By PAMELA DAVIS
© St. Petersburg Times, published September 18, 2001
TAMPA -- WFLA-AM 970 talk show host Glenn Beck has kicked Dr. Laura to the curb.
As of Monday, The Glenn Beck Program was syndicated to at least 36 radio stations across the country. On WFLA, where the show originates, Beck has replaced The Dr. Laura Show from 9 to 11:30 a.m.
Beck also is on the air nationally and locally from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays as the host of Assault on America, Clear Channel Communications' effort to cover the terrorist attacks and their aftermath on Clear Channel's talk stations nationwide.
"I'm overwhelmed with the responsibility of the message," Beck said about his work on Assault on America.
The Glenn Beck Program is in the hands of Premiere, the syndication arm of Clear Channel, which owns WFLA and seven other stations in the Tampa Bay area.
Premiere had been planning a national rollout for Beck's show since July. The original date was January 2002, but the attacks and Clear Channel's need to have a talk show host who could handle the topic in the mornings moved up the time table.
"I was all excited about the syndication come January, and still I'm excited about being syndicated nationwide. But it's not like "Hey, let's go out and have a celebration.' Now it's more of a subdued milestone," Beck said.
The Dr. Laura Show, which has been off the air at WFLA since the attack, will not return to the 9 to 11:30 a.m. slot, WFLA operations manager Sue Treccase said. Clear Channel hasn't decided what to do with the show in this market.
Beck, 37, came to WFLA in January 2000 from a station in Connecticut. In the business since he was a teenager, he had spent much of his career doing Top 40 morning shows.
According to the latest Arbitron figures, Beck's show came in first place among all stations from 3 to 7 p.m. with listeners 25 to 54, the most important demographic in the radio industry.