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Airwaves: August 27, 2010

Dr. Laura Fallout

By now you most likely heard that syndicated talk host Dr. Laura Schlessenger will be leaving radio when her contract expires at the end of the year. Supposed reason: recent protests regarding her use of “the ‘n’ word” were trampling her First Amendment rights of free speech.

Personally, I’m not buying it.

I think Schlessenger is a lot tougher than her critics claim she is, and I think she is a lot tougher and smarter than her statements regarding her retirement would leave people to believe.

Not that I really know anything more than my dog Marcus ... Schlessenger has not said anything other than what was said on CNN’s Larry King Show. But my hunch is that more recent protests may have been just the final straw. That she is plain tired of doing the same show she has done for decades. Perhaps she even wanted to get out while she was still on top. Regardless, we’ll probably be able to piece together the information during the coming months. And I would not be surprised to see her on television next year.

In the meantime, what will this do to KFWB (980 AM), which essentially built its entire talk lineup around the doctor? I could not get any comment from programmer Andy Ludlum, but my hunch is ... nothing. The station will fill the time slot -- Noon to 4 PM -- with more low-rated, low-cost syndicated fare that makes up almost the entire rest of the broadcast day. It is highly unlikely that they will go after any big, or big money, talent, since the station is for sale anyway.

Play Ball!

“It was an indescribable thrill for me,” said John Kobylt. “Like the fulfillment of a childhood dream.”

Landing his fist radio job? No. Making it to number one on KFI (640 AM) afternoons as half of the John and Ken Show? Hardly. This is much bigger, at least to fans of America’s favorite pastime.

Kobylt was speaking of his purchase two years ago of “a few units” of the Orange County Flyers, the minor league baseball team associated with the Golden Baseball League. An independent team, they are not officially affiliated with any major league teams, but they have one up on their big brothers ... they are contenders.

So how does one become a part owner of a minor league baseball team? Essentially it’s like buying stock. The team was first owned by the league in 2005 when it made its debut, but later the league sold shares, or units, to those interested. Right before the 2008 season opened up, Kobylt was told that some units were available, and he grabbed them.

Well, once he convinced his wife, Deborah, to go along with the plan. “I’ve loved baseball since I was seven,” said Kobylt. “To be the owner, or part owner, of a team is like a dream to me. But it’s not like it’s some amazingly lucrative investment.” So how did he get Deborah to go along? “Puppy dog eyes helped a lot,” he said.

“I don’t get into day to day running of the team, but some of the owners do,” he explained. “But I do get to some of the games, and of course we do our KFI night promotions every year.” In the end, though, it is just for the fun of owning part of something you love. I think that’s great.


Copyright © 2010 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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