Jasen Sokol

Jasen Sokol

Jasen is a lifelong resident of Northeast Ohio. He found his passion for radio while at WBWC at Baldwin Wallace University. He then went on to Kent State University, where he earned a Master's Degree in broadcast journalism and served as Morning Edition Producer at WKSU. Before becoming the host of The Jasen Sokol Show, he served as morning news editor for AkronNewsNow.com and traffic reporter for 1590 WAKR, 97.5 WONE, 94.9 WQMX, and 107.3 The WAVE. Off the air, Jasen is an avid sports fan (he lists NASCAR, football, and horse racing among his favorites), a news junkie, and a member of the Young Professionals of Akron. You can reach Jasen by phone at 330-869-9800 or via e-mail at jasen@wakr.net.

Friday, 13 April 2018 13:46

Area Runners Prepare for Boston Marathon

Several hundred runners from Ohio will be among the more than 30,000 taking part in this year's Boston Marathon. Jasen talked to second time Boston runner Scott Hinkle of Loudonville and first time Boston entrant Lindsey Beachy of Glenmont about what it takes to qualify for the big race, getting the official word from Boston, and their experience in getting ready to run one of the most famous races in the world.

Wednesday, 04 April 2018 16:43

AUDIO: Drug Bust Nets 140 Pounds Of Meth

In what is believed to be the largest meth bust in Ohio history, authorities confiscated 140 pounds of methamphetamines last month from a warehouse in Boston Heights.

Three men, including one from Cleveland and two from Mexico, are in custody facing charges of conspiracy to posess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Keith Martin, Assistant Special Agent In Charge with the Drug Enforcement Administration, talked to Jasen about the bust, a recent large heroin bust on Route 8, their connections to Mexican drug cartels, and how the drugs continue to flow into our area.

 

"Slow down to go faster."

As a fan of auto racing, I've heard that phrase a lot. Don't be so aggressive on certain parts of the race track and your lap times will actually get faster. It turns out the same is true in running.

Over the last couple of weeks, Akron Marathon race director Brian Polen has been slowly adding more running to the run/walks in my training program. At first, I was running as fast as I could for the one minute at a time. Needless to say, "fast as I could" wasn't so fast by the end. For the first mile or so I felt fine, but after that I would notice my running pace falling off. By about the 1.5 mile marker, my walking pace was completely gone as well. As the two mile mark approached, I wasn't sure how I was going to get to the end of the workout.

It took a few times running myself into the ground to realize that I had better back off my pace a bit so I could make it as far as I was supposed to go. But once I did, not only did I feel better but I saw noticeable improvement in my overall pace.

Lt. Dan wasn't lying

In the film Forrest Gump, Lt. Dan reminds Forrest and Bubba about the importance of socks. He was talking about the Vietnam War, of course, but I've found that socks really do make a big difference in running too. When I was trying on shoes at Vertical Runner of Wooster, I couldn't get anything to fit right and not slide around too much until I had on compression socks. There are a bunch of different brands, but the best ones are designed to help people avoid blisters and wick away moisture. The ones I bought cost around $15 per pair, but it was worth it. 

Better with friends

In talking to people about my plan to run the Akron Half Marathon, I frequently hear things like "how can you run for that long by yourself? won't it get boring?"

I can't answer that question yet, but I can tell you it's a lot more fun when you get to run with other people. I did my longest workout yet (3.5 miles) with Brian Polen and Lauren Toole from the Marathon staff. Being able to talk with people during the run helped me forget how much work was ahead of me, and I actually felt better than I had at the end of most of my runs in spite of the distance.

Not too late to start

If you still want to get involved with this year's Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series but haven't started training yet, that's okay! This is week one of the Blue Line Beginners program for 2018, and the workouts consist only of 15-20 minute walks, run/walks, or runs. The group will be meeting Saturday at 8:00 a.m. at Botzum Trailhead, 2928 Riverview Road, Akron, for their weekly group run. Members of the Akron Marathon staff are usually in attendance, and there are frequent guest speakers to address various topics related to running.

Follow Jasen's journey on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Strava. For more information or to register for the races, go to www.akronmarathon.org.

Friday, 30 March 2018 12:16

AUDIO: 1590 WAKR Opioid Roundtable

Did you miss 1590 WAKR's Opioid Roundtable? If so, you missed a great conversation featuring some of the people who are making a difference on the opioid epidemic in our area, including:

  • Travis Bornstein - Hope Is Alive
  • Denny Wilson - FI Community Housing
  • Greg McNeil - Founder, Cover 2 Resource
  • Deborah Foster-Koch - Executive Director IBH
  • Jerry Craig - Summit County ADM Board
  • Raynard Packard - Packard Institute
  • Darryl Brake - Summit County Community Partnership
  • Kelly MacMullin - Summa Health
  • Barberton Police Chief Vincent Morber
  • Elliot Kolkovich - Summit County Prosecutor’s Office

You can hear the entire roundtable, plus bonus interviews from the Jasen Sokol Show, in the playlist below.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018 17:45

AUDIO: Blue Line Beginners Set For Year Two

It started as a Beacon Journal project, became a year-round organization, and is now ready to welcome its next batch of running newbies.

