Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

PUH-LEESE! Radio Pschologist Laura Schlessinger Doesn't Take Any Guff from Callers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

PUH-LEESE! Radio Pschologist Laura Schlessinger Doesn't Take Any Guff from Callers

Article excerpt

The hottest new show in talk radio begins each hour with Patti

LaBelle's vibrant rendition of I've Got a New Attitude .

"I'm in control, my worries are few," LaBelle sings, by way of

introducing Laura Schlessinger, America's new favorite radio

psychologist cum moral philosopher to a daily audience estimated

at more than 10 million listeners, including an estimated 8,900

each morning on Jacksonville's WOKV (AM 930).

The song "expresses my belief that it is attitude, infinitely

more than circumstance, that determines the quality of life,"

Schlessinger wrote in the introduction to her most recent

bestseller, How Could You Do That?!

And Schlessinger certainly brings plenty of attitude to her

daily three-hour radio program. Frequently impatient, often

demanding, she's intolerant of excuses and unwilling to listen

to long, rambling explanations of the problem. "I preach, I

teach and I nag to the best of my ability," she is quoted as

saying in a brochure describing her new syndicated newspaper


"Puh-leese" is her favorite on-air expletive, conveying

exasperation with callers who make excuses for why they aren't

responsible for whatever has gone wrong in their lives.

"Take it like a man," she exhorts the callers, an expression

she uses without regard to a caller's actual gender.

Not everybody admires this approach, particularly from someone

who is perceived, not completely accurately, as a psychologist.

Her doctorate is in physiology.

Schlessinger is "holding up the promise of simple, easy, direct

answers to complex questions in life" and creating confusion by

dispensing "moral philosophizing" to callers in search of

practical help, said David Levy, a psychology professor at

Pepperdine University who has written on the

subject of radio psychologists.

But, judging by the faxes she reads during her show and the fan

letters she reproduces in her book, Schlessinger's often-dogmatic

approach to advice giving is what her growing legion of fans

find exciting. They like her uncompromising advocacy of personal

responsibility and traditional morality.

Certainly Schlessinger considers that the essence of her

appeal. "I started talking about honor, integrity and ethics in

tandem with the more traditional psychological approach and

BANG!!! My radio program took off and became an international

phenomenon, while purely psychology-oriented shows have more or

less dropped by the wayside," she wrote in How Could You Do

That?! (Schlessinger did not respond to requests for an

interview for this story.)


Schlessinger's show, which went into national syndication a

little more than two years ago, now airs on more than 300

stations in Canada and the United States. An estimated audience

of 10 million people makes her the second most-listened-to host

in AM talk radio, surpassed only by Rush Limbaugh.

WOKV began airing Schlessinger's program in Jacksonville

earlier this year, after focus groups responded enthusiastically

to her theme of family values.

Currently, WOKV airs her three-hour program from 7 to 10

weeknights, then repeats the last hour the next morning from 11

to noon as a lead-in to Limbaugh. From 11 to noon, her show is

listened to by an estimated 8,900 people each quarter hour,

including an average of 5,300 in WOKV's target audience,

35-to-64-year-old adults. That's 2 1/2 times the audience for

any other Jacksonville AM radio station at that hour with that

demographic group. …

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