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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

November 2019

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Cost: $4-$6

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Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
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Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
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Cost: $4-$6

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Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
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Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

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Cost: $175 for the full term

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Cost: $4-$6

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Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

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Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
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Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
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Oklahoma City Community College Visual and Perform
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A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

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Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free!

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Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
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Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

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The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
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Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
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Cost: $27-$87

Where:
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Cost: Free!

Where:
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Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
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Cost: 0

Where:
Francis Tuttle
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Sponsor: VillagesOKC
Telephone: 405-990-6637
Contact Name: VillagesOKC

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Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
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Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
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Cost: 0

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Cost: $175 for the full term

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The Paramount Room
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Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

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Cost: Varies

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Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: $27-$87

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
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View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

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Cost: 40.00

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
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View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Rep
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

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Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
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View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

More information

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
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View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

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Cost: Varying

Where:
McKnight Center Performance Hall
419 S. Monroe
Stillwater, OK  74074
View map »

More information

Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: $27-$87

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Nominated for 8 Tony Awards A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 flashes forward 15 years form Henrik Ibsen's 1879 portrait of marriage as a women's prison, and my, how things have - and...

Cost: 40.00

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Rep
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

October 4-December 29, 2019 Misunderstood! features poems and artworks ranging from 1894 to 2017. As these works demonstrate, Native artists and writers have grappled with the same...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
555 Elm Ave.
Norman, OK  73019
View map »


Sponsor: Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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200 Bass Pro Dr.
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View map »


Sponsor: Bass Pro Shops
Telephone: (405) 218-5200

More information

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Cost: $4-$6

Where:
Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway
Duncan, OK  73533
View map »


Sponsor: Chisholm Trail Heritage Center
Telephone: 580.252.6692
Contact Name: Toni Hopper
Website »

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Cost: No cost.

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116 S Main
Luther, OK  73054
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Cost: Free

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Telephone: (405) 546-3500
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Cost: 0

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Higher Grounds Coffee
5814 NW 63rd Street
Warr Acres , OK  73122
View map »


Sponsor: VillagesOKC
Telephone: 405-990-6637
Contact Name: VillagesOKC
Website »

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We're poppin' champagne on the patio this Saturday and raffling off a bottle of Perrier-Jouet valued at $300! Come pre-party with us and DJ Catherine Ouellette from 6pm-10pm -...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sheraton Oklahoma City Downtown Hotel
1, N Broadway Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »

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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
View map »


Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
Telephone: 866.496.0535
Website »

More information

Professional instruction in the art of improvisation. Though some experience with improvisation is beneficial, all skill levels are welcome, no prerequisite classes.  Though sketch comedy...

Cost: $175 for the full term

Where:
The Paramount Room
701 W. Sheridan Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Space OKC
Telephone: 405-887-3327
Contact Name: AL Caveny
Website »

More information

The 9th annual “A Perfect Finish” will feature a night of wine & beer tasting, an auction, food and fun benefiting the OKC RIVERSPORT Junior Crew.   The proceeds from this...

Cost: $75.00

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McClendon Whitewater Center
800 RIVERSPORT Drive
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View map »

More information

Nominated for 8 Tony Awards A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 flashes forward 15 years form Henrik Ibsen's 1879 portrait of marriage as a women's prison, and my, how things have - and...

Cost: 40.00

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
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View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Rep
Telephone: 405-594-8300
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More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: $27-$87

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

A legendary roster of Grammy® Award winners. A visionary director and a Tony Award®-winning design team. One of the world’s most beloved characters. Turn them loose on stage and what...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OKC Broadway
Telephone: 405-594-8300
Website »

More information

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