Best Radio Station 2009 | WKPX-FM (88.5) | People & Places | South Florida

While modern radio is largely polluted by classic rock, tasteless fart jokes, crazy preachers, fraudulent "alternative" stations, and American Idol rejects, 88.5 FM has thrived since 1983 because of an increasingly novel concept: "We play almost a straight hour of music," says DJ Thayne Brown, a student at Piper High School. The School Board-owned station gives the airspace to kids from Piper until 7 p.m., when students from Nova Southeastern University take over. The station draws 1 percent of local listeners at any given time — even without snarky morning hosts or songs about boot-knockin'. Station adviser John Farley tells students to avoid "too much sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, religion, or even anti-religion." Because some students have a fondness for death metal, he adds: "That includes Satan; he's out." Beyond those ground rules, kids are not bound by Top 40 lists or financial incentives from Clear Channel; they can play hip-hop mixtapes, breakthrough indie bands, and requests. On a recent Thursday afternoon, for example, the playlist jumped from Incubus to Matt & Kim to Rancid to Coldplay. The tunes were punctuated by charming teenager banter (in which nearly everything is described as "like, really weird") and adorable homemade Public Service Announcements. "Kindness is a favorable and friendly act. This message brought to you by all your kind friends at WKPX." With that, a DJ named Reggie fired up a ferocious Fugazi classic — "We owe you nothing/You have no control" — reassuring us that teenage angst is alive and well — no fart jokes required.

It takes some nerve to run for reelection as mayor a few months after you've been indicted on felony corruption charges. But it's a truly colossal feat of hubris to run that campaign as "Mayor Al Capellini" despite having been removed from that position by order of the governor, based on said corruption charges. Capellini published newspaper advertisements with his old title, claiming with stunning dishonesty that his was a "reelection" campaign. In Century Village, a sprawling condo complex with elderly voters who tend to turn out in droves, Capellini circulated a flier that said in big, bold letters: "Mayor Capellini: Total Commitment to Century Village." It contained no footnote warning that, if elected, Capellini would be able to honor that "commitment" only if he weren't totally committed to a prison cell later this year. And yet, who are we to question his methods? Capellini still finished a close second in a five-way mayor's race — losing to Peggy Noland by fewer than 400 votes. So now it's merely "Deerfield Beach resident Al Capellini," and if things don't go well in his upcoming trial, that too will be an oxymoron.

Back in 1996, Wilton Manors was an ugly little blight of a town with terrible restaurants, a high crime rate, and two — two! — Bible stores. Then the gays came. Goodbye, violent crime! Goodbye, bad food! Hellooo, manicured lawns! Thanks to SoFla's huge and still growing local population of gays — which clusters around Wilton Manors, Poinsettia Heights, Lake Worth, and Victoria Park — SoFla has been saved from the worst ravages of the economic crisis. Gay households tend to be "DINK" — Double Income, No Kids — and queers love to spend their money. When the real estate market stabilizes, you can bet that home prices will begin climbing in our gayborhoods first.

This Week in South Florida is to local politics what NBC's Meet the Press is to national politics: a place where major figures must face tough questions from an informed, skeptical interviewer. That's Putney, an old-fashioned newsman in the tradition of PBS' Jim Lehrer. Now in his 28th year in South Florida television, Putney has no patience for the equivocation and platitudes that sneaky politicians use to duck questions. It's no use declining his invitation — Putney will tell that to his viewers, who will then wonder whether the person has something to hide. On the contentious issue of the new Marlins stadium, Putney took the hard, common-sense line: If fans aren't going to the current stadium, why would they go to the new one? And aren't there more worthy investments? The closing segment, "Putney Perspective," is devoted to an issue of immense local importance or to chastise a public servant who didn't do his duty. In one recent broadcast, Putney gave the name of the police officer who failed to show up for a court appearance, allowing a drunk driver to get back behind the wheel only to plow into a minivan and kill three children. Putney demands accountability from anyone in a position of power — from the traffic cop to the Florida governor.

Sometimes you can hear the whispers around the Broward County Courthouse, and they come in voices that tremble: Carmel Cafiero is about to come out with a new report. It was Cafiero, the orange-haired muckraker for WSVN (Channel 7), who broke stories about former Judge Robert Zack's bad debts and who once followed Judge Larry Seidlin around for a few days to discover that the guy spends more time on the tennis court than in the courtroom. In short, she loves to get down into the dirt and dig. The downside to Cafiero is that she's known to pull punches — and drop entire investigative reports — at the behest of her sometimes nervous bosses. But when it comes to hard-hitting TV news reporting, she's the best we've got by a long shot.

