Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs 2011: Media, Sports, Culture, Trends, Etc.

Main Line Today’s readers and critics pick their favorites.

Critics’ Picks

Pages 2-8


Michael Bradley’s Sports Picks

The Broomall sports writer and analyst runs down the best in Philadelphia and Main Line sports.


Q&A: Philadelphia Phillies Pitcher Ryan Madson

An expanded interview with Main Line Today’s Best Underappreciated Pro Sports Player.

Why We Love Villanova University Coach Jay Wright

Nova’s men’s basketball coach is more than just a pretty face. We’ve got the expanded web story on this powerhouse right here.


Best Coach with a Cause: Villanova Men’s Football Coach Andy Talley. (Photo by Jared Castaldi)Coach with a Cause >>> Villanova Men’s Football Coach Andy Talley
Andy Talley proves there’s always time to do the right thing, no matter how overloaded your schedule may be. His bone marrow foundation promotes testing awareness, and organizes, hosts and funds donor testings across college campuses nationwide. Funds raised on behalf of the foundation supplement Talley’s “Get in the Game” initiative to increase testing and save lives. Andy Talley Bone Marrow Foundation, (610) 401-7665,

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Feel-Good Project by a Local Musician >>> David Uosikkinen’s In the Pocket: Essential Songs of Philadelphia
For In The Pocket: Essential Songs of Philadelphia, Hooters drummer David Uosikkinen has called on some of the area’s most respected musicians—including Hooter bandmates Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman, Tommy Conwell, Jerry Blavat, Jeffrey Gaines, and more—to re-record classic, often little-known songs by Philadelphians. So far, three tracks are available through iTunes and Amazon, and proceeds benefit students at Philly’s Settlement Music School. This is an ongoing project, so expect more good things to come.

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Music Radio Station >>> 102.9 WMGK-FM
The powers-that-be at WMGK couldn’t have made a more prescient move in hiring John DeBella and Debbi Calton, both much-loved castoffs from WMMR, now MGK’s younger, edgier sister station in the expanding Greater Media empire. Big surprise: Many of those who grew up listening to MMR followed those familiar voices to a new frequency. Since then, MGK has capitalized on its baby-boomer niche, playing it safe with a core playlist of untouchable artists like Tom Petty, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and the Eagles. Never underestimate the power of familiarity.

Music Radio Station for Moms and Daughters >>> B101 FM
We challenge you to find another station in the area where it’s not uncommon to hear Pink, Fleetwood Mac, Taylor Swift, John Mellencamp and Michael Jackson in the same hour. Seeing as The Bee has its soft-rock hooks in little girls and big girls alike, is it any wonder its ratings are so strong?

New TV Station >>> NBC Philadelphia Nonstop
The area’s only local 24-hour news and lifestyle channel is so committed to keeping Philadelphians in the know that is offers the only 7 p.m. newscast in this market. It’s not all serious, though. Tune in to the likes of Foodies and The Scene, which showcase the most buzzed-about local restaurants and the hippest social spots.

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Darren Daulton (left) with Mike Missanelli. (Photo by Jared Castaldi)Philadelphia Sports Icon on the Radio >>> Darren Daulton on 97.5 The Fanatic
Not so long ago, Darren Daulton seemed like a lost cause, dogged by his off-kilter personal beliefs, domestic violence charges and a lengthy string of DUI-related arrests that stretched back to his days with the NL pennant-winning ’93 Phils. In little more than a year’s time, the former All-Star catcher has rescued his credibility with local fans thanks to Talking Baseball With Dutch, his freewheeling radio show airing weekdays during baseball season from 6 to 7 p.m. on The Fanatic. With his aw-shucks demeanor and no-nonsense baseball smarts, Dutch almost makes you forget that he’s an advocate of “astral travel.” Almost.

Radio DJ >>> Marilyn Russell, 95.7 Ben FM
Marilyn Russell is the girlfriend everyone would love to have. As host of Ben FM’s morning show, she flaunts her passion for both the city and her listeners every weekday. And her “Women of the Week” broadcast offers a much-needed platform for those making philanthropic contributions to the area.

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Nick, Marissa, Kathy, Preston, Steve and Casey. (Photo by Jared Castaldi)Radio Morning Show >>>
The Preston & Steve Show
93.3 WMMR-FM

There are plenty of local listeners who didn’t follow a certain big-haired radio personality to satellite radio. They stuck around to witness the weekday on-air antics of Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison—and they’re rarely disappointed. The two play off each other’s strong points to perfection—Preston’s more business, Steve’s all about the laughs. And the A-list interviews don’t hurt, either.

