10 Questions for Leslie Marshall

1. What made you decide to get into radio? How about switching to talk radio?

I wanted to be on television actually. I first wanted to do news. I decided to go the path of radio as Larry King, Sally Jessy, and Phil Donahue had. While doing news anchoring on WNWS radio in Miami in the late 80’s I was asked to fill in for a talk host who was out sick. I was petrified… Didn’t think I could talk for that long (for those that know me that is hysterical!)… And I was hooked! Been doing it ever since.

2. About what are you most passionate these days?

My children, my marriage, my country, traveling, and shoes of course! More specifically… I adopted a child from Pakistan and am involved assisting others adopt from that country which is not easy to do. I am interested in raising both money and awareness for Canavansa disease which my first child died from. I try to get involved in projects where I can make a difference.

3. Your career has spanned a period of time during which talk radio changed from politically diverse (on each station) to polarized became what some might call more strident and otherwise evolved into what it is now. What’s the biggest change you’ve noted from when you were at WNWS in Miami to today?

Wow great question! The biggest change is that liberals and conservatives are on different radio stations. For years we were all under one roof and might I add radio stations had larger audiences higher ratings and made more money then too! Now it is polarized and that’s a shame. I have Peoples from all sides of an issue and that is what America truly is about isn’t it?

4. Do you think the election will change talk radio? If so how? Do you see Obama being in the White House as good bad or indifferent for liberal talk radio?

I thought it would but I don’t think so. There is this misconception out there that the audience wants all right/conservative talk all the time. And it’s just not true. The election proved that but most program directors either don’t believe it or are too afraid to change it. It’s the old perception versus reality in talk radio that is still here. Hopefully in the next 4-6 perhaps 8 years things will turn back to where talk radio was which was program directors hiring great talk hosts regardless of their opinions. Remember it’s the way the opinion is expressed that the Peoples are listening to. The Entertainment. Like my mother used to say: “It’s not what you say but how you say it!”

5. It’s easy to pigeon hole some hosts as conservatives or liberals. How do you describe your own politics? Is there room for hosts who can’t be defined as entirely one ideology or the other?

I am pigeon holed as a liberal. I am a Democrat but I have voted Independent and Republican in the past. I am a liberal on most issues but I believe in capital punishment and think chain gangs would deter more criminals. And I am not alone. I know Democrats who own guns and Republicans who are pro-choice. So my answer to this would be: I am a realist like most Americans. Personally I am liberal on most social issues conservative on fiscal issues and on crime and moderate on a few issues as well. I guess you would say I’m honest. Yes there is room for hosts who can’t be defined. I used to be one myself but when the boss says “pick a side if you want to keep your job”… I’m still working right?

6. Who are your inspirations mentors and influences in the business?

I am blessed to have so many….

Alan Colmes — I consider to be brilliant funny and he is one of the nicest people I know. I am honored to have him as a good friend and he lets me sit in for him while he’s on vacation!

Jim Bohannon — I sit in for him from time to time toobut Jim has always helped me both as a friend and in my career. He has great wisdom in this business.

Larry King — helped me early in my career and I learned a lot from his career.

John Harper — saw in me a talk host and gave me my start in talk radio- I can’t thank him enough for helping me to find my passion.

And just a few with no explanation (some may be shocked when they read this!) Randy Michaels, Mike Elder, Chuck Finney, Al Mayers, Maurice Tunick, Michael Castello, Jack Swanson, David G. Hall and Mark Austin Thomas. All those mentioned here helped me to become a better talk host. Each of them taught me things I keep with me to this day.

7. Of what are you most proud? (It wasn’t the time you mooned your PD was it?)
(Ha ha… how did you know I mooned my PD? ) Wow… personally I am proud of the fact that I’m finally a mom. It took adopting and 13 IVF cycles… but it worked! Professionally… I am proud that I got to achieve some of my goals so far. One was to be nationally syndicated by 40. I was syndicated by 30 and now am syndicated again. And also that I’m still standing… and that’s no small feat for a female who is a liberal and a Democratas they say.

8. Picking up on the president’s theme what gives you hope these days?

With the economy and the housing market it seems we are at rock bottom my hope is the only way to go from here is up. Also that America will become more united focus on our likeness rather than our differences and become more tolerant human beings.

9. Fill in the blank: I can’t make it through the day without ______________.

…my grande breve latte! That and “Law & Order” reruns!

10. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? The worst?

BEST: Believe in yourself even if no one else does.

WORST: Why don’t you just find a nice man get married and make babies little lady?

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