A Flood of Tuesday Items

Items have been piling up over the Labor Day holiday weekend like cars stuck in a traffic jam to get home from a holiday trip…

JIMBO AGAIN: At this rate, we ought to consider splitting off another secondary blog dedicated to former Mahoning Valley congressman/ex-con Jim Traficant.

Anyone who’s even remotely followed Traficant in the Youngstown area or in Washington knew that the bombastic former lawmaker couldn’t stay quiet for long, after his release from a federal prison medical facility in Minnesota last week.

But his first media appearance was a surprise to even us.

Did Traficant take to one of the Sunday TV talk shows to “resurface” after becoming a free man? Nope.

Did he choose the program of Fox News Channel host Greta Van Susteren, an old TV friend who talked to Traficant frequently before he was sent to prison on bribery and racketeering charges? Not yet. He will do so this Friday.

Fox News/Citadel/Premiere host Sean Hannity has talked to Traficant in the past. Did the ex-congressman appear on Hannity’s TV or radio shows? Nope.

Perhaps his first words would be with Clear Channel talk WKBN/570 hosts Dan Rivers, Ron Verb or Robert Mangino? Close, but not quite.

Traficant broke his post-prison-release silence on WKBN, alright, the station where many think he’ll be a future host.

But his Saturday morning phone call was not to the station’s big names. It was to Dennis Malloy, a long-time friend and host of WKBN’s Saturday morning “Outdoor Icon” outdoors-themed talk show.

Where…the former congressman talked a lot about turkey hunting. It’s that activity which forged his friendship with Malloy, who still supports Traficant today. The former lawmaker noted that due to his legal situation, he’s not allowed to carry guns to hunt these days.

The Youngstown Vindicator and Warren Tribune-Chronicle have more on the impromptu call.

And wasting no time, WKBN itself has audio from the call on its website. (Warning: Embedded Clear Channel audio player ahead.)

As we said, Traficant mainly talked hunting with Malloy. He talked very little about radio, though he did have good words for WKBN’s Rivers and Verb, and said he was going to “do some turkey hunting without a gun”…the “turkeys” presumably being his detractors, and the weapon of choice a powerful one – Traficant’s own mouth.

If the ex-con-ex-congressman is readying to move into radio as a talk show host, he isn’t saying so in public…yet. But we at least expect to hear him as an in-studio guest on one or more WKBN shows in the near term.

Many of Traficant’s diehard supporters aren’t talking about a future radio talk show for their man…but want him to run again for his old seat in Congress, occupied for some time now by one-time former Traficant staffer Tim Ryan.

The polarizing personality continues to draw jeers from those against him, who insist that the Valley has “moved on”, and want him to spend a quiet retirement out of the spotlight.

That feeling, shared by much of Official Youngstown, is expressed rather well by Friend of OMW Andrea Wood of the Youngstown Business Journal, in a column posted to her publication’s site this morning.

Jim Traficant and the spotlight are more natural partners than peanut butter and jelly. As if anyone doubted, Traficant made a fiery appearance at a “Welcome Home” event Sunday afternoon. How could he resist showing up at a banquet hall where 1,200 people paid $20 to show their support for him?

The WKBN/570 news page has more:

He slammed the FBI and IRS, saying the government had to cheat to convict him. He says he’s getting “right back into it”, indicating he’ll have an announcement on the Greta Van Susteren show on Fox News Channel Friday night.

Whatever the former congressman does, be it either talk radio or politics, the phrase “shy and retiring” doesn’t seem to be a likely description of his future behavior.. .

WAKR CHANGES: Rubber City Radio oldies/news WAKR/1590 Akron is adding a little more “news” to that format description.

Starting today, the station’s “Ray Horner Morning Show” spreads out to a new time slot – 6 to 10 AM weekday mornings.

The morning news and information program will use the expanded 9 AM hour primarily for more long-form interviews and discussion in a less “compacted” space, with more time due to less service elements (i.e. no traffic, etc.).

Today’s extra hour started off with a full hour interview with former Stark County congressman Ralph Regula, who weighed in on any number of current “hot button” topics in Washington and in his former district – such as health care, education and alternative energy.

