Best Of » Personalities / Local Folk

Best of 2007

Power Players

  • Photo by Brienne Boortz
  • Vicky Gregor from KRCC-FM

Radio DJ

Vicky Gregor

KRCC-FM 91.5, weekdays,

9 a.m. to noon

912 N. Weber St., 473-4801

This is the fourth time that KRCC morning free-form DJ Vicky Gregor, who is perhaps as well-known for her musical tastes as she is for being "your friend and neighbor," has taken the nod as the best radio DJ in town. Listeners regularly take notice of her voice when she's out and about in town "especially if they don't see me, and they hear it wafting through the air," she laughs. It's just one of the joys of her gig, Gregor says. "It's delightful and much-appreciated when people step up to say, 'Hey, I really like your show,' or that they like the station, or that our headsets are aligned." PF


Kathy Loo

As a kid, I remember running around High Valley Farm with my best friend. A secret hideaway of beautiful gardens, this is just one of the many contributions the Loo family has made to the city of Colorado Springs. The heritage continues with Kathy Loo, who has donated almost 70 works of art to the Fine Arts Center and worked to raise almost $30 million for its expansion through the Renaissance Capital Group with Buck Blessing. FAC director of public relations Charlie Snyder speaks highly of Loo: "She has given of her time, her money, her art, and best of all, her personality to the community. ... She has been there for the city in a number of capacities for a number of causes." EA

Radio Talk Show Host

Local Talk Radio Show

Tony D and the Dawg Pound

The Sports Animal KKML-AM 1300,

weekdays, 4-7 p.m.

  • Photo by Sean Cayton
  • Kathy Loo

6805 Corporate Center Drive, #130,


Last year, when Tony Desiere, who radio listeners better know as "Tony D," won his second consecutive titles in these categories, he joked that if his show won for a third straight year, he might end up owing some cash to Pat Riley. The former Los Angeles Lakers and current Miami Heat head coach not only coined, but also copyrighted, the term "three-peat." Now, with three wins under his belt, Desiere might need to open his wallet. And it sounds like he's willing to: "Winning for two years in a row is the highlight of my career," he says. Well, congrats again, to the whole Dawg Pound. Looks like you can't spell dynasty without the D. PF

Local TV Anchor

Lisa Lyden,


530 Communication Circle, 632-5030

She grew up in Florida, but you'd never know it. After coming here almost immediately after college in 1984, Lyden soon moved into an anchor role and has never looked back or elsewhere. "I could have gone other places," she admits, "but why leave when this is such a perfect place to live?" The mountains helped bring her to Colorado, and she's always loved skiing and hiking. She's also enjoyed the comfort level of being on KOAA's incredibly solid news crew. And she willingly gives her time to various charity events, adding to her relationship with the audience. Her viewers obviously feel lucky to have her; this is Lyden's sixth "Best Of" victory. RR

Arts Advocate

Susan Edmondson, Bee Vradenburg Foundation

730 N. Nevada Ave., 477-0185

As the five-year executive director of the Bee Vradenburg Foundation and vice chair of the board for the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR), Susan Edmondson works tirelessly to shine a spotlight on local art and culture. "We have a lot more going on than people realize," says Edmondson. And getting the word out is only part of her quest. Edmondson also works to develop community interest. "I want everybody to be an arts advocate," she says. Believing in her turf is Edmondson's strong suit, with what she calls "deep knowledge of the community ... to find the hidden gems and superlatives." EA


St. Paddy's Day Seven

Antiwar marchers looking to spread a message of peace at this year's St. Patrick's Day parade got dragged, pushed and handcuffed on a downtown street, but their message only grew louder. City prosecutors could not convince a jury at an August trial that the group known as the "St. Paddy's Day Seven" intentionally blocked the parade route. The mistrial was something of a victory, though prosecutors filed new charges against two from the group. Eric Verlo, one of those singled out for a second trial, says there's a chilling effect when residents fear the police will not let them engage in lawful activities: "I'm not sure people feel they can express themselves as Americans." AL

Local TV Newscast

Tondy D and the Dawg Pound - PHOTO BY JON KELLEY
  • Photo by Jon Kelley
  • Tondy D and the Dawg Pound

530 Communication Circle, 632-5030

Watching the news on Channel 5/30 is a little like inviting old friends into your living room. Anchors Lisa Lyden and Rob Quirk have reported our community happenings for more than 20 years. This talented duo looks you straight in the eye while delivering their stories. A team of gifted photojournalists backs the reporters and producers, and just recently, meteorologists Mike Daniels and Mike Madson paired up to create an entertaining, upbeat weathercast. News director Cindy Aubrey calls her team "smart, funny, creative and humble. It feels like family here." Rumor has it that Lisa Lyden bakes "hubcap-sized" chocolate chip cookies for the whole crew. Could this be the secret to their success? LLL

