S.B. Columnist

Nick Welsh

Santa Barbara Independentindependent.com

“What does it mean to be named best columnist? Yet another reason why Starshine needs to come out of journalistic hibernation. Other than that, I’m the last tree standing in the forest,” writes Nick Welsh, the Independent’s Angry Poodle. “I have the coolest job in S.B. journalism. I get to let syllables collide and connect dots that may or may not be there. I am told the great, great Jean-Luc Godard once said, ‘Every story needs to have a beginning, middle, and end, though not necessarily in that order.’ I hadn’t heard that line until he died this week, but it pretty well explains the DNA of my columns. Since he’s dead, I’ll adopt it as my motto and credo. The Poodle happens like this: I sit down at the typewriter at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning. By 8 a.m., the Poodle is written and turned in for editing. A whole lot of fussing and fretting happens afterward. A whole lot happens the night before. On a good morning, lightning strikes, and the column has a life of its own. On a not-so-good day, I’m laying bricks. The good news is that readers allow me the license to go out on a limb and saw off the branch I’m sitting on. For that, I’m a very lucky man. Or dog.” 

Runner-Up: Matt Kettmann

Local Celebrity

Jeff Bridges


What do you want to say to those who voted for you? “It means a lot to me from my community, honoring me,” says Jeff Bridges, who has raised his family in Santa Barbara over the last 25 years. “I would like to tell all the people that voted for me thank you very much, and I sure appreciate it. It’s wonderful to be on the team with you guys to make our community all it can be. Santa Barbara is a wonderful example of how a community can function and radiate and make positive impacts not only in our town, but around the world. I’m so proud to be acknowledged in this way.” 

Runner-Up: John Palminteri

S.B. Instagram Follow • S.B. Twitter Follow

John Palminteri

@johnpalminterinews (Instagram), @JohnPalminteri (Twitter)

Illustration by Ben Ciccati

“As a reporter, I am often bursting with information and love to share it,” says John Palminteri. “Social media has some tremendous benefits and allows me to tap the words out at any hour, in any place. When I am posting in the middle of the night, I often think no one will react. Then I see comments and ‘likes’ coming through. Sometimes they say, ‘What are you doing up at this hour?’ It’s been my nature for my entire career to hustle and try to get as much out as I can to my radio, TV, and print audience. Often, these posts are part of my storytelling on the air job and in print, and I have great coworkers who put it all together, often with very challenging deadlines.”

Runner-Up (Instagram Follow): @sbgoodeats

Runner-Up (Twitter Follow): @EliasonMike

S.B. Radio Station

92.9 KJEE


What do you want to say to those who voted for you? “We have the most loyal and committed listeners in Santa Barbara and we try to thank them as often as possible,” says KJEE’s Stephen Meade. “People still tell us they were listening in April of 1994 when KJEE first signed on with a whole day of Beach Boys, followed by a day of Grateful Dead and then 24 hours of marching band music. Deciding what we play has always been a listener-driven process, and we couldn’t do it without their input. Thank you, KJEE fans, for voting us Best Radio Station in Santa Barbara — 28 years in, and it’s still a party high above the Goodwill building in Santa Barbara.”

Runner-Up: 99.9 KTYD

S.B.-Based Website


“We are absolutely thrilled to win best S.B.-based website,” says Emily Lee, Santa Barbara Independent Marketing and Promotions Manager. “Since launching our new website in 2018, we have worked to make improvements to become a true daily newspaper online. During the pandemic, many readers relied heavily on independent.com to get the latest news and to stay connected to the community. We are humbled to be a trusted source for the Santa Barbara community.” She adds a special thank-you to our readers. “We are always working to improve our website to make the user experience the best it can be. We are so thankful to everyone who reads independent.com, subscribes to independent.com, shares our stories, subscribes to our newsletters, advertises online and in print, and, of course, picks up our paper every Thursday.”

Runner-Up: Noozhawk.com

Our Executive Editor throws an issue of the Indy at our photographer, for stylistic purposes. | Credit: Ingrid Bostrom

See all of the winners in our “Best of Santa Barbara® 2022” cover here.