Dr Laura Schlessinger Biography & Facts
Laura Catherine Schlessinger (born January 16, 1947) is an American talk radio host and author. "The Dr. Laura Program," heard weekdays for three hours on Sirius XM Radio, consists mainly of her responses to callers' requests for personal advice and often features her short monologues on social and political topics. Her website says that her show "preaches, teaches, and nags about morals, values, and ethics." She is an inductee to the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago.
Schlessinger used to combine her local radio career in Los Angeles with a private practice as a marriage and family counselor, but after going into national radio syndication, she concentrated her efforts on The Dr. Laura Program heard each weekday, and on writing self-help books. The books Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives and The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands are among her bestselling works. A short-lived television talk show hosted by Schlessinger was launched in 2000. In August 2010, she announced that she would end her syndicated radio show in December 2010. Her show moved to the "Sirius XM Stars" satellite radio channel on January 3, 2011. Schlessinger announced a "multiyear" deal to be on satellite radio. On November 5, 2018, her radio program moved to the Sirius XM "Triumph Channel 111."
Schlessinger was born in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. She was raised in Brooklyn and later on Long Island. Her parents were Monroe "Monty" Schlessinger, a Jewish American civil engineer, and Yolanda (née' Ceccovini) Schlessinger, a Catholic war bride from Italy. Schlessinger has said her father was charming and her mother beautiful as a young woman. She has a sister, Cindy, who is 11 years her junior. Schlessinger has described her childhood environment as unloving and unpleasant, and her family as dysfunctional. She has ascribed some of the difficulty to extended family rejection of her parents' mixed faith Jewish-Catholic marriage. Schlessinger said her father was "petty, insensitive, mean, thoughtless, demeaning, and downright unloving". She described her mother as a person with "pathological pride", who "was never grateful", who "would always find something to criticize," and who "constantly expressed disdain for men, sex, and love". She credited her father with giving her the drive to succeed.Schlessinger attended Westbury High School and Jericho High School, where she showed an interest in science. She received a bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University. Moving to Columbia University for graduate studies, she earned a master's and PhD in physiology in 1974. Her doctoral thesis was on insulin's effects on laboratory rats. After she began dispensing personal advice on the radio, she obtained training and certification in marriage and family counseling from the University of Southern California, where she worked in the biology department, and a therapist's license from the State of California. In addition, she opened up a part-time practice as a marriage and family therapist.
Schlessinger's first appearance on radio was in 1975 when she called in to a KABC show hosted by Bill Ballance. Impressed by her quick wit and sense of humor, Ballance began featuring her in a weekly segment. Schlessinger's stint on Ballance's show led to her own shows on a series of small radio stations. By 1979, she was on the air Sunday evenings from 9:00 to midnight on KWIZ in Santa Ana, California. That year, the Los Angeles Times described her show as dealing with all types of emotional problems, "though sex therapy is the show's major focus".In the late 1980s, Schlessinger was filling in for Barbara De Angelis' noon-time, relationship-oriented talk show in Los Angeles on KFI, while working weekends at KGIL in San Fernando. Her big break came when Sally Jessy Raphael began working at ABC Radio, and Maurice Tunick, former vice president of talk programming for the ABC Radio Networks, needed a regular substitute for Raphael's evening personal-advice show. Tunick chose Schlessinger to fill in for Raphael.
Schlessinger began broadcasting a daily show on KFI, which was nationally syndicated in 1994 by Synergy, a company owned by Schlessinger and her husband. In 1997, Synergy sold its rights to the show to Jacor Communications, Inc., for $71.5 million. Later, Jacor merged with Clear Channel Communications and a company co-owned by Schlessinger, Take On The Day, LLC, acquired the production rights. The show became a joint effort between Take On The Day, which produced it, Talk Radio Network, which syndicated and marketed it to radio stations, and Premiere Radio Networks, (a subsidiary of Clear Channel), which provided satellite facilities and handled advertising sales. As of September 2009, Schlessinger broadcast from her home in Santa Barbara, California, with KFWB as her flagship station. Podcasts and live streams of the show have been available on her website for a monthly fee, and the show was also on XM Satellite Radio.
At its peak, The Dr. Laura Program was the second-highest-rated radio show after The Rush Limbaugh Show, and was heard on more than 450 radio stations. Writing in 1998, Leslie Bennett described the popularity of the show:
In an age of moral relativity, Dr. Laura's certitude compels ... Schlessinger's fervor is indisputably evangelical, and her listeners believe her to be a paragon, a beacon of hope and rectitude in a dissolute, degraded world. In 2010—her last year on terrestrial radio—she was still #5.In May 2002, the show still had an audience of more than 10 million, but had lost several million listeners in the previous two years as it was dropped by WABC and other affiliates, and was moved from day to night in cities such as Seattle and Boston. These losses were attributed in part to Schlessinger's shift from giving relationship advice to lecturing on morality and conservative politics. Pressure from gay rights groups caused dozens of sponsors to drop the radio show, as well. In 2006, Schlessinger's show was being aired on about 200 stations. As of 2009, it was tied for third place along with The Glenn Beck Program and The Savage Nation.Schlessinger used "Hot Talkin' Big Shot", a song by country and blues singer and songwriter Nikki Hornsby, for several years as cue music for her radio program and for a national radio commercial advertising for the show. She also used "New Attitude" by Patti LaBelle.
On August 17, 2010, during an appearance on Larry King Live, Schlessinger announced the end of her radio show, saying that her motivation was to "regain her First Amendment rights", and that she wanted to be able to say what is on her mind without "some special interest group deciding this is a time to silence a voice of dissent." Several of her affiliates and major sponsors had dropped her show after her on-air use of a racial epithet on August 10 (see § Use of racial slur below). Specifically, she said, "[n-word n-word n-word] is wha.... Discover the Dr Laura Schlessinger popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Dr Laura Schlessinger books.