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Tracey and Friends Marks 12 Years with New Studio

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Tracey Winbush sits in her new studio on the seventh floor of the Chase Bank Building downtown overlooking Central Square, where workers are setting up for the night’s Holiday Parade and tree-lighting ceremony.

Moving Tracey and Friends, a news and talk radio program, to downtown four months ago is one of the best decisions she’s made, Winbush said.

“This is the place to be and it’s got the heartbeat of the county and the Valley,” said Winbush, host and founder of Tracey and Friends. “I believe in the city of Youngstown.”

Winbush serves on the Mahoning County Board of Elections and is president of the Ohio Black Republicans Association. She is the former vice chairman of the Mahoning County Republican Party and former treasurer of the Ohio Republican Party.

On Friday, Winbush and her co-hosts Mark Mangie, Jeff Green and Lloyd Burt, celebrated 12 years of their talk show and the opening of their new studio and offices.

The show, originally called Morning Coffee with Tracey and Friends, started broadcasting on a 500-watt station in Campbell, where the studio was in a double-wide trailer. Today, the show is broadcast on a 5,000-watt station and is live Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to noon on WHKZ-AM 1440. You can also watch the talk show on TraceyandFriends.com.

The show’s topics range from discussions about President Donald Trump to racism, religion, crimes and lifestyles.

“We talk about everything you could possibly think about, and we take on very hard subjects and hard views whether people agree with us or not,” Winbush said. “And we want them to be a part of the program and calling in, so they can voice their views.”

A current hot topic of discussion is on General Motors Co. deciding to close its Lordstown Complex.

“The Valley’s leadership needs to be more proactive,” Winbush said about GM. “We can no longer depend on one industry for our foundation. We need to make sure we have economic development plans.”

Mark Mangie, co-host and an attorney, said, “If you look at General Motors, obviously it’s a loss. But since the closing of the mills our economy has diversified in ways you can’t possibly imagine. It’s not a tidal wave of disaster, it’s a ripple in an ongoing improvement since the closing of the mills.”

Winbush added that the Valley needs to stop politicizing economic development and should focus on the people to move ahead.

“We need to respect the people and understand we need to do whatever it takes no matter what side we’re on,” she said.

Winbush started Tracey and Friends in 2006 to provide an outlet for a more conservative point-of-view and to expose the listening audience to a variety of alternative political thought.

Over the last 12 years, “insanity” is what has kept the talk show going, Winbush jokes.

“There’s always something to do and there’s always something to talk about and there is a need for this type of show we have,” she said. “There is a cross-section of people that normally would not be in one location having a conversation.”

Winbush has a diverse group of co-hosts and listeners on her show, Mangie said.

“We’re a culturally diverse group and have a wide view of political perspectives from liberalism to conservatism in the group, so it leads to some pretty interesting discussions and some interesting arguments, but it all makes for great radio and it’s a lot of fun,” he said.

Every month, Tracey and Friends hosts physicians on the show as well, including a clinical counselor, a chiropractor and an obstetrics and gynecology doctor to discuss different hot topics in health care.

“We can talk about any subject because with the diversity in the room we don’t have to pick and choose our words,” said Green, co-host of the show and a musician. “We can come right out and say what things really are without there being pretentiousness, and when you do that, people respect that.”

Winbush hopes to expand her show to run from 9 a.m. to noon, instead of just one hour. She also wants her broadcast to reach new markets, such as Cleveland.

Her long-term goal is to cover more news topics and turn the show into a broadcast media company that can be heard nationally or worldwide, she said.

“My goal is to go into news so people can decide what the facts are and make their own decisions based on what they know,” she said. “People who are educated and have jobs don’t go out and commit homicides. We need to have platforms of entertainment, information and communication where we can employ, hire people and give them the opportunity to express themselves.”

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.