Behind the bland façades lining University Drive from Copans to Sunrise boulevards, a diverse and inspired bunch of shop owners and restaurateurs is doing great and sometimes even transcendent work that hardly anyone knows about. Walking this stretch, you may eat ridiculously proportioned Korean entrées at Gabose, take a mind-melting trip through Tate's Comics, giggle at the dissident art hanging upstairs in the Bear and Bird Boutique + Gallery, and satisfy your spouse's annoying vegan palate at the meatless Indian joint Woodlands. Broward's pretensions to urbanity have always come off as a little derivative, but out here, this stretch of University is groping its way toward a vibrant identity of its own.

Here's what the weather will be like tomorrow, South Florida: Between 72 and 86 degrees, chance of rain or hurricane. It doesn't make for a terribly exciting weather report. So a truly great South Florida weathercaster must be well-versed in the nuances of climatology studies and be able to translate the complex, multifaceted meteorological algorithms into digestible forecasts that will keep people tuning in. Julie Durda might be able to do those things. But it doesn't matter, because Durda is hotter than the sun itself. The former San Francisco 49ers cheerleader and Bachelor contestant makes sure WSVN (Channel 7) viewers always wake up to a warm front. Her smile. Her hair. Her legs. Her adorable skirts. Julie could have a map of Pakistan behind her while she reads from Charlotte's Web and it would still give every viewer an extended forecast. So it doesn't matter what the sky will look like tomorrow. As long as Julie Durda's on the screen, there's no need to go outside.

This county is home to some of the world's richest, most famous, most jealously private people, but they're all at the mercy of any commoner with an internet connection. Basically, the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser's website is tax-funded voyeurism. Pop a famous name into the database and it will spit out the street address, the sale price, the current appraised value, and the dimensions of the region's most exclusive residences. Conservative commentator Ann Coulter managed to convince the county that it should unlist her address, ostensibly on the basis that her personality made her an inviting assassination victim. But curious people can still find out that she paid $1.8 million for a relatively modest 3,000-square-foot home on the island. One can find the exact location of such contemptible creatures as Rush ("R H" in the database) Limbaugh, Jeffrey Epstein, and Bernard Madoff (who listed his place under wife Ruth's name). But the best feature is the button for maps. With an aerial view of each parcel, a nosy soul can click his or her way around the neighborhood to see whether the Joneses overpaid for their home or whether the Baxters embellished their square footage at the dinner party. And who is that strange man down the block — a harmless loner or a sex offender? Pull his name from the appraiser's site, then let Google perform the background search. When it comes to snooping on the neighbors, it's a whole lot better than hiding in the hedges.

Caribbean vacations can seem out of reach — a yacht ride and a fortune away. But guess what, peeps? Tickets to Jamaica are going for just $149 roundtrip. Stay away from dangerous Kingston, touristy Ocho Rios, and Negril; opt instead for the eastern region around Port Antonio. At the colonial-style Bath Fountain Hotel & Spa, soak in tiled bathtubs filled with 92-degree mineral water from the adjacent natural hot springs, or wander up the dirt path on the mountainside to bathe in the hot springs themselves. Any cabdriver (one stayed with us for the whole day for $20) will double as tour guide and show you the Blue Lagoon (where the movie was filmed and entrepreneurial dudes take tourists on raft rides), Boston Beach (where teenaged boys rent out their personal surfboards), and the outdoor food stands where cooks invented jerk chicken. At night, fluorescent signs nailed to streetlights tell what sound system is playing in town. And while the Jamaican Tourist Board can set you up with locals via its "Meet the People" program (it's free, and you can specify whether you want to meet doctors, artists, kids, etc.), we found it safe to explore on our own, even at night. But if you dip into the doobage, be careful. Despite stereotypes, weed is illegal, and signs at bars warn: "No Ganja Allowed!"

In May 2008, 16-year-old Jeffrey Nadel formed a local chapter of the National Youth Rights Association. By winter, he was receiving media coverage out the wazoo for his efforts to lower Florida's voting age to 16, and his chapter sported a six-person board and a membership of 200. Nadel hopes our legislators will draft a bill lowering the voting age to 16. But if they don't, he says he'll keep dogging them — and that he'll continue to do so even if he's well over 18 by the time his efforts bear fruit.

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