Best of Our Valley Issue 2019: Media

by Melissa Larsen 

Best Anchor: Weekends: Danielle Lerner, ABC15

Arizona’s own Danielle Lerner (she is a grad of Chaparral High School) joined the ABC15 team in 2014 as a weekend anchor and multimedia journalist. Lerner has received several broadcast journalism awards and nominations throughout her career. When not at the anchor desk, this doting wife and mom loves spending time with family, watching and playing sports, cheering for her Fighting Irish of Notre Dame and giving back to the community. abc15.com.

Danielle Lerner

Best Local Radio Talk Show or DJ: Afternoon Drive , James Rivas Jr., 101.1 The Beat

Though James Rivas Jr. has only been on the airwaves for two years, he certainly isn’t new to the Valley, as he was born and raised in Phoenix. DJing is in his blood; his father is the famed Manic Hispanic, who Rivas grew up watching in the studio. Music fans can catch Rivas from 3 to 7 p.m. on 101.1 The Beat. azthebeat.com.

James Rivas

Best Evening Radio Talk Show or DJ: Natasha Castles, LIVE 101.5

Natasha Castles (a k a the Executive Unicorn) can be heard hosting “The Castles Show” weekdays from 2 to 7 p.m. on Live 101.5. Plus, she shares her passion for music and new artists every Sunday with shows like “The Roosevelt Tape” from 9 to 11 p.m., also on Live 101.5. During her time away from the airwaves, she loves traveling and getting creative; during the holiday season, you can catch her making candles in order to raise awareness for her annual charity gala, From Castles, With Love. live1015phoenix.radio.com.

Natasha Castles

Best Midday Radio Talk Show or DJ: Lady Stephanie, 101.1 The Beat

Lady Stephanie got her start in radio 20 years ago in San Francisco and started working with 101.1 The Beat in 2011. Listeners tune in for Lady Stephanie’s dose of sarcastic wit and banter weekdays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. When not at work, you can usually find her at home binge-watching shows with her cats and hedgehog or out with friends trying new places to eat, hitting the bar scene or catching a movie. azthebeat.com.

Best Morning Radio Talk Show or DJ: Johnjay & Rich, 104.7 KISS

Johnjay and Rich have been longtime fixtures on the Phoenix airwaves. Every weekday morning, the duo, alongside Kyle and Suzette, entertain listeners with celebrity news, Second Date Update, simply hilarious recaps of the day before and more. Johnjay and Rich are also the founders of the #LoveUp Foundation, which aims to spread love and kindness throughout the community to support children living within the foster care system. johnjayandrich.iheart.com; loveupfoundation.org. 

Johnjay & Rich

Best Traffic Personality: Heidi Goitia, CBS 5

You can thank Heidi Goitia for getting you to work on time each day as the traffic reporter on CBS 5 This Morning; Goitia was also promoted to co-anchor of the show in the fall. The busy mom of three and lover of the great outdoors is an Arizona native who was born and raised in Flagstaff. azfamily.com.

Favorite Anchor Team: Olivia Fierro, Gina Maravilla, Scott Pasmore, Tess Rafols, Javier Soto and April Warnecke, 3TV

Locals turn to the highly rated, award-winning Good Morning Arizona every weekday morning from 4:30 to 10 a.m. for their day’s news, weather and traffic reports. Olivia Fierro, Gina Maravilla, Scott Pasmore, Tess Rafols, Javier Soto and April Warnecke strive to spotlight all the wonderful people and places that make Arizona home. Recently, they have garnered high praise for the “Surprise Squad,” a community-based franchise to help people who are struggling. azfamily.com.

Olivia Fierro, Gina Maravilla, Scott Pasmore, Tess Rafols, Javier Soto and April Warnecke

Favorite Local Web Site: dealsinaz.com

From Disneyland discounts to grocery store bargains, Alicia Markham, of Alicia’s Deals, finds the best deals around to help Valley families “live life better for less.” Markham is a regular on Your Life Arizona and is Good Morning Arizona’s Deals Diva. A recent look at her popular site unveiled deals on Spring Training tickets and a hugely discounted special on Fire TV’s.

