- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 28, 2010

Janet Parshall, a syndicated talk-show host and the nation’s pre-eminent female Christian broadcaster, is leaving the Salem Radio Network this weekend to start up a new show with the Chicago-based Moody Broadcasting Network.

The last day on the air for “Janet Parshall’s America” will be Friday, a rebroadcast. Mrs. Parshall, who lives near Front Royal, Va., recorded her last live show Monday, when she announced she was leaving.

Known for her kitchen-table culture commentary, Mrs. Parshall is the uncrowned diva of Christian talk. Her guest list was a who’s who of conservative political and religious figures, although one of her favorite guests was the Rev. Barry Lynn, the liberal director of Americans United.

Officials at Dallas-based Salem Radio, the nation’s largest commercial Christian network, refused to say why they did not renew her contract. Her producer, Bernie Bennett, said “Janet Parshall’s America” reached 3 million viewers on 265 stations, about 100 of them commercial stations.

“Personally, I love Janet Parshall,” said Tom Tradup, vice president of news and talk programming for Salem. “This transition is about as smooth a one as I’ve ever had. She has always been a joy to work with.”

Citing Mrs. Parshall’s exit as an internal matter, he pushed her replacement: Janet Mefferd, who has done an afternoon-drive show at the Salem-owned KWRD-FM in Dallas for the past seven months.

The station has reprogrammed Mrs. Parshall’s Web site, jpamerica.com, to display only an announcement touting Mrs. Mefferd’s debut, which has been in the planning for two months and takes place Monday on 75 commercial stations in Mrs. Parshall’s time slot.

Mrs. Mefferd, 42, is married to Charley Mefferd, operations manager for the network. She worked for the Daily Herald in Chicago and the Dallas Morning News before entering radio in 2004. She was given her own talk show late last spring. Salem officials said KWRD’s ratings in the 3-to-6 p.m. time slot tripled during Mrs. Mefferd’s brief sojourn there.

“She does great radio and hits the nail on the head with relevant Christian talk,” KWRD General Manager John Peroyea said in a statement.

Co-workers at Salem and friends and observers in the radio industry had mixed assessments as to why Mrs. Parshall, 59, was let go. Some cited budget reasons on the part of Salem; others said it involved personality clashes and that Mrs. Parshall had gone through a string of producers during her 15 years with the network.

Officials at Moody were jubilant over their acquisition of Mrs. Parshall. Although Moody is one of the largest of the noncommercial Christian networks, its list of 300 to 500 affiliates and 35 owned or operated stations is far less than Salem’s 95 stations and more than 2,000 affiliates.

Mrs. Parshall will premiere a late-afternoon issue-oriented show with Moody this spring. She has been doing a weekly Saturday show for Moody for the past two years.

Locally, Mrs. Parshall is heard on WAVA-FM Radio in Arlington, a Christian station currently rated, according to Arbitron, at 0.9 percent of the local viewing audience, one-third that of rival Christian station WGTS-FM in Takoma Park, Md. Back in 1998, Mrs. Parshall’s show ran four hours a day on WAVA. Her time has since been reduced to one hour, 3 to 4 p.m.