This unscientific poll is influential but kind of hinky; based on a mysterious and quirky process of interviews with listeners, radio professionals; tea leaves, nepotism, (or incest) and intrigue.
Dr. Laura, runs a moralistic, preacherly lifestyle advice show, based on her personal mysanthropy and Jewish fundamentalist principles. She's got a tongue sharper than a Henckels; a black belt in scorn and a master's in hauteur. She can kick, too.
The mean old killjoy has been pretty hot stuff in the past--in more ways than one.
Career-wise she's been to the very pinnacle of syndicated talk radio. As a fast rising star in the talk radio firmament, Premiere syndicated her show, and she was often paired with Rush Limbaugh on Clear Channel and other talk stations.
In 2000, she was second only to Rush Limbaugh, a perch now occupied by Sean Hannity.
But gravity, we hear, is starting to bring her down, in more ways than one. The word in the radio trade is that her show is slipping and slipping badly. Dr. Laura is going to smaller and smaller stations, markets, and to evenings and weekends at what should be to her, an alarming rate.
Her daytime TV show, cancelled in 2001, was supposed to propel her into the Oprah-strata of superstardom, but it turned out to be a bust.
It got a lot of attention when it premiered, because of gay & lesbian protests of her hard-ass stance on queers. She had called gays a "biological faux pas," claimed they're inferior parents; described gay sex as "deviant;" accused gay men of being "predatory on young boys," and recommended that gays and lesbians get themselves cured through "reparative therapy."
Some sponsors withdrew and there were scrumptious headlines which got her some smashing ratings at first. Though gays credit their boycott for her downfall, the real story is that when the dust settled, it became obvious that her show was simply awful and it went down in a few months with hardly a whimper.
Laura has a lot of baggage. Her public image wasn't enhanced much--especially with her religious fanbase--when a batch of nude photos surfaced in the mid-'90's which had been taken by Bill Ballance, the general manager of a California radio station who'd given her start in radio.
The 28-year-old married Miss Laura was having an affair with Ballance in the 1970's, and she was so in love with the way she looked she asked him to take the shots later heard round the world.
Ballance, who was by then 80 yrs old, sold them to Seattle pornographer, Seth Warshavsky for $50k. Dr. Laura sued, a judge upheld our sacred First Amendment rights and Laura’s perky T's & and round little A have been public domain ever since. (Gravity has since reared its ugly head again, according to sources).
In 2002, Her Kid's Mom turned out to be Not Her Mom's Kid when Dr. Laura's 77-year-old mother was found dead and decomposed in her Beverly Hills apartment. The family counselor and multi-millionaire radio personality had been estranged from her mom for years and when she died of what was later found to be natural causes, no one was around.
It was a little embarrassing for the self-appointed role model.
In 2003, her religious supporters couldn't have been overjoyed when she went on-air to renounce orthodox Judaism, saying she no longer found her adopted faith, "fulfilling."
She told listeners that while she still "considers" herself Jewish, "my identifying with this entity and my fulfilling the rituals, etc., of the entity - that has ended."
Of her conversion to Orthodox Judaism, Dr. Laura told her 12 million listeners: "I felt that I was putting out a tremendous amount toward that mission, that end, and not feeling a return, not feeling connected, not feeling that inspired."
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the outspoken Orthodox "rabbi to the Stars," was appalled, labelling her a "fair weather Jew," he wrote: "Dr. Laura's repudiation of her Judaism ranks as some of the shallowest renunciations of personal faith in all human history. It is surely unworthy of America's self-styled moral advocate."
A recent anonymous post in a radio trade chat board had this to say:
"Dr." Laura's problem is the same one that afflicts all of those who preach holier-than-thou rhetoric. First, her show started as a stealth religious indoctrination and graduated into something you'd expect from ITALFocus on the Family. Although many relished her trashing of stupid callers who disagreed with her, the rhetoric got heavier and heavier.
What brought her walls crashing down, however, were the various expose articles done revealing her trashy nude shots, her horrid relationship with her own mother, a not-so-hot home life, and the revelation that the woman was as qualified to provide professional therapy as Fluffy the Hamster.
OxyRush doesn't devote his three hours to rail against drug users, and Double Down Bill Bennett's own gambling addiction has never been the basis of his show. But when someone purports to tell you how to live your life and what poor judgment you used, and then the glossies turn up, the audience is going to flee for the hills.