Elder says time is right

The con­ser­va­tive com­men­ta­tor is back on KABC-AM for a week­day show that he says will tackle the is­sues of the day.

Los Angeles Times - - Calendar - Greg Brax­ton greg.brax­ton@latimes.com

Larry Elder, the self-pro­claimed “Sage from South Cen­tral,” has heard you missed him. Now he’s back.

Elder, the African Amer­i­can talk-show host who fre­quently pro­voked black lis­ten­ers with his con­ser­va­tive views dur­ing his 15-year stint on KABC-AM (790), is re­turn­ing Mon­day to the sta­tion he abruptly left al­most two years ago. He will take over the 9 a.m. to noon week­day slot va­cated Fri­day by the more light­hearted “Frosty, Heidi and Frank” show.

“I’m tanned, rested and ready,” Elder quipped last week in a phone in­ter­view, echo­ing the oft-told one­liner about for­mer Pres­i­dent Nixon on his po­lit­i­cal avail­abil­ity af­ter his im­peach­ment. Elder added in a more se­ri­ous tone, “[KABC] ap­proached me, and I was ready to get back in the game. I think I have been missed, and I be­lieve I will be wel­comed and em­braced.”

His re­turn to KABC, where he for­merly oc­cu­pied the af­ter­noon drive-time slot, will bring a more uni­fied con­ser­va­tive tone to the sta­tion, which is also home to com­men­ta­tors Sean Han­nity and Mark Levin, said pro­gram di­rec­tor Jack Sil­ver, who took charge of pro­gram­ming two months ago.

“We will have a more con­sis­tent lineup with per­son­al­i­ties that have the same sort of mind-set,” said Sil­ver, a for­mer pro­gram di­rec­tor at the free­wheel­ing (and now de­funct) talk sta­tion KLSXFM (97.1). “This will be great, es­pe­cially since we’re do­ing this be­fore the Novem­ber elec­tions.”

Elder left KABC in De­cem­ber 2008, a few weeks af­ter the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion: “My con­tract was up, the pre­vi­ous man­age­ment and I couldn’t come to terms on an agree­ment and there were other things I wanted to do.” He at­tempted to es­tab­lish a we­b­cast and wrote opin­ion col­umns for var­i­ous pub­li­ca­tions.

Much of the time was spent writ­ing an au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal ac­count of his rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with his fa­ther af­ter a 10-year es­trange­ment. He hopes for the book to be pub­lished next year around Fa­ther’s Day.

Time away from the mi­cro­phone cer­tainly doesn’t seem to have mel­lowed Elder, who is a reg­is­tered Repub­li­can but la­bels him­self a lib­er­tar­ian.

An op­po­nent of govern­ment pro­grams that man­date pref­er­en­tial race-based hir­ing prac­tices, Elder was also a re­lent­less critic of Barack Obama dur­ing his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. “I’ve been vindi­cated,” he said. “I pre­dicted he would be a dis­as­ter, and he has been.”

Re­fer­ring to his out­spo­ken­ness, he said, “I just call it the way I see it, and that’s un­set­tling to some peo­ple. I will still be provoca­tive and con­tro­ver­sial. When I take a point of view, I like to think that it’s well thought out and rea­son­able. I might con­vince that guy in the car who’s lis­ten­ing to me to re­think his as­sump­tion.”

The host was prob­a­bly best known for his sear­ing ex­changes with black lis­ten­ers over his out­spo­ken crit­i­cism of black politi­cians and other African Amer­i­cans who he main­tained whined about not get­ting more op­por­tu­ni­ties when they should be more self-re­liant and take more ini­tia­tive. He ridiculed black lead­ers such as the Rev. Jesse Jack­son, the Rev. Al Sharp­ton and Rep. Max­ine Wa­ters (D-Los An­ge­les). Some black callers branded him an “Un­cle Tom,” which only added fuel to Elder’s fire.

In his new slot, Elder will be com­pet­ing against Rush Lim­baugh. The lat­ter’s show airs lo­cally on KFI-AM (640), the top-rated talk sta­tion in the L.A.-Orange County mar­ket.

Sil­ver said, “This will make sense for Larry be­cause Rush has a na­tion­ally syndi­cated show while Larry will be lo­cal.”

“I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to talk­ing about cor­rup­tion in Bell, the ‘as­sas­si­na­tion’ of the Gu­atemalan im­mi­grant by po­lice in MacArthur Park, Iran, ev­ery­thing,” Elder said.

Asked how he thinks lis­ten­ers will feel about his re­turn, Elder didn’t miss a beat.

“I be­lieve they’ll say, ‘Thank God you’re back.’ ”

HOST: Larry Elder says Pres­i­dent Obama has been “a dis­as­ter.”

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