Winner: Tennessee School of Beauty
Teachers can make or break a learning environment, so hearing students praise their teachers at the Tennessee School of Beauty shows what their learning environment is like. And that also translates to happy clients who come in for some styling. Being a beauty school means their prices are great on your wallet, but their level of professionalism makes you feel at ease. (Jordan Achs)

Runners Up: Master Academy of Barbering, Sweetwater Institute of Cosmetology

eduandmedia_riversong_01.32-1Tricia Bateman
Winner: Riversong Dance Studio
Dance students can range from those who want to one day be professional ballerinas to those who just want to dance. And both of those are the exact students Riversong Dance Studio aims to teach. The studio is known for its kind, patient instructors while obtaining the right amount of discipline in order to learn the art of dance—and what else could you really ask for? (Marina Waters)

Runners Up: Angela Floyd Dance Studio, Dancers Studio, Studio Arts for Dancers

Winner: The Joy of Music School
This is no ordinary music school. The Joy of Music School doesn’t just teach children how to play instruments—it changes lives. Founded in 1997 by famed local broadcaster James Dick, the school’s mission is to bring music education to underprivileged kids whose families can’t otherwise afford lessons or instruments. Through fund-raising concerts, donated instruments, and lots of volunteer teachers from Knoxville’s music community, it makes a critical difference in the lives of kids who need it most. (Coury Turczyn)

Runners Up: Knoxville Academy of Music, Open Chord School of Music, University of Tennessee School of Music

Winner: Webb School of Knoxville
Webb School is 60 years old this year. It was once spare and Spartan, pun intended. But now the only independent K-12 private school in the Knoxville area looks like a small private college, an interesting concentration of buildings on a hillside just west of Cedar Bluff. It looks pretty, and it doesn’t hurt a school’s reputation when one of your alumni is the governor of the state and another is chief justice of the state supreme court—quite an accomplishment for a school with under 1,000 students. Never mind that another Webb alum is former Jets and Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington. (Jack Neely)

Runners Up: Christian Academy of Knoxville, The Episcopal School of Knoxville, Knoxville Catholic High School

Winner: Hallerin Hilton Hill, The Triple H Morning Show, WOKI
Hollerin’ Hallerin Hill he’s not. Triple H plays it ridiculously cool on WOKI’s morning drive-time interview and call-in show. He’s noted for his almost superhuman equilibrium on the air, and his down-home approach to politics, even if his callers aren’t. The show skews decidedly to the right, but it’s often an essential listen, as recent interviews with power players like Mayor Madeline Rogero, Tennessee Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Randy Boyd, Sen. Bob Corker, and Gov. Bill Haslam all indicate. (Matthew Everett)

Runners Up: Chance Collins (aka DJ 1Chance, The Elevation Suite, WUTK), Damian Messer (The Marble City Radio Company, WUTK), Derek Senter & Rob Levering (The Funhouse, WUTK)

WUTK DJs cram into the college radio’s small studio space on National College Radio Day, Fri., Oct. 2, 2015. Photo by Clay Duda.Clay Duda
Winner: WUTK 90.3, The Rock
It would be enough if WUTK was “only” teaching UT students the ropes of broadcasting, the original free music media. But the station goes far beyond its educational role to inject Knoxville’s airwaves with something we desperately need: new music, fresh ideas, local personalities. It demonstrates the huge difference between programming devised in some far-off city by a national company and shows produced by local people who are guided by their own tastes in music and entertainment. One adds to Knoxville’s quality of life, the other is quickly forgotten. (C.T.)

Runners Up: WDVX, WIVK, WUOT


Winner: Pellissippi State Community College
There are probably a couple thousand community colleges in America, but when President Obama needed one as a platform for a major policy statement about public education, he chose Pellissippi State. With four campuses in Knoxville and one in Blount County, Pellissippi offers a wide variety of course options. Celebrating its 40th anniversary last year, PSCC has more than 10,000 students, second only to UT as the biggest post-secondary institution in town, making it the largest community college in Tennessee. (J.N.)

Top Small College or University Runners Up: Carson-Newman University, Maryville College, South College
Top Technical/Business School Runners Up: South College, Tennessee College of Applied Technology, Tennessee Technology Center

Winner: Robin Wilhoit – WBIR
Usually, with news anchors, station managers have to make a choice between perky and smart. Robin Wilhoit somehow handles both, and can also be earnest and convincingly serious when she needs to be. Life’s not always cute and silly, and sometimes we do need to pay attention. (J.N.)

Runners Up: Russell Biven (WBIR), Abby Ham (WBIR), Tearsa Smith (WATE)

Winner: WBIR
Founded in 1956, WBIR is not Knoxville’s oldest television station, but it seems as if it should be. The region’s biggest TV station has built a reputation with extraordinary phenomena like the Heartland Series, the long-running cultural survey disguised as entertainment. A phenomenon of national significance, it has few parallels in other markets. It’s been out of production for six years now, but remains a signature part of the station, whose motto is still “Straight from the Heart.” Bill Williams, Knoxville’s Cronkite, retired 15 years ago, but still appears in the wings, sometimes on camera, blessing WBIR’s work like a grandfatherly pope. Both WBIR institutions never quite left the building, and give the station a kind of gravitas—which combines with a slightly subversive postmodern fringe (“Live at Five at Four?”) Its personalities—Robin Wilhoit, John Becker, Russell Biven, Abby Ham, Todd Howell, Beth Haynes, Ed Rupp, et al.—may constitute most of the local broadcast names most Knoxvillians recognize. Moreover, WBIR has somehow spread its seed across Knoxville media, giving the whole region’s media landscape a kind of WBIR-ish tint. Bob Kesling, WBIR’s longtime sports anchor, is now recognizable across the state every fall Saturday as the Voice of the Vols. Gene Patterson, a WBIR reporter of yore, became WATE’s main anchor for many years, and now flaks for Oak Ridge. Ted Hall, for several years WBIR’s charismatic afternoon anchor, is now the energizing star at WVLT. (J.N.)

Runners Up: WATE, WKOP, WVLT