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In the Spotlight

Al Eschbach and Jim Traber



They’re the self-described Odd Couple of sports and the epitome of a love-hate relationship – as much with each other as with their listeners every weekday afternoon and game days on WWLS Radio, The Sports Animal.

On the air, sports talk veterans Al Eschbach and Jim Traber routinely deflect sometimes-crazy, always-opinionated callers with the same insults they hurl at each other. “What do you mean you won’t eat any fruit with the word ‘berry’ in the name? That’s the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard,” Eschbach says.

“Don’t start with me, King of Midgets. Don’t start,” Traber retorts.

Off the air, they continue bickering like Archie and Edith for a few minutes before breaking into song. A Maureen McGovern song.

Mercifully, the mic was off.

How long have you been on the air together?

Traber: 17 years.

I’m amazed at these radio partnerships that last longer than a lot of marriages.

Eschbach: We’re more like The Odd Couple – total opposites.

Who’s Felix?

Eschbach: Traber’s Felix. I’m Oscar.

You’ve both got those “land of the pushy people” accents. Where did you guys grow up?

Traber: Columbia, Maryland. Eschbach: Jersey City.

I know about Traber’s OSU football and baseball. What brought you to Oklahoma, Oscar – I mean, Al?

Eschbach: I’d read that OU was one of the Top 10 Party Schools in the U.S.

Nice. What was your second-best subject?

Eschbach: History. I did well in history, but I was a terrible student. Second from the bottom of my class, thanks mostly to Latin.

At least Latin shows up in life at some point.

Eschbach: Oh, and I hated geology so much, I took geology three times. Right before graduation at OU, I found out I’d failed geology – AGAIN – and I wasn’t getting my diploma. But my parents were flying to Oklahoma for graduation! I talked OU into letting me dress for graduation, but I had to take geology again to get my diploma.

So the whole graduation was a sham?

Eschbach: To their dying day, my parents never knew.

How many grade school years did you spend sitting in the hall?

Traber: All of them. I was loud and I liked to talk. I lived across from the school, so usually, the teachers just sent me home.
Eschbach: I was still a good kid in grade school. It wasn’t until Seton Hall Prep that I got suspended for forging the priest’s signature on something.

Let’s see if I got all that. Fake graduation, check. Forgery, check. Crime against a man of the cloth, check.

 

What character trait(s) would you gladly give up?

Traber: I’m horribly impatient. I can’t stand to wait on anything.
Eschbach: None.

Which trait is one of your best?

Traber: I have a big heart. I like to take care of the people around me.
Eschbach: I’m a nice person.

Except you hang up on people, right after you call them idiots.

Eschbach: OK. I’m nice to normal people.

Any recurring dreams?

Traber: God, yes. There are snakes all over the bedroom floor, and I can’t get out of bed.
Eschbach: Yeah. I dream I didn’t really graduate from college.

How perfectly karmic. Al, Traber tells me you’re great at music trivia.

Traber: He can tell you who sang anything. I can sing all the words, but I can’t tell you who did the song.

“There’s Got to Be a Morning After...”

Eschbach: Maureen McGovern.
Traber: (breaks into song) “…if we can hold on through the night. We have a chance to find the sunshine …” That was from “The Poseidon Adventure,” wasn’t it? Yeah, with ol’ what’s his name? He just died.
Eschbach: Ernest Borgnine.

What can you count on Traber to do?

Eschbach: Get mad.
Traber: People need to understand that I might get worked up, but I don’t take that home.

Ginger or Mary Ann?

Traber: Mary Ann.
Eschbach: Both.

We talk about game day rituals in this issue. What kind of OU/Texas ritual do you guys observe every year?

Traber: We drive to the Cotton Bowl and every year we get off at the wrong exit and end up getting lost.
Eschbach: The ritual used to be ‘don’t get arrested the night before,’ but now I just concentrate on not getting killed while Jim’s driving me to the Cotton Bowl and going “psycho city” behind the wheel when he misses that exit.
Traber: The ritual you need is to take that Exit 51 on I-35 and go to the Fried Pies place. My God, those are incredible.

What’s not all it’s cracked up to be?

Eschbach: Nothing is all it’s cracked up to be, but I’ve got no complaints. No one would listen anyway.   

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Calendar

April 2019

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
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Celebrate Easter with a trip to Andy Alligator’s Fun Park! On Saturday and Sunday, get $5 off an All-Day Pass with our Eggcellent Easter Special. All-Day Passes include Go-Karts,...

Cost: $23.95

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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
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Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

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Cost: Free

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1 NE 3rd st
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Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

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The OSU Symphony Orchestra will conclude the 2018-19 season with Schubert's monumental and majestic Symphony No. 9 in C ("The Great"). The concert opens with The European Anthem,...

Cost: General Admission: $10; Students & Seniors: $7

Where:
Oklahoma State University Department of Music
132 Seretean Ctr
Stillwater, OK  74078
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Sponsor: Oklahoma State University Department of Music
Telephone: 405.744.6133
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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

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Potbelly Sandwich Shop is giving back to the local neighborhood with Feed Your Smile, a fundraiser supporting Concordia Life Care Community.  Show this flyer on your smartphone or...

Cost: Free

Where:
Potbelly Sandwich Shop
8500 N Rockwell Ave
OKC, OK  73132
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Sponsor: Potbelly Sandwich Shop
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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
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RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Individual Artists of Oklahoma
706 W. Sheridan Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Individual Artists of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.412.2541
Contact Name: David Smith

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Shop over 200 vendors at this indoor event with everything from vintage furniture, retro and mid-century decor to handmade goods, antiques, industrial finds and architectural salvage!

Cost: $5 at the door, 13 and under free

Where:
Heritage Place
2829 S. MacArthur
Oklahoma City, OK  73128
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Sponsor: Junk Hippy
Contact Name: Kristen Grandi
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A Sporting Chance will host the 25th annual Track and Field Meet at Branson Junior High in Branson, Missouri. A Sporting Chance provides year-round sports and recreation programs designed for those...

Where:
Branson Junior High
263 Buccaneer Boulevard
Branson, MO  65616
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Sponsor: A Sporting Chance
Telephone: 404-314-2188
Contact Name: Hannah Schachinger

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RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Delta Dental

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This one-day festival is rooted in the printing of large-scale woodblocks carved by local Oklahoma artists. We bring in a 5-ton steamroller and print pre-carved blocks throughout the day on Tyvek...

Cost: Free

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Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
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Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Contact Name: Evan
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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Andy Alligator's is celebrating teachers! On Saturday and Sunday, teachers with a valid ID will receive a FREE All-Day Pass and $5 off for each family member! An All-Day Pass includes...

Cost: Teachers receive a FREE All-Day Pass; family members get $5 off

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Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Pl
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America’s largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: $59.95

Where:
The Skirvin Hilton
1 Park Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
Telephone: 866.496.0535
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Get a sample of the nightlife of Spain at Tulsa Botanic Garden's "Viva La Vida." The Garden is bringing star chef Jamie Bissonnette (Toro restaurants in Boston, NYC, Bangkok and...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Dr
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
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Cost: Free, contests have entry fee

Where:
Fassler Hall
421 NW 10th
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Sponsor: Revolve Productions
Telephone: 405.810.6977
Contact Name: Tobi Coleman
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