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Dr. Laura's satellite radio move a savvy attempt to hide a fading franchise



dr-laura.jpgLet's say you're a fading radio star whose knuckleheaded use of the n-word delivered a death blow to your already dimming broadcast career.

There's only one place which might still offer you a thriving professional home: Satellite radio.

So it makes sense that radio hysteric Dr. Laura Schlessinger would position the start of work exclusively in the niche-ified space of Sirius XM as a career boost, coming just three months after inciting an avalanche of criticism by slinging the n-word repeatedly at a black caller. Days after that monstrous misstep, she dramatically announced her departure from the world of traditional, terrestrial radio, saying she wanted to preserve her "First Amendment rights."

Which was funny, because last time I checked, nobody had a constitutional right to a radio talk show or continued commercial sponsorship of said program. It was also interesting to see Schlessinger's often-conservative fans -- who seem to admire and share her ethic that others should take responsibility for their own actions -- back her efforts to avoid the consequences  of her own horrific mistake.

Radio industry experts suggested back then Schlessinger was using the controversy as an excuse to step away from a syndicated program that had been sinking for years. Even the press release from Sirius XM announcing her Jan. 3 reboot notes that her show has actually been airing on Sirius or XM since 2005.  So she's mostly just losing the syndicated broadcast stations which gave her a wider audience.

Evidence of her decline as a pop culture force could be measured in how many people marveled that she was even still on the air when the n-word debacle broke out. In satellite radio, Schlessinger's tightly focused fan base can zero in on their hero without fear of her eccentric rants turning off mainstream advertisers, and the mainstream media world no longer has to concern itself with a talent about to drop off the mainstream radar screen (if you doubt that's going to happen, see Exhibit A for the consequences of going satellite, Howard Stern).

This may be as close to a win-win scenario as anyone could have predicted.

Click below to see the press release from Sirius XM:


America’s # 1 female talk radio show host now available to millions of listeners in an expanded and uncensored format

On live, three-hour daily, call-in show Dr. Laura Schlessinger offers no-nonsense advice on personal, work and family issues

NEW YORK– November 29, 2010 – SIRIUS XM Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI) today announced that it will be the exclusive home to Dr. Laura, the live, daily call-in show hosted by Dr. Laura Schlessinger, America’s # 1 female talk radio show host.

Beginning Monday, January 3, 2011, Dr. Laura will air live Monday – Friday from 2:00 - 5:00 pm ET on SIRIUS XM Stars (SIRIUS channel 102 and XM channel 155), on SIRIUS Internet Radio, XM Radio Online and through the SIRIUS XM App for the Apple iPhone, iPod touch and many BlackBerry and Android-powered smartphone devices. It will replay later each day and on Saturdays and Sundays.

For more than thirty years, millions of listeners across the country have tuned in to Dr. Laura for her no-nonsense advice on a wide variety of personal, work and family issues, earning her one of the biggest audiences in radio and making her the most listened to female host in the medium since 1994.

“Coming to SIRIUS XM is an amazingly freeing transition from terrestrial radio for me. Satellite radio is a forum where a diverse group of people get to speak their minds without fear,” said Dr. Laura. “I can’t wait to preach, teach and nag about morals, values, ethics and principles. My brain is buzzing with new ideas for my program’s content, direction and expansion, including guest interviews with people who intrigue and inspire me. I couldn’t be more giggly if you tickled me!”

“On SIRIUS XM, Dr. Laura will have a strong, national platform to do what she does best,” said Scott Greenstein, President and Chief Content Officer, SIRIUS XM Radio.  “As the new home to one of the most popular shows in radio today, SIRIUS XM once again delivers to subscribers content that cannot be found elsewhere. We welcome Dr. Laura into our diverse, compelling and thought-provoking lineup.”

Dr. Laura holds a Ph.D. in physiology from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, received her post-doctoral certification in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling from the University of Southern California, and is licensed as a marriage and family therapist in the State of California. She was in private practice for 12 years and was on the faculty of the Department of Biology at the University of Southern California, and the Graduate Psychology Department at Pepperdine University. Dr. Laura is the bestselling author of twelve books for adults and four children's books. She has received an award from the Office of the Secretary of Defense for her Exceptional Public Service, and among her numerous other honors, has been the first and only woman ever to win the National Association of Broadcasters' prestigious Marconi Award for Network/Syndicated Personality.

Dr. Laura’s syndicated show has been airing on SIRIUS or XM since January 2005.

SIRIUS XM has exclusive content relationships with an array of personalities and artists including Howard Stern, Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, Rosie O’Donnell, Jamie Foxx, Opie & Anthony, Bubba the Love Sponge®, Bob Edwards, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, Jimmy Buffett, the Grateful Dead, Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan.

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[Last modified: Monday, November 29, 2010 11:45am]


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