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Callers ring with praises for Traficant on the radio

Published: Tue, September 15, 2009 @ 12:05 a.m.


TRAFICANT ON THE AIR: Ex-U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. leaves the WKBN-AM radio studio in Boardman after hosting a show. Traficant took calls from 21 people, none of whom criticized him. Behind Traficant is Linda Kovachik, a longtime friend and former congressional staffer.

Not a single caller said anything negative about him during the show.

By David Skolnick

BOARDMAN — Ex-U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. took telephone call after telephone call praising him during a radio show he hosted on WKBN AM radio.

But the former congressman admitted during Monday’s show that “there’s a silent majority that doesn’t like” him.

That “majority” was certainly “silent” during Traficant’s two-hour guest-hosting duties. Traficant filled in for Dan Rivers, who is also the station’s operations manager.

Of the 21 calls Traficant took Monday, not even one had anything negative to say about him.

“I didn’t get one bad call,” Traficant said as he signed off. “I expected a couple of people to try to roast me.”

Traficant repeatedly said on air that he wasn’t screening callers.

He also refused to give out the station’s call-in telephone number, saying there already were far too many people waiting to speak to him.

Traficant, expelled from the House after more than 17 years as a congressman, was released Sept. 2 from federal prison after serving seven years and one month. Traficant was found guilty in April 2002 on 10 felony convictions including racketeering, bribery, obstruction of justice and tax evasion.

Since then, he’s been a guest on two national television shows, spoke at a TEA Party in Columbiana and addressed a crowd of about 1,200 at a dinner welcoming him home.

Traficant arrived at the WKBN studio at 9:40 a.m., 20 minutes before his show started Monday.

Bill Kelly, the head of Clear Channel Radio, Youngstown, refused to let a Vindicator reporter and photographer inside the station.

Kelly said WKBN-TV and WYTV-TV, the local CBS and ABC affiliates, respectively, who share their news operations, were the only media outlets allowed to watch Traficant host the two-hour show.

A reporter and cameraman for the stations were permitted inside.

The stations are our “promotional partners” was the reason Kelly said all other media wasn’t permitted inside the Clear Channel building.

During his broadcast, Traficant said he doesn’t buy The Vindicator because it is “too negative at times.”

“We don’t buy the local Youngstown paper,” he said. “It’s my little objection.”

But it’s apparent that Traficant reads the newspaper online at Vindy.com.

Traficant told a caller who objected to some of the newspaper’s coverage, “You really don’t have to spend the money” to buy the paper, because you can read it online.

Before and after his broadcast, Traficant declined to talk to a Vindicator reporter.

His only comment as he left was: “How the hell can some of these big newspapers fail and you guys are still in business?”

Traficant ignored an offer to have an unedited question-and-answer interview with the newspaper. On the air, one caller attempted to get Traficant to criticize U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, who succeeded him in Congress.

But Traficant wouldn’t bite.

“He learned more from me than he’d like to admit, and he emulates me more than he’d like to admit,” he said of Ryan, a former Traficant staffer.

Earlier in the day, Traficant appeared on CNN’s “American Morning” program.

Some highlights:

UOn his incarceration in which he served much of his time at a medical facility in Rochester, Minn.: “They said I had a medical problem,” he told CNN’s John Roberts, because “I wouldn’t take the medication” saying he didn’t trust prison officials.

He added on WKBN that “deep down, the government wanted me to get hurt” in prison.

UOn whether he will run for Congress: “I am not sure at this point,” he said, noting, “the only way I can get back at the Justice Department is to get back into Congress.”

He repeated that on WKBN.

UOn fighting for Delphi salaried workers’ benefits: “If we can take care of people all over the world, we can take care of the people back here.”

Traficant said on WKBN that the “noise” he’s making about Delphi will end up increasing the amount of federal funds coming to the Mahoning Valley.

He said talk of his potential congressional run will scare politicians in Washington enough to provide money for the Valley.

Traficant also claimed that the Justice Department “burned boxes and boxes” of evidence that would have proved his innocence.

Before his federal trial in 2002, the U.S. Attorney’s office provided Traficant with 37 boxes of evidence. After being found guilty, Traficant acknowledged he never opened even one of the boxes.



1UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Welcome home Jimbo. The valley needs you now more then ever. Please, please run for Ryan's congressional seat in 2010.

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2Tugboat(759 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

This article reports that "Traficant was found guilty in April 2002 on 10 felony convictions including racketeering, bribery, obstruction of justice and tax evasion."

