READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: The folks at KGUN-TV Channel 9 are like those Spanish rebels who went up in the hills in the 1930s and stayed up there for four decades, waiting for Generalissimo Francisco Franco to die. When he finally did, they celebrated and said, "See, we knew if we just hung in there and waited, good things would happen." That had to have been the feeling when it was announced that KGUN-9 had actually beaten perennial ratings champion Channel 4 in a recent ratings book. Fronted by anchors Guy Atchley and Colleen Bagnell, KGUN 9 News appears to have a solid sense of what it is and what it wants to be. Like almost all local news in America, it's a bit too folksy for our taste, but we appreciate the enthusiasm with which they approach their jobs and look forward to the days when they turn their attention inward to the workings of local government.
LOOSE CHANGE: KUAT-TV Channel 6. Seen enough top stories about the fact that it's raining outside? For two decades, KUAT-TV's award-winning Arizona Illustrated has been bringing the best television journalism into Tucson living rooms. A half-hour newsmagazine that airs nightly at 6:30 and 11:30 on channel 6, Arizona Illustrated ignores the crime and car crashes in favor of in-depth reporting on politics, business, arts, culture and the environment. The top-notch staff, including anchor Bill Buckmaster, political specialist Peggy Johnson, and segment producers Ted Robbins, Celeste Gonzales and Pam White, regularly puts the superficial reporting of the mainstream media to shame. And remember: it's supported by viewers like you, so why not write a check during the next pledge drive?