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Dr. Laura overhears comments, cancels interview with WFTS

By ERIC DEGGANS

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 2, 2000


In a move that hints at her reputation for prickly reactions, talk radio advice guru Dr. Laura Schlessinger backed out of a planned interview for WFTS-Ch. 28's morning show last week, minutes before the segment was to start.

Connected to WFTS by satellite from a Los Angeles studio, Schlessinger planned to speak about her latest book during the May 24 interview. According to WFTS news director Jeff Godlis, Schlessinger overheard morning anchors Dave Mikes and Angie Moreschi talking about the segment during a commercial break.

The problem emerged when talk turned to the radio host's upcoming syndicated TV show, which has lost advertisers amid protests from gay activists who contend Schlessinger is homophobic.

"They (Mikes and Moreschi) didn't know Dr. Laura could hear them," said Godlis, who was told Schlessinger then refused to do the interview, forcing the station to cover for the lost segment.

But Schlessinger's spokeswoman, Keven Bellows, said Mikes told Moreschi he didn't know much about the radio show host, but already knew he couldn't stand her.

"Obviously, that was going to be a hostile interview," said Bellows. "In a situation like that, you hope for a more impartial journalist."

"I didn't say that," countered Mikes, who says he can't remember what he and Moreschi said that might have angered Schlessinger. "It sounds like an overreaction."

WFTS is scheduled to air the Dr. Laura show this fall. Bellows says she doubts the flap will impact the station's enthusiasm for the show, scheduled to debut Sept. 11.

"When he (Mikes) does see her, maybe he'll like her a lot," she added. "That happens a lot with Dr. Laura."

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