Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Jeff And Jimbo

Thus, marking the only time in history where these two men will be mentioned in the same breath...

JEFF THOMAS EXITS: OMW has confirmed that long-time Good Karma WKNR/850 sports update voice Jeff Thomas is no longer with the station. According to his WKNR bio, Jeff started being heard on the station in 1996.

Thomas' bio has now been removed from the WKNR "hosts" page, and station utility player/producer/Browns beat reporter Daryl Ruiter is doing the updates this morning.

OMW hears that WKNR expressed a wish to go in a "new direction", which of course in radio, means that direction is away from the previous host.

Of course, OMW readers know that Thomas doesn't actually work for Good Karma Broadcasting.

OMW hears from numerous sources that Jeff Thomas is actually still employed by Metro Networks, which provides sports update and traffic services to the Good Karma station.

But as far as we know, WKNR is Metro's only client that takes sports updates. (We believe what's left of Metro's Cleveland office is no longer providing updates to Main Line sports WING/1410 in Dayton, for example, and hasn't been for a few years now. And the company stopped doing sports for Salem talk WHK/1420 when Good Karma bought WKNR.)

Regular readers know we always considered Jeff Thomas an under-used player at the Galleria, even when he moved in-house when Metro's local studios closed late last year. Thus, we consider the move a bad one.

As we are writing this update just now, "Really Big Show" host Tony Rizzo has confirmed on the air - in a testy response to a caller - that Thomas is indeed "no longer with the station".

Rizzo told the caller that he doesn't know why Thomas is no longer on WKNR, and says it's difficult to work "without someone you've been working with for years". Later, peppered with calls and E-mails from listeners, Rizzo called Thomas a "pro's pro", and says he will be missed, directing callers' questions to WKNR program director Jason Gibbs...

OTHER WKNR STUFF: Our friends at CursedCleveland.com also report on their Twitter account that WKNR evening host Kenny Roda "has been suspended".

We don't have any more information than that.

And occasionally, we get a reminder that you can't rely too much on official station websites.

A WKNR staffer passes along that Jimmy Hanlin is indeed still heard on that station's weekend golf show with Greg Brinda, Saturdays from 7 AM-9 AM. That information is indeed reflected on the station's current weekday schedule.

In an earlier item, we said that Hanlin was "apparently no longer" hosting the Golf Show, since he was added to the website for Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100's similar program with Gary Trivisonno.

We said "apparently" because we hadn't actually listened to either show - we are most assuredly sleeping early Saturday morning. So, we appreciate the heads up.

The item was prompted by a listener question about the status of apparently (there's that word again) former WTAM golf show host Russ Jeske. We still don't have that answer...

JIMBO'S MOVE: "Jimbo", in this case is Northeast Ohio's most known Jimbo...former congressman-turned-ex-con Jim Traficant, who made his current political aspirations known officially on Tuesday.

The Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 Cleveland weekend host has always been able to play with the media, and he did so on Tuesday.

Traficant, as expected by many (including This Space), filed petitions to run as an independent in the 17th Ohio congressional district. The Man With The Toupee held that seat for many years, before being expelled from Congress and finding a new involuntary home in the federal prison system.

Traficant passed on running as a Democrat against former aide Tim Ryan, now the incumbent congressman in the reconstituted 17th - which now includes portions of Portage and Summit County. Back when Traficant ruled the 17th roost, it almost exclusively covered the Mahoning Valley.

After filing for the 17th district, the WTAM Saturday host told reporters he was headed for Columbiana County, where he was asked if he would also file petitions to run in the 6th congressional district. That district, now represented by Charlie Wilson, covers the southern reaches of the old 17th district.

As it turns out, Traficant was a no-show in Columbiana County, and will only run in the 17th.

The Youngstown Vindicator reports that Traficant apparently had decided to run in both districts, but received what later turned out to be "incorrect information" from local elections officials that he could not do so.

But yes, the Vindicator reports that Traficant was indeed having fun with reporters following his every move on Tuesday:

When asked at the Trumbull elections board if he was filing for the 6th District, Traficant said, “You never know with me. I might file in West Virginia.”

Federal law requires Traficant to be a West Virginia resident in order to file in that state.

As for his WTAM show, Traficant spokesman Dennis Malloy tells the Plain Dealer that indeed, the ex-congressman-ex-con-new candidate is giving up the program - which he pretty much has to do due to election "equal time" laws. (We assume WTAM has no interest in giving 3 hours of weekend airtime to Tim Ryan or to the Republican candidate for the seat.)

As far as we know, the official filing means last Saturday's WTAM show was Traficant's last, and we know already that Jimbo has an "early out" clause in his contract with the Cleveland talker that allowed him to exit if he runs for office.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Sabrina Eaton reports that Traficant, of course, is not prohibited from appearing on WTAM as a newsmaker guest:

Since the beginning of this year, Traficant has hosted a radio talk show on WTAM in Cleveland. Malloy says Traficant is giving up the show because of his congressional run, but will be a guest (Monday) afternoon on Mike Trivisonno's WTAM show.

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