MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - Like the callers before her, Bobbie Rine was looking to deal. From her home outside Utica, she had dialed in to a morning show on WMVO (1300 AM) in Mount Vernon and was to go on the air next.
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Like the callers before her, Bobbie Rine was looking to deal.
From her home outside Utica, she had dialed in to a morning show on WMVO (1300 AM) in Mount Vernon and was to go on the air next.
“I have 10 pints of sweet pickles,” Rine told listeners. “They’re sliced. They’re really good. I canned them.”
Inside the radio station, Allison Stepp-Baughman embraced Rine’s selling price of $3 a jar and jotted down her phone number before taking the next caller.
So go the exchanges on Tradio, a weekday community forum for people in and around town to buy, sell and trade — even borrow — goods and services.
“It’s basically just an old-timey Craigslist,” said Stepp-Baughman, host of the hourlong show.
A relic from an age before online marketplaces, Tradio serves as a barometer of the culture of Mount Vernon — a city of 17,000 about an hour northeast of Columbus.
The concept is simple: Callers explain what they have or what they want, or both. Then they share their phone numbers and wait to see whether anyone bites.
“They sell chickens. They sell goats. They sell bicycles,” said Mike Hillier, a longtime listener and caller.
“You name it; unless it’s guns or ammo” — which can’t be sold on the show — “they pretty much sell it all.”
Tradio is neither new nor unique to Mount Vernon.
Similar programs have played out for years in other largely rural parts of Ohio and the United States. Some share the Tradio name; others go by titles such as Dial-A-Trade, Swap Shop or Trading Post.
The Mount Vernon show dates from the 1980s, Stepp-Baughman said, albeit with some recent concessions to the digital age. The show has streamed live for a few years, and lists of items being sold or sought are posted online.
The technological advances don’t cramp the old-fashioned feel, though.
The host chats with callers, welcoming regulars by name — sometimes before they have a chance to introduce themselves.
“How are you this morning, Dick?” Stepp-Baughman asked Dick Porter during a recent Friday show.
The two talked about the cold weather before Porter, 76, explained the disparate items he had to offer: a porcelain doll and 300 bags of tea.
“It’s a pretty little doll, but, when I took it out of the box here a couple of days ago, the left arm has come unhooked from it,” Porter said. “And I don’t even want to fool around with it. If somebody wants that doll, I’ll give it to them free.”
“Well, that’s a good deal,” Stepp-Baughman assured him.
“And then for Christmas,” Porter continued, “somebody got me a three-pack of Lipton tea bags. .?. ?. So, if somebody wants 300 bags of Lipton tea, I’ll sell them for 10 bucks.”
Later that day, Porter heard from a taker on the doll. And a woman inquired about the tea but was too late: He had offered it to a senior center.
Like other area residents, Porter and his wife, Shirley, usually listen to the program at their Mount Vernon home.
Hillier likes to hear Tradio in the background at the packing-and-shipping store where he works.
The 55-year-old Mount Vernon resident has bought and sold stoves and refrigerators through the program.
Once, he even pulled off a loan through Tradio: His son needed an Indian headdress for a school play, and a listener agreed to lend one to him.
The program is free to most callers. The show charges $5 to advertise yard sales; services for hire; or big-ticket items such as cars, trucks and real estate.
Stepp-Baughman also reads featured ads for businesses.
“It kind of reminds me of hearing Johnny Cash shill for a siding company,” she said.
Tradio is full of characters, and the combination of items that people peddle can prove downright puzzling.
In addition to the homemade pickles, for example, Rine was seeking to unload a china hutch for $100.
“If I have something I can sell and I need some money, I try to sell it,” Rine, 62, said at her home after the show.
Nowadays, of course, many people broker such deals online, leading some to question the future of Tradio.
“With the advent .?.?. of Internet marketplaces — eBay, Craigslist — people expected it to kind of fall off and become obsolete,” Stepp-Baughman said. “But, if anything, I think it’s kind of gained popularity here in Mount Vernon just because it’s a connection.
“There’s just something about being able to hear somebody you’ve heard 40 times in the last year selling something or buying something.”