How good is Salt Lake area radio news coverage? Excellent, if you go by the results of the recent 2005 Edward R. Murrow Regional Awards.

The Salt Lake radio market claimed six of 11 possible awards in the "large-market" competition of "Region Three," an event that includes four other states — Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.

What's also surprising is the balance that Salt Lake displayed, since three local stations — KNRS (AM-570), KSL (AM-1160/FM-102.7) and KCPW (AM-1010, FM-88.3/105.3) all won awards.

It's easy to take local radio news for granted, but Salt Lake City is fortunate to be a radio market where overall competition is fierce and local news coverage has earned a high priority.

KSL won more than half of those six awards for its continuing coverage of the Lori Hacking case, overall excellence for its Web site and for the use of sound.

KCPW was honored for writing in its Aviana cholera reporting, and KNRS was recognized for its Hacking video-evidence reporting.

Other Salt Lake stations that offer steady local news coverage, which helps to keep everyone on their toes, are KUER (FM-90.1) and the new KFMS (FM-97.5).

(On the TV side, KSL/Ch. 5 won for overall excellence, but no other local TV stations were honored.)

The bad news in the Murrow Awards? That in the "small-market" competition, Flagstaff's KNAU completely dominated the event.

DR. LAURA IS COMING TO TOWN — If you are a fan of Dr. Laura Schlessinger, you'll want to catch her Salt Lake visit next month when she brings her one-woman show, "In My Never to Be Humble Opinion," to Kingsbury Hall on Saturday, Feb. 11, and Sunday, Feb. 12; ticket prices range from $20-$55 (581-7100 or www.kingsburyhall.org).

Part of the show will be localized, and presubmitted audience questions will be answered.

"Dr. Laura" airs weekdays, 1-4 p.m., on KNRS (AM-570).

RADIO HAPPENINGS — Rick Shane is back in the "country." This veteran DJ is now heard on KUBL (FM-93.3), Saturday nights, 6 p.m.-midnight. He is taking requests and talking to many listeners on the air. "In a way, you could say I am back to having a party on the air," Shane reports. He was a key element of the former KKAT country-music morning show.

KBYU (FM-89.1/89.5) will celebrate Mozart's 250th birthday on Jan. 27, 10 a.m.-10 p.m., with a complete day of special programming (www.classical89.

org for program schedule).

— If you didn't care for KODJ's upside-down billboards this past year, the station has much better signs this year. These billboards highlight lyrics of some of the great oldies songs and are simple yet eye-catching.

— "Biography for Radio" airs weekdays at 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on KDYL (AM-1060).

Gina Barberi of "The Radio From Hell" morning show on KXRK had a baby girl recently, weighing in at 7 pounds, 7 ounces.

KBEE (FM-98.7) is now touting a seven-songs-in-a-row slant.

TEN YEARS AGO IN SALT LAKE RADIO — Tom Bock is the new midday DJ on KBZN, "The Breeze," "Dale and Michelle" remain as the station's morning hosts. . . . KUBL program director John O'Rourke returns to Indiana and is replaced by Randy Rose. . . . KSFI leads the Arbitron ratings, with KSL second, KKAT third and KRSP fourth.


The Deseret Morning News and KSL (TV/Ch. 5 and Newsradio 1160) are involved in an ongoing news-gathering partnership.

E-mail: lynn@desnews.com