Alicia Markham

Favorite Meteorologist or Weather Personality: Kristy Siefkin, FOX 10

Kristy Siefkin is an Emmy-nominated reporter and evening weather anchor for Fox 10 News. Though she is adored as a weather personality, she has also shared compelling news stories with her audience, whether it be a political debate or an environmental concern. Siefkin recently returned from a safari in Africa and is currently planning a trip to see the Northern Lights. When not traveling or in the news room, she volunteers with several charities, like Arizona Animal Welfare League, Save the Family and Maricopa Health Foundation, as an event emcee. fox10phoenix.com; kristysiefkin.com.

Kristy Siefkin

Favorite Sportscaster: Joe Pequeno, CBS 5

Joe Pequeno is an award-winning sports anchor and reporter who wanted to be a sportscaster since childhood. He has worked all throughout the country—including El Paso, Tampa and Little Rock—before heading to Phoenix. This comic-book enthusiast and dad enjoys time at the beach when not recapping the day’s games. azfamily.com.

Favorite Male TV Personality – Afternoon or Evening News: Craig Fouhy, ABC15

Craig Fouhy gives Valley sports fans his unique coach’s perspective when reporting on the day’s biggest games; he spent 18 years coaching college and high school football, after all. The sports director and sports anchor is known for his honesty during his popular “Fouhy on Sports” and “In the Ring” segments. From 9 to 10 a.m. on weekdays, fans can also catch Fouhy in a different format as he hosts radio show, “Fouhy on the Fanatic,” on 1580 AM/99.3 FM The Fanatic. abc15.com.

Craig Fouhy

Favorite Female TV Personality – Morning or Daytime and Most Fashionable News Anchor: Kaley O’Kelley, ABC15

After leaving the Valley in 2015, Valley viewers were thrilled when Kaley O’Kelley returned to the local market last year. While her journalistic talent has earned her Emmy Awards, fans have noticed that O’Kelley also happens to be one of the most stylish news personalities, though she says she is most at home in jeans, a T-shirt and a ballcap. She is a big devotee of resale stores and clearance centers, noting that her favorite Ted Baker dress was found at My Sister’s Closet and she loves Adrianna Papell garb, which she scores for about $20 at Last Chance. abc15.com; kaleyokelley.com.

Kaley O’Kelley

Favorite Male TV Personality – Morning or Daytime: Javier Soto, 3TV

Good Morning Arizona anchor and reporter Javier Soto recalls covering National Memorial Service of Senator John McCain in Washington DC as a distinct career honor of the past year. Soto recently began anchoring the early edition of Good Morning Arizona so viewers can catch him every weekday morning bright and early from 4:30 to 6 a.m. azfamily.com.

Javier Soto

News Anchor of the Year: Steve Irvin, ABC15

After a long day at work, Steve Irvin welcomes locals home with the day’s news (he anchors ABC15 News at 6 and 10 p.m.) He joined ABC15 in 2002 but has about 30 years of experience in the industry. Irvin’s work has earned him numerous accolades, including four Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards. abc15.com.

Steve Irvin

Fast Faves

Best Country Radio Station: 102.5 KNIX, knixcountry.iheart.com.

Best Local News Web Site: azfamily.com.

Best News Station, Favorite Afternoon or Evening Show, Favorite Local Daytime Show and Favorite Nightly Newscast: ABC15, abc15.com.

Best Radio Station: 93.9 KWSS, kwss.org.

Best Rock Radio Station: 97.9 KUPD, 98kupd.com.

Best Talk News Radio Station: 550 KFYI, kfyi.iheart.com.

Best Today’s Hits Radio Station: 104.7 KISS, 1047kissfm.iheart.com.

Best Variety Station: 99.9 KEZ, kez999.iheart.com.

Favorite Local Morning Show: 3TV, azfamily.com.

Favorite Female TV Personality – Afternoon or Evening News: Stephanie Hockridge, formerly of ABC15

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