Leinie’s Red is. Michael Perry, in second place, is one of the area’s most successful authors, and recently, one of the area’s most rockin’ musicians (of Mike Perry and Longbeds). Hank Aaron, in third place, is the type of celebrity we get to appreciate from afar. This baseball legend got his start in Carson Park on the Eau Claire Bears, and although it’s been many years since he moved on, we still have a small claim to his fame. – Eric Rasmussen


1st Place: Nate Larscheid
2nd Place: Ashley Baylor
3rd Place: LeAnn Lombardo

You know what they say about predicting the weather – it sure is tough, but if you give it a whole-hearted effort with a great smile, people won’t mind all too much when you are way, way off. Thankfully, all three winners this year can back up their great smiles with striking accuracy. First place weatherman Nate Larscheid of WEAU TV-13 embodies professionalism, weather predicting skill, and a boyish charm that makes you want to give him a nickel and tousle his hair after he finishes his spiel about Alberta clippers. Ashley Baylor spends most of her time on WLAX/WEUX FOX 25/48 heading up the green screen for the nine o’clock news, and her pep and personality make the grayest skies a little brighter. Third place goes to LeAnn Lombardo, the morning weatherperson on WQOW TV-18. LeAnn’s job is especially difficult, because she has to be personable and accurate at 6 am. That’s really early. – Eric Rasmussen


1st Place: Sarah Stokes
2nd Place: Ashley Baylor
3rd Place: Cassy Clark

A broadcast news anchor’s do says a lot, and first place winner Sarah Stokes’ hair tells me that she’s willing to tackle hard-hitting news at 10 o’clock and then kick back at a sweet patio party right after. The secret to the WEAU anchor’s success lies in the subtle part in her short locks, and the Ted Koppel-esque light brown hue lightly frosted with blonde. A close second is blonde-coifed SkyWarn Weather Team meteorologist Ashley Baylor. She may have gone the route of long, straight, and monochromatic, but the catch is that it not only looks great in front of a projection screen but also in a weather chopper. Now TV-13 will just have to get one. Even more risky is the route taken by WQOW’s daybreak anchor Cassy Clark. There’s one simple rule in broadcast: no stray hairs. Yet despite the risk of a hair poking straight up and glimmering in the stage lights, Cassy dove right and got bangs. That’s bold, and that’s the kind of trait you want in a news anchor. – Trevor Kupfer


1st Place: Our Town Eau Claire
2nd Place: 48-Hour Video Project
3rd Place: City council meetings

Despite a rash of setbacks in the past year, the Chippewa Valley’s community television station (CTV) is still serving you as it always has. Changes in state law slashed its budget and Charter Cable moved the station to channels 96 and 97. But the programming you like is still there, including your top choice – the vintage promotional film Our Town Eau Claire. Technically speaking, CTV didn’t even produce the film (a guy named Robert M. Carson did in 1953), but CTV is the only place you can see the old timey footage of a 1950s Eau Claire, complete with superficial local history and gratuitous plugs for local dry cleaners and restaurants. You voted screenings of the various 48-Hour Video Projects into second place, which features local amateur moviemakers who, in the span of a weekend, shoot and edit a short film on a specified theme. Your votes slotted CTV’s relentless two-camera gavel-to-gavel coverage of local city council meetings into third place. – Mike Paulus


1st Place: WEAU (TV-13)
2nd Place: WQOW (TV-18)
3rd Place: WXOW (TV-19)

Until recently, the Chippewa Valley was only a two-horse town as far as local TV news is concerned (as far as actual horses are concerned, we’ve got way more than two). But in the past few years, WEAU has branched out with a FOX version of regional news at 9pm – the basic tagline being “We’re earlier.” Not to be outdone, WQOW’s affiliate WXOW fired up its own 9pm show. So there were a few more stations to pick from this year, and this category produced some of the reader poll’s fiercest commenting. You people are serious about your news. Roaring back from last year’s second place standing, WEAU (TV 13) grabbed the top slot, with its all-new evening anchor line up of Chris Herzog and Sarah Stokes. WQOW (TV 18) took second, while its sister station WXOW (TV 19) slid into third with its heavy coverage of La Crosse and parts in between here and there. – Mike Paulus


1st Place: WEAU.com
2nd Place: LeaderTelegram.com
3rd Place: VolumeOne.org

Like the rest of the whole dang world, us Chippewa Vallians rely heavily on the web for our local news. When we want to know whose house burned down, who got busted with five pounds of pot whilst pulled over on I-94, or who won the Sunshine Award, we want to know now – and the web makes it happen. You voted WEAU.com as your up-to-the-minute source for local happenings, with its succinct stories and host of features from job postings to weather radar. LeaderTelegram.com came in second with its massive site, posting and updating its print stories all day long, not to mention exhaustive classifieds, state news links, and everyone’s favorite: obituaries. Our own VolumeOne.org came in third which is odd because, even though we now post all of out magazine content online, we don’t deal in the kind of newsy news this category embodies. Of course, the poll was conducted from our website, so that’s not so odd at all.  At any rate, you guys should check out Chippewa.com or AltoonaStar.org sometime. – Mike Paulus


1st Place: Julian Emerson
2nd Place: Tom Giffey
3rd Place: Eric Lindquist

When it comes to local, hard-hitting investigative reporting, city council round-ups, and those everyday front-page news stories, it doesn’t get any better than the Leader-Telegram’s Julian Emerson. Julian has been around for about five years now, cranking out the news we all need to know, so you’d be hard-pressed to find someone that knows every nook and cranny of the community like he does. Well, maybe you could look a few cubicles down to your second-place selection, Tom Giffey. Giffey mostly handles the political scene as editor of the Leader-Telegram’s opinion page and the always ingenius blog “Giff’s Riffs.” Your third choice for delicious written word is the L-T’s special projects editor, Eric Lindquist. A UWEC journalism graduate, Lindquist is currently an investigative wizard delivering in-depth gems, but that was only after he mastered items such as sports, business, and homes. – Trevor Kupfer


1st Place: WHYS
2nd Place: WHWC
3rd Place: The Carp

Usually, traditional radio ratings ­– the stats that approximate a station’s number of listeners ­– are only calculated for commercial stations and not for public or community radio. This means it’s often hard for those sorts of stations to really know if many people are listening or not. In the case of this year’s reader poll, it would suggest that people in fact are. Coming in on top is WHYS (96.3 FM), Eau Claire’s low-power community-operated radio station with a wide variety of programming hosted by people just like you. Second place was WHWC (88.3 FM), part of the network of Wisconsin Public Radio. And third place went to a locally active commercial station, WDRK (99.9 FM), The Carp. – Nick Meyer

Secret Selection: An interesting note was the strong appearance of WIEC (102.7 FM), the eclectic “secret station” that has operated for quite a while now, legally, but mostly under the radar.


1st Place: McKay & Donuts
2nd Place: Curt St. John
3rd Place: Scott Morfitt (tied)
3rd Place: Mary Jo Wagner (tied)

Radio personalities are a different breed. Let’s just leave it at that. Topping the reader poll this year is B-95’s long running, wacky morning duo McKay & Donuts. I-94’s Curt St. John, another morning show host (and the voice behind the movie listings at London Square Cinema) came in at number two. Third place was a tie between Mary Jo Wagner, the host of the local current affairs show “The West Side” on the local WPR affiliate WHWC 88.3 FM, and newcomer Scott Morfitt, host of “Local Independence,” a Sunday evening show featuring interviews with and the music of local and regional artists on another WPR affiliate, WUEC 89.7 FM. – Nick Meyer