Radio Want-Ad Shows Plug Listeners Into Bygone Era

by Jeannie Nuss, The Associated Press  on Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2013 7:24 am  

"It's like the old days when you could call in and request a song," Krile said. "It's that feedback and being part of what's happening on the air."

That nostalgia may help explain why the show attracts a largely older audience.

"Probably 95 percent of them are going to be over 40 or 50," morning "Dial-A-Trade" host Chris Womack said.

There are some younger listeners and callers like 28-year-old Philip McCutcheon, but they're the exception.

"I find some of it kind of funny, and it may be because it's mainly older people," said McCutcheon, a barber. "They all call in about the same old thing every day."

"Dial-A-Trade" is not broadcast online, which means people can only listen if they're able to pick up the station's AM or FM signals. Some worry that such programs may go the way of pay phones as more people turn to Craigslist or other websites to find deals.

But the future of "Dial-A-Trade" seems safe for now. Not everyone here has a computer or a high-speed Internet connection. About one in five people in Arkansas don't even use the Internet, according to a 2012 report from an Internet advocacy group called Connect Arkansas.

The show also reflects the poverty that persists in this area, even as hundreds of people work at a nearby power plant and process food in factories.

"If they need to pay their gas bill and they've got something that's worth 50 or 60 bucks, they can call the program," Womack said. "Some people are hurting, even today."

Louise Deal, 77, called the program last month looking for some tomatoes and veggies. A few minutes later, another woman called to talk about a yard sale.

"I also have some tomatoes, okra and squash for sale," she said.

Womack - the host that morning - took the bait.



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