Monday, July 15, 2013

The Things They Do To Tradio.

Half a century ago it was also the brand name of a coin-operated hotel radio.  Today Tradio  is a portmanteau of "trade" and "radio." That word describes the program format as well. People call in to the program offering to buy or sell items. I've encountered various programs over the years, usually in tertiary markets on AM stations with callers selling livestock, trailers, tires, waffle irons.. it's the flea market of broadcasting. The first Tradio program was supposedly started in 1950 by an appliance store owner in Seguin, TX buying airtime in 1580 KWED-AM. More here.

The name Tradio has been trademarked by Simply Local Broadcasting, owners of 106.3 WRIL in Pineville, KY. So other stations have turned to synonyms like Swap Shop, the Trading Post or the like. One notable major market outlet is Wheelin' and Dealin' with Dave Ramos on WTAM-AM in Cleveland, OH. KDKA-AM in Pittsburgh, PA airs Tradio from 4:00 -7:00 PM every Saturday. WCCO-AM in Minneapolis tried out The Great Garage sale in 2008. But typically these shows are found in small metros.

What makes the format more notable is that for years now it has been the comedic target of of the Howard Stern Show.
I have no idea how this started. But open phone lines and live radio have always been a target for cranks. In this case the culprits are often Stern staffers Richard Christy and Sal Governale, but just as often it's clearly a random fan. While they all also prank call weathermen, public tv outlets and other morning shows there's something kind of wrong about pranking these more hapless, small-market Tradio programs and those in particular seem a tad more worthy of our sympathy.