Local TV Reporter

Tak Landrock,


399 S. Eighth St., 632-1515

For the second year in a row, reporter Tak Landrock's clinched the top spot. Known for sinking his teeth into consumer problems, Landrock uncovers scams and takes businesses to task when they don't live up to their commitments. Even after exposing an out-of-state locksmith scam, or bringing to light home-inspection problems for Teller County homeowners, Landrock says "nine out of 10 calls aren't stories, just people needing help." And he doesn't mind directing consumers where to go or making a few calls for them. MMR

Local TV Sportscaster

Lee Douglas, KOAA-TV NBC 5/30

530 Communication Circle, 632-5030

He's a first-time winner, much deserved for someone who has been working in the region for his entire adult life. For years, he was better-known in Pueblo than Colorado Springs, because Lee Douglas quietly and humbly built his reputation as KOAA's backup sports guy while also standing out as one of Pueblo's most visible radio DJs. He never changed when he became KOAA's main man for sports, and now he's added to his local presence by doing color commentary for Air Force football's radio network broadcasts. Through it all, he has kept the same easygoing style. He also has pushed hard to keep up with resident Olympic athletes, and stays on top of the high school scenes in the Springs and Pueblo. RR

Addition to the Airwaves

Democracy Now!

KRCC-FM 91.5, weekdays, 7-8 p.m.

  • Courtesy KOAA-TV
  • Lisa Lyden

912 N. Weber St., 473-4801

So what if the editing is a bit choppy at times, and the pace hectic? Amy Goodman and crew cover stories of national and international interest that most media outlets ignore. The program serves often as a voice for the disenfranchised, while featuring intelligent people speaking out against everything from the military and government to politicians and big business, a welcome change for Colorado Springs. Tune in you just may convert yourself into a liberal yet. MS

AM Radio Station

News Radio KVOR-AM 740

6805 Corporate Center Drive, #130, 540-0740

This category was born in 2006, and KVOR has prevailed both years. Some might suggest the main reasons would be Rush Limbaugh during the day and Michael Savage at night. We certainly hope not. We'd rather think it's the long-established presence covering local news, with Jim Arthur and Laurie White hosting the morning program for years; being the flagship for the Air Force football and basketball networks, with Arthur doing play-by-play; and having a popular late-afternoon talk show, even though Joseph Michelli no longer sits in that chair. Yet another factor in the station's prominence is having a strong signal on the lower 740 frequency. RR

Morning Radio Show

Morning Edition

KRCC-FM 91.5, weekdays 5-9 a.m.

912 N. Weber St., 473-4801

If you don't turn on the radio during your daily commute because of computer-generated sound effects and morons who laugh uncontrollably at the least funny things ever, you're probably ready to start spending some quality time listening to NPR's Morning Edition. The program, available on the Colorado College-affiliated KRCC from 5 to 9 every weekday morning, features hosts Rene Montagne and Steve Inskeep using their soothing-as-Isaac-Hayes voices to deliver the latest news on politics, current events and the arts. TT

Print Journalist

Ralph Routon, the Independent

235 S. Nevada Ave. , 577-4545

Mike Madson
  • Mike Madson

I was a little nervous interviewing the head honcho down at the Indy until he said, "I'm just one of the guys. We're all in this together." But don't take this smoothie for a softie. If you've seen the ad on TV or the Indy Web site for his End Zone section, you know what I'm talking about. A little extra insider info: Your favorite journalist also knows how to rock out on a keyboard. In his early years at the Gazette (Routon moved to the Springs the day Elvis died, Aug. 16, 1977) he'd head over to the Scoreboard Lounge after work and play songs for his coworkers. Maybe one day, he'll serenade his Indy staff. FG

City Council Member

Jan Martin

107 N. Nevada Ave., #300, 385-5986

Campaigning for City Council earlier this year, Jan Martin said she didn't think the city was living up to its potential. But changes since she was elected seven months ago, including a "quality of life section" in the city's strategic plan that lays out environmental and cultural goals, suggest some reasons for hope. Martin, for her part, says being on the council has brought a number of surprises. Despite being hailed as its solitary progressive voice, she says her colleagues have so far been open to new ideas. One idea and perhaps a reason for Martin's popularity with residents is a push to get more people involved in city government. AL

Oprah Fan

Collette Guida,

Southern Colorado Chapter of The Pajama Program, 201-1497

It's nothing unusual to find yourself in tears after an episode of Oprah, but acting on those feelings is another story. After seeing a show called "Changing the World," super-fan Collette Guida started a local chapter of The Pajama Program, a nonprofit that provides cozy new PJs and books to children in group homes and foster care. Watch for its first fundraiser next month. JT

