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Published: Tuesday, 7/18/2006

Thurber takes a turn as talk host on WSPD


She broke for news and sports, got bullish with the stock report, even did her own weather. But after three hours of drive-time radio, Maggie Thurber says she's keeping her day job.

Ms. Thurber, a Republican Lucas County commissioner not seeking re-election this year, guest-hosted WSPD-AM's afternoon talk show yesterday. Except for a couple of script stumbles - such as how, precisely, to introduce the traffic guy - she breezed through segments on blogging, a proposed Toledo "point of sale" ordinance, flooding response, and nonprofit dental care.

She questioned whether there was sufficient public interest to merit her fellow commissioners' flirtation with a downtown Toledo sports arena and whether the county could afford to build one without raising taxes.

In a light moment, she complimented WSPD staff on her intro music. The tunes included snippets of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," which Ms. Thurber noted was named one of the top 50 rock songs for conservatives, and rapper Ice Cube's "It Was a Good Day" (sample lyric: "Even saw the lights of the Goodyear Blimp / And it read, 'Ice Cube's a Pimp.'‚óŹ"), which did not make the list.

With the two commission Democrats, Tina Skeldon Wozniak and Pete Gerken, on vacation and presumably out of reception range, Ms. Thurber basked in the glow of friendly callers. "You're a natural," one told her. "If you had your own show," another added, "I'd listen to you every day."

No one asked about Ms. Thurber's role as a so-called "conduit" for Maumee coin dealer Tom Noe. Ms. Thurber drew a $1,000 fine last month after pleading no contest to state ethics charges linked to taking money from Noe and giving it to President Bush's 2004 re-election campaign.

Ms. Thurber isn't the first local politician to embrace the airwaves. Mayor Carty Finkbeiner hosted a weekly Team Toledo program in his first term. U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) once broadcast a nationally syndicated show from her attic.

Though she said she was "having a great time doing this," Ms. Thurber told listeners she'd finish her commission term before deciding what career - broadcast or otherwise - to pursue next. She said it was tough to juggle papers, producers, and on-air procedure.

"To be able to do this kind of show," Ms. Thurber said near the end of the third hour, "it gives you a new appreciation for what talk show hosts actually go through."

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