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Published: Wednesday, 8/19/2009

'Joe the Plumber' tries hand at radio

BY FLORENCE DETHY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Joe the Plumber, a fixture on the 2008 presidential campaign, made his Toledo radio debut last night.

As a special guest host on WSPD s Eye on Toledo program, Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher used his hour of air time to talk about the need for accountability in Washington, the ineffectiveness of excessively partisan politics, and how he has remained an ordinary Joe.

Just because I ve become Joe the Plumber, do not believe I ve become a millionaire, he impressed upon listeners as the hour came to a close.

Notoriety does not necessarily mean a big bank account the reason I m doing this is because I want my son to have the same opportunities I had.

Mr. Wurzelbacher opined on everything from the health-care debate to the Cash for Clunkers program and called on all Americans to get involved in the tea parties being held nationwide.

Obviously you re not going to take the congressmen out behind the woodshed and beat them up, but when is enough enough? How much control do you want to give the federal government? he asked.

Despite losing his train of thought a couple of times, Mr. Wurzelbacher, who had not previously hosted a radio show, was able to hold his own and engage his callers for the majority of the show.

To kick things off, he invited individuals to call in with their opinions about what members of Congress do best; he did not have to wait long to receive an answer: Congressmen look after themselves best, listener Mike responded.

And though the Republican icon might have been expected to levy the bulk of his barbs against the Democrats in power, he proved to be an equal-opportunity critic.

I am registered as a Republican, but that being said, I do not like where they re at; I don t like where they re going; I don t think they know where they re going, he said, taking issue with, among other things, the fact that he sees too many Republicans moving to the left.

Later on, he added that though the majority of his neighbors are Democrats, they agree with him on 99 percent of everything, and he charged that it is the mainstream media that keeps them at each other s throats.

When the conversation shifted to Lucas County and caller Mark from Toledo asked what Joe the Plumber believes residents can do to make Toledo better, the personality s response was brief: Embrace business.

Stop running them out of town, he said.

Mr. Wurzelbacher approached WSPD about doing the program a few weeks back.

WSPD producers said they were not worried that Mr. Wurzelbacher had no previous experience hosting a radio show and did not have any expectations about how things would go.

I don t think we need to worry too much. He s a well-spoken individual, said Andy Stuart, WSPD s vice president and market manager yesterday afternoon.

If it goes well, it ll be great and if it doesn t go well I won t worry about it.

Despite Mr. Wurzelbacher s notoriety, all of the evening s callers expressed favorable views of him.

I just have to say you re an inspiration, one caller said before commending him for being a common man with an intelligent opinion.

Mr. Wurzelbacher was thrust onto the national stage last October after he took then presidential candidate Barack Obama to task on his tax plan. He later gained attention for telling Christianity Today in an interview that he believes gays are queer and will not allow them near his children.

Until a few weeks ago, Eye on Toledo was hosted by Maggie Thurber; however, she no longer works at WSPD.

The hour-long program airs Monday through Friday beginning at 6 p.m.

Based upon how smoothly things went last night, the station may decide to make Mr. Wurzelbacher a permanent member of the conservative station s team.

There s a possibility radio and WSPD could be part of his future, Program Director Brian Wilson said.

Contact Florence Dethy at: fdethy@theblade.comor 419-724-6064.



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