Best Radio Talk-Show Host - 2000
Readers' Choice: Frank O. Pinion
This is obvious, but it bears repeating. When it comes to day-to-day, what's-happening hard news and issue dissection on local radio, Charles Jaco is it. Most other hosts on local radio can stumble over a good topic or worthy guests now and then, but Jaco is consistent in his effort and his aim. Yes, he can be a bit full of himself, and his advance pub makes him look part journalist, part superhero, but he is the real deal, so let's accept the whole package. A good talk-show host stirs the pot in a productive way, stimulating the exchange of ideas, introducing some new information or expanding the perspective of those in the audience. From 2-4 p.m. Monday-Friday on KMOX-AM, Charles Jaco does that. He's about the only radio news jockey who does, in somewhat the same way Bob Hardy did for years and years on the old Voice of St. Louis, although Hardy was more folksy and conservative, though no less timely. Jaco is brash, but at least there's an energy level that shows that the topic has been thought about and a few phone calls have been made before the "On Air" sign goes on. Much of the credit needs to go to producer Peggy Cohill, who scrambles behind the scenes to connect with players in the turmoil of the day so that Jaco can depose them on the air. Maybe it's a comment on St. Louis' mushroom mentality (we're in the dark, surrounded by crap) that some people wonder why someone as good as Jaco hasn't left for a larger market for bigger bucks. He's got about a year left on his contract -- let's hope he re-ups at least one more time. If not, the creeping kudzu of radio chat will spread over the afternoon hours, providing no respite from the babbling about Survivor or whether you should be able to bring your pet to work.