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Radio Show for Emerging Artists >>> Chick-a-Boom Talent Show, AM 1340 WHAT
Broadcasting from a small studio in Bala Cynwyd, this new show spotlights entertainers of all stripes. The Chick-a-Boom Talent Hour (1-2 p.m. Saturdays) is less about idols than performers determined not to be idle. Show creator and hostess Zaughn Elizabeth is a seasoned trouper who launched Chick-a-Boom Talent and Entertainment Agency in 2008. Bolstered by the burnished pipes of on-air sidekick Ron Christian, “Lady Z” has interviewed everyone from directors to demonologists. The tone is always down-home—and never spooky.

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Radio Talk Show Host >>> Michael Smerconish, WPHT 1210-AM
Now syndicated, Michael Smerconish has taken to the national stage quite well—and we can’t say we’re surprised. His program deftly humanizes its politics with everyday stories even those who don’t agree with his views can relate to. But mostly it’s his guy-next-door charm and quirky humor that keep us tuning in.

Sports Radio Personality >>> Mike Missanelli, 97.5 The Fanatic
In the battle of the afternoon drive-time sports-talk super-egos, Mike Missanelli has knocked Howard Eskin from his 610 WIP perch. Whether or not Mikey Miss actually has more humility than his AM-only competitor is debatable, but he sure comes off that way on-air, brushing off repeated personal jibes from listeners on the show’s popular “Sound Off” segment. And when it comes to actually talking about sports, his learned-outsider perspective trumps Eskin’s know-it-all insider shtick.

Talk Radio Station >>> WPHT 1210-AM
You may not always agree with what you hear, but it’s hard to deny the all-encompassing reach of this AM heavyweight. Anchored by charismatic local favorite (and perennial Best of the Main Line winner) Michael Smerconish and syndicated right-wing lightening rod Rush Limbaugh, The Big Talker has found a way to be everything to everybody at least some of the time.

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TV News Anchor >>> Jim Gardner, 6 ABC
When locals think of Action News, they see Jim Gardner. The longstanding Philadelphia television icon has held the coveted role as the station’s lead anchor for almost 30 years. In that time, he’s covered countless history-making events. But it’s the relationship he’s built with his fiercely loyal viewers that makes him a true stalwart in an oft-transient field.

TV Sportscaster >>> John Clark, NBC 10
Around here, keeping it real means everything. John Clark is a local guy who grew up watching the same teams we did. And speaking of keeping it real, Clark even holds his own alongside mercurial co-host Howard Eskin on NBC 10’s Sports Final.

TV Weatherperson >>> Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz, NBC 10
Of course we dig meteorologist Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz’s quirky sense of style (no one can rock a bow tie like him). But even more, we dig his passion for weather. Since joining the NBC 10 team in 1995, the native Philadelphian has earned viewers’ trust with his accuracy, leaving the hype to other stations.

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Underappreciated Sports Radio Personality >>> Glen Macnow, 610 WIP
A beacon of reason in a roiling sea of unchecked testosterone and mindless yapping, Glenn Macnow—aka the Prof—brings a scholarly credibility to his midday co-hosting slot with the always-gregarious (and decidedly less academic) Anthony Gargano. Once a decorated Inquirer sportswriter and the author of more than 15 sports books, Macnow has the goods to teach the most dedicated Philly sports fan a thing or two—even if he was born in New York City.

Up-and-Coming Comedian >>> Steve Lipman
This 18-year-old Lower Merion High School grad has been doing standup in front of comedy club audiences since middle school, so “up-and-coming” may be a bit of a misnomer. Playing the age card to his advantage, you could argue that Lipman—who’ll be attending Temple University in the fall—was more polished at 12 than he is now. Either way, he’s still pretty funny. For upcoming shows, visit Lipman’s Twitter account @stevejlipman, or e-mail

Up-and-Coming Music Duo >>> Crowned Heron
Crowned Heron’s Joe Anzuena and Mike Rusch know how to string together a hummable tune, and others are beginning to take notice. For the past year, West Chester-based home-shopping network QVC has featured the Havertown duo’s songs in its ad campaigns. Like it or not, Crowned Heron may soon be taking flight.

Way to Pop the Question >>> Phillies Game Proposals
Benari Jewelers is offering a pretty sweet deal to those brave enough to get down on bended knee at Citizens Bank Park. The package includes a live broadcast of the proposal on PhannaVision, four tickets to the game, a champagne toast, and a commemorative DVD for grooms- and brides-to-be. Call for pricing. Various locations,

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