Blue Line Beginners will hold its first meeting of 2018 for new members on Saturday, March 31 at 11:00 a.m. at the Main Branch of the Akron Summit County Public Library in Downtown Akron. The organization, founded by Beacon Journal reporter Paula Schleis, aims to take people who have never run a race before and train them to run the races of the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series. 

Schleis and Akron Marathon Race Director Brian Polen joined Jasen to talk about the program and how just about anyone can get involved.

 

I'm well into my second week of training for the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series. While I'm nowhere near ready to hit the Blue Line yet, I've already made a few observations:

  • The right pair of shoes helps. Brian Polen, the race director for the Akron Marathon and my running coach, brought me to his store to get fitted for a proper pair of running shoes. At Vertical Runner of Wooster, Brian was able to watch how I walk and recommend shoes that would correct my stride. That said, if you have a pair of athletic shoes already you have all you need to get started. Which brings me to my next point...
  • Just get moving. I had to tell myself that a few times this week. To say the weather this week was less than ideal is an understatement. I've only had one workout so far that didn't involve snow or ice. It's been in the 30s or lower for most of the last week. But if you wear a few layers, the cold isn't so bad. I figure I'll be missing this weather when it's 90 degrees in August.
  • Start slow. Slow and steady might not win the race, but I'm just trying to get to the finish line so I'm fine with that! I have yet to do a workout that actually involves running. Instead, Brian has me doing brisk walks at increasing distances. Despite that, my pace is still getting quicker each time out.
  • We're lucky to be in Akron. I live halfway up a pretty steep hill, so my options for places to run close to home that don't involve a ridiculous climb are a bit limited. Luckily we have the Towpath Trail, the jogging trail in the Sand Run Metro Park, and a bunch of other great places to run in Akron that are not only less hilly, but also absolutely beautiful.

We're less than 200 days away from the Akron Marathon, but that doesn't mean it's too late to get started on your own Blue Line journey! One of the cool things about the Akron Marathon Race Series is that they have different distances at different races throughout the summer, so if a half marathon or a relay leg seems too daunting you can start with something as short as a 1 mile and work your way up from there.

The week ahead: Two more brisk walks at longer distances... hopefully with less snow!

Follow Jasen's journey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Strava. For more information or to register for the races, go to www.akronmarathon.org.

 

Wednesday, 14 March 2018 14:49

AUDIO: After #Enough Walkout, What's Next?

Thousands of students across the country walked out of their classrooms Wednesday morning to call for a variety of school safety measures in the wake of the deadly shooting in Parkland, Fla. last month. Now that the children have spoken, what will the adults do?

Lisa Mansfield, member of the Akron School Board, joined Jasen to share her thoughts on the walkout she attended at Firestone CLC and talk about what the board is doing to address school security:

Jasen also sat down with Rosie Craig from the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence and Dean Rieck of the Buckeye Firearms Association to talk about what they think should and should not be done to avoid another school shooting.

For the last three years, I've been the announcer for several of the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series events. It's become something I look forward to every year, but there has always been one thing about it that has been awkward for me:

I've never actually run a race.

Not a marathon, not a half marathon, not even a 5k. But that's about to change.

Brian Polen, the race director for the Akron Children's Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series, told me after last year's Goodyear Half Marathon and 10k that he wanted to see me run some races this year. I've never been one to jump at the opportunity to work out, but for some reason I said I would. When the weather began to warm up, Brian decided it was time for me to begin my training.

Over the next six months, I'll be preparing to run the National Interstate 8k in June, the Goodyear 10k in August, and the FirstEnergy Akron Half Marathon in September. I'll still be announcing the June and August races and covering the marathon for 1590 WAKR in September, so I'll be running each course about a week before the actual race. Brian has put together a complete training plan for me, and I'll be visiting Vertical Runner of Wooster (which is owned by Brian and his wife Tammy) soon to get all the gear I need to put the plan into action.

I'll be documenting this journey through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Strava, and here on WAKR.net, and I'd love for you to join me! While you may have an idea of what a runner looks like, I've learned that there really is no one type of runner. People of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels challenge the Blue Line each year and achieve their goals. I'll be taking part in this year's Blue Line Beginners program, and I hope I'll get to call your name when you cross the finish line this summer.

For more information or to register for the races, go to www.akronmarathon.org.

Brian Polen joined The Jasen Sokol Show on Monday to talk about turning Jasen into a runner

Since the school shooting Wednesday in Parkland, Fla. that claimed the lives of 17 people, many people are searching for a solution to the problem of gun violence. But the political debate over mass shootings is often approached with cynicism after years of gridlock on the issue.

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, a Republican candidate for Governor, and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) joined Jasen on Monday to give their ideas on how to reduce the chances of a school shooting happening again.

It's been a week of turmoil in professional fastpitch softball. The future of the Akron Racers has been questioned after the removal of General Manager Joey Arrietta and reports that majority owner Craig Stout has partnered with a Chinese group to bring in a group of players from China to fill a significant portion of the team's roster.

On Thursday, the Beacon Journal reported that the team will become the Cleveland Comets under new general manager Stephen Dunn. NPF Commissioner Cheri Kempf said in an interview Thursday there was "nothing (she) could do to validate that rumor."

The shakeup has also extended to Texas, where the Scrap Yard Dawgs announced they would not play in National Pro Fastpitch this season. They were later formally dismissed from NPF.

Kempf joined the Jasen Sokol Show for an in-depth discussion of the future of pro softball in Akron:

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