Best Radio Host (2011)

Brian Lehrer

The only kind thing to be said about sports-talk callers—"not for nothing, Mike, but if I was making $6 million a year I'd hustle down the first baseline"—is that they're not as terrible as sports-talk hosts (excluding the great Steve Somers), perhaps because they get cut off after a few minutes instead of having to fill hours of airtime with their addled "ideas." The only kind thing to be said about sports-talk-radio hosts is that they're less offensive than political-talk-radio hosts, if only because the stakes are so much lower that their stupidity is less consequential. And political-talk-radio hosts at least share the aggrieved tone of their sports-talk kin, which puts them both up on the toneless dullness of public-radio hosts, lulled into deep self-satisfaction by their own voices and affect. Brian Lehrer would be a hell of a radio man if the bar was set much higher, but given the alternatives, his smart topics, deep knowledge of New York (among many other topics), willingness to ask simple and direct questions and to listen to the answers makes him the city's indispensable moderator. WNYC 93.9 FM and 820 AM 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday