- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 2, 2002

Talk-radio station WMAL-AM (630) is expected to trim Laura Schlessinger's advice show by one hour to make room for a new program from ABC News anchor Sam Donaldson, beginning later this month.
Mr. Donaldson's show will air live weekdays from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Mrs. Schlessinger's show, which airs from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., will air from 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. when Mr. Donaldson joins the morning lineup.
Mr. Donaldson will continue to host his two-hour syndicated radio talk show, which he broadcasts weekdays at 10 a.m. WMAL carries that program on a tape-delayed basis weekdays at midnight.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Donaldson confirmed the plans and the time slot for his new show yesterday.
A WMAL spokesman declined to comment on Mr. Donaldson's program, but said the station recently signed a long-term contract to continue carrying Mrs. Schlessinger's show.
"We're very happy with Dr. Laura, and she will continue to be part of our morning lineup," said Willie Waffle, the station's spokesman. WMAL does not plan to move her show to early mornings, he said.
The station is expected to announce Mr. Donaldson's new program and new hosts for its "WMAL Morning News" show at a July 11 press conference.
The changes represent the latest schedule tinkering at WMAL, which once ruled Washington's airwaves with popular hosts such as Frank Harden and Jackson Weaver, but has lost audience share in recent years.
The station has scored impressive ratings in late afternoons since it added the syndicated "Sean Hannity Show" to its lineup last year. WMAL also carries Rush Limbaugh's talk show in early afternoons.
Other stations nationwide are dropping Mrs. Schlessinger's program or moving it to late night time slots, said Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers, an industry trade publication.
Mrs. Schlessinger's program lost some sponsors in 2000 and fell in the ratings after she made comments that were seen as critical of homosexuals, Mr. Harrison said.
"She's certainly down but not out. She's still a very successful talk-show host," he said.


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