Like we have forgotten already? Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say? STOP stalking and reporting on Traficant and, voila, he goes away!!!

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3Max(98 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Jimbo's uneducated? Apparently, YOU are the uneducated one. Jim has not one, but TWO Master's Degrees. Get a clue before you speak.

(P.S. - Is that you, Bertram?!)

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4rocky14(830 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Is Jimbo paranoid or what?? Send him back to the nut house.

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5eagleeyed(1 comment)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Well, pengy, he did win the first time he represented himself. Also, he says that he knew he was going to lose...he was able to get more media attention representing himself. Where's Richard Detore these days? :)

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6rocky14(830 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

I know one thing----Jimbo doesn't have a degree in Law !!!

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7dees2cents(38 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

I,for one,am glad that Jim Traficant is back, I say go for it Jim.......I will support you!

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8rocky14(830 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

ProAmerican--you were against the Vietnam War???
I never thought you would meet a war that you didn't like.

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9AKAFR1(322 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

During his radio show, he said he did not have to give out the phone numbers because the phones were full. Sounds like he planted the phone calls.

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10rocky14(830 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

I served during the Vietnam War---but I was against it.
I was also against the Iraq War.
Why? Because both of them were fought on lies.
I agree---the border guards were framed by Bush's Justice Dept.

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11Jim56(1 comment)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Jim Traficant has said that Israel has a powerful stranglehold on the American government and media. I agree. This would make Traficant a target of Israel. It is well known that the Israeli Mossad spends huge amounts of money on bloggers who attack people whom Israel perceives to be its enemies. This could explain the negative comments he is getting in these posts. Of course, they can't stand debate, so they didn't call him during the radio show. They would have been exposed for what they are.

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12rocky14(830 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

When people say we can't legislate morality---I think they mean sexual morality.
In other words---stay out of our bedrooms.

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132cents(18 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Jimbo 2012...please run!! you're the only politician who can help Youngstown and the surrounding areas. i guess the critics on this discussion don't know how to make a phone call - otherwise they clearly could've voiced their "hate" !! like it or not people Jim Traficant is back and he is more supported in the Valley than EVER !!!

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14boardmanneedschange(364 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

I love that the vindicator writes so many stories regarding Mr. Traficant. I think that they are the only media source that he won't speak with, yet they seem to write the most stories about the man. I hope he runs and wins, because I for one believe that perhaps Mr. Traficant wants to get back into politics for the right reasons. It's time for America to wake up!!! Common sense has long been gone from our government system and I believe this is the man who can bring a little back to life. I stand behind this man 100% and should he run, he gets my support.

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15dees2cents(38 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Jim Traficant stated that he was in the ward because he would not take his medication.
I would not have taken them either, they were probably hoping they could turn his brain to mush, or brain wash him or even kill him. They would do anything to keep him quiet.
I truly believe that they thought Jim would not make it out alive. Shame on them!!

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16oldman724(3 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

ProAmerican,youkeepsaying"let Traficant PROVE his innocense".What gives? I always thought it was the other way around.The government didn't prove anything and that = RAILROADING!!

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17Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Prove his innocence. Try this. The man sat in jail for almost 8 years. He was given an out for a possible pardon and a further reduction in jail time for a simple admission of guilt. What kind of person would choose to sit in prison for 8 years instead of simply admitting they were guilty for a chance to get out a hell of a lot sooner or with a pardon? You'd have to be completely insane if you were going to do it out of spite or you are innocent. I doubt anyone on these boards would choose to stay in prison a day longer than necessary, even if it meant admitting guilt to something you were innocent for.

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18SickofJimbo(140 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

I couldn't have said it better
"You'd have to be completely insane if you were going to do it (sit in prison for 8 yrs) out of spite"
Jimbo is all three Guilty, Insane and Stupid.
Sometimes a PIG is just a PIG>

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19planforthebest(53 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Unbelievable! How could he have organized his friends so well that no one else could even get through to the program?

The thought of him running for anything at all sends shivers of horror down my spine. And if he were elected? No corporation in the world would bring jobs to a place so filled with idiots who would vote for a do-nothing politician who did 8 years for a felony.

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201Marine(29 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

And we wonder what is wrong with America? Shame on any and all who support this convicted felon. Boo hoo poor JIMBO!!!

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21Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

"Bill Kelly, the head of Clear Channel Radio, Youngstown, refused to let a Vindicator reporter and photographer inside the station."

The only bad publicity is no publicity .

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