County Commissioner

Sallie Clark

27 E. Vermijo Ave., 520-6413

Listen to Sallie Clark speak for a moment about how she lives her life, and you'll understand why readers voted for her. "I hope my constituents see I represent neighborhoods," she says. "I try to be involved in the community in different ways in nonprofit organizations, as a county commissioner, as the owner of my own business." Clark tries hard to be accessible. "I make it a point to return phone calls and e-mails," she says. "Something might not seem like an emergency to me, but if it's an emergency to the person who is calling me, I try to come up with a solution. I try to be the people's ombudsman." DA

Public Fool

Local Scandal

Ted Haggard, former
  • Photo by Brienne Boortz
  • Susan Edmondson

New Life Church pastor

The people have spoken, and here is what they've said: If you're an evangelical Christian leader, a husband and father who condemns gay and lesbian relationships as sinful, and then a gay male escort runs you out of town with claims that you're a meth-using, massage-loving, sexually insatiable repeat client ... you, sir, are our Best Public Fool. And you win Best Local Scandal by a factor of 20 over your nearest competitor. And wait, what's that? Oh, I think the people have one more thing to mention: You don't get donations for the education part of your "restoration," even if you ask nicely through our favorite TV reporter, Tak Landrock. KW

Local TV Weatherperson

Mike Madson, KOAA-TV NBC 5/30

530 Communication Circle, 632-5030

It's 4 p.m., and I'm watching Mike Madson do his daily weather shtick on KOAA's "News First Now." He's wearing a big smile and a smart suit, and his confidence makes me believe it will be 79 degrees and sunny tomorrow. Of course, it's October in Colorado, and we all know one of the worst jobs to have this time of year is that of local meteorologist. (If you don't know why, you haven't lived here long enough.) But Mike Madson's no newbie to the biz. And if the weather changes even slightly, he'll give me a full update again at 9 p.m. and running updates all day tomorrow. KA

Reason to Vote this November


I've never liked bumper stickers. Something about displaying your personal beliefs for everyone to see as they follow too closely behind you. Plus, some of them are just downright ridiculous. Case in point: "Liberalism breeds terrorism." Umm ... what? A few stickers I can get behind: "Peace is patriotic," "My kid beat up your honor student," and my new favorite, "At least Nixon had the decency to resign." No, this November's vote won't affect the presidency, but just consider it a dry run for next year. ALL


Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center

13620 Halleluiah Trail, Elbert, 495-3908

More than 100 volunteers at Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center serve 85 children and adults with various mental, physical and emotional disabilities each week, and the success stories are limitless. Executive director Christy Stettler cites one involving a bright, athletic teenager named Shannon who was paralyzed from the chest down in a car accident, could barely sit up in a wheelchair, and had dropped out of high school. After a year of therapy, she'd turned into a confident, independent rider, experienced pain relief and, even better, hope. Though the center doesn't offer "pony rides" for the public, it's recognized by the medical community for its therapeutic benefits and by its clients and their families as nothing short of a miracle. CSB

Local Celebrity You'd Like to Meet for Lunch

Person We Can't Believe Lives Here

Rick "Goose" Gossage, baseball legend

You'll notice we call him Rick, not Rich, as he's known to the baseball world. If you want to get his attention in a crowd, call him Rick. That's how many of his longtime friends address him, because he was Rick growing up at Wasson. The best news is, he never forgot where he came from, and he's as refreshingly candid as he ever was. But he'll be nervous come January, when the next Hall of Fame inductees are announced. Many "experts" are convinced his time has come for baseball's highest honor. Then even more people, especially from the younger generation, will be shocked that someone of his stature actually lives here. RR


Black Forest Photography

5645 Shoup Road, Black Forest, 495-7643

Becky and Ryan Kercher of Black Forest Photography won't make you stand for hours at your wedding reception, posing with in-laws you've only begun to resent. Instead, they'll watch you get tipsy and goofy and take great pictures of you grinning warmly at your new wife or husband. Ryan Kercher tells me that he and his wife pride themselves on sitting back and waiting for the right natural light and the best shots. My favorite is the one of a laughing bride reflected in the sunglasses of her new husband. They also snap the whole gamut, from senior portraits to maternity photos. FG

Music Fan

The KILO Mom

Found at the hardest rocking shows in town

If you've been to a rock or metal show in Colorado Springs, well, ever, you've surely seen the famous "KILO Mom" somewhere within or around the venue. She's the always-smiling older woman moving about in her wheelchair (which is covered in KILO-FM 94.3 stickers), bobbing her head and talking music with anyone who'll listen. The nickname she uses comes from her allegiance to the longtime local rock radio station and her steadfast claim that she flicked the switch to turn the station live for the first time. If I knew her real name, I'd share it, but it's not like it really matters; the KILO Mom rarely introduces herself by any other moniker. PF

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