The move of Horner’s show to 6-10 AM means WAKR has made some other adjustments on each side of the morning schedule.

With the show’s start moving from 5:30 AM, the station now airs the full hour of the Westwood One-syndicated news magazine “America in the Morning” with Jim Bohannon from 5 to 6 AM, with local news updates still in place. (This reminds us, oddly enough, that Bohannon’s late night talk show on Westwood One airs over on Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron”, 11 PM-1 AM weeknights.)

At the other end of Horner’s new schedule, WAKR program director/Rubber City operations manager/OMW reader Chuck Collins’ midday oldies show now starts at 10 AM.

Elsewhere on West Market, the station returns the Monday night hour-long sports talk show “Three and Out” with former Browns player Frank Stams…which airs at 6 PM during the football season.

WAKR is also airing more programming from the Ohio State University’s radio network, as the Buckeyes are in full swing for football season.

That includes a live broadcast of the network’s “Jim Tressel Show” Thursdays at 12:05 PM, and some carriage of the Monday night “Buckeye Roundtable” show – depending on Indians baseball coverage, and the aforementioned “Three and Out” show…

ON THE HD3 SIDE: At the OMW World Headquarters ™, we now have our second HD Radio, thanks to the generosity of others.

This loaner unit from a Friend of OMW is one of the hard-to-find Insignia portable units, which are supposed to be available at Best Buy locations…but have been out of stock for at least a month or two.

The radio is priced at just under $50.

We’ll save a review of the Insignia HD portable radio for later. But it’s allowed us, while on the road, to check out what area stations are doing on their HD2 and HD3 subchannels.

And it uncovered a recent arrangement we did not know existed.

When tuning into the digital signal of Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting smooth jazz outlet WNWV/107.3 Elyria, we found something odd on WNWV-HD3…programming from Kent State University-owned outlet WKSU/89.7, in specific, WKSU’s own HD3 subchannel dedicated solely to classical music.

We were so thrown by the pickup, we thought it was a digital fluke/anomaly caused by the radio. But no, it’s for real…from WKSU’s HD Radio FAQ:

Additionally, WKSU Classical can also be heard at 107.3 on WNWV-HD 3 in Elyria.

We don’t know the details of the arrangement, or why WKSU felt the need to expand its classical music wings to the HD3 channel of a commercial station.

We haven’t been able to do an “A/B” test. The Accurian HD Radio unit we got on sale a couple of years ago is currently out of commission – our problem, not the radio’s problem. But it would appear the WKSU-HD3 and WNWV-HD3 feeds are not 100 percent in sync. We don’t know how the folks in Kent are feeding Elyria.

While doing our dial scans recently, we noticed that WNWV has also changed its HD2 in-house feed, which used to feature traditional jazz. The new format is an eclectic mix of music we’re still trying to describe, though there’s some AAA rock in there…

SPEAKING OF WKSU, “NOT MUCH”: Fans of public radio weekend host Michael Feldman will be able to catch up with him. and his show, in Northeast Ohio next weekend.

The host of “Whad’Ya Know” is bringing his show to Wooster, in an appearance sponsored by the folks at WKSU, on Saturday, September 12th:

On Saturday, Sept. 12 Michael Feldman brings the “Whad’Ya Know?” to Wooster for a live broadcast from the intimate McGaw Chapel on the campus of the College of Wooster. This show will bring all of the spontaneous fun of a taping in Madison to Northeast Ohio with a regional twist.

The $40 tickets are only available through WKSU, and can be ordered at the page linked above.

“Whad’Ya Know” is based at Wisconsin Public Radio in that state’s capital of Madison, but makes frequent trips around the country for live events.

This isn’t the first time Feldman has done the show from Northeast Ohio…”WYK” did a broadcast from Canton’s Palace Theatre not that long ago, and has also made Cleveland-area stops.

And fans of “WYK” know that our heading wasn’t a dismissive statement towards either the show or local affiliate WKSU.

“Not much” is the show’s stock comedic answer to the question its name raises, and the show’s official website is located at, you guessed it, “NotMuch.com“…

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