Women is...: Radio host, Dr. Laura Schlessinger

Radio host, Dr. Laura Schlessinger

born: In Brooklyn, to a Jewish father and an Italian mother, in 1947.

education: Ph.D., physiology, from Columbia. Post-doc work in marriage and family therapy at USC.

her formula: She gained ratings and market share by sidestepping the typical "nice" shtick of other hosts and taking a tough look at personal issues. Says hers is not one of those "pure shrink shows, which tend to be exceptionally liberal and exceptionally men-bashing -- I bash everyone." Combines non-discriminating advice, with traditional morals and ethics. "My views are extremely healthy," she says.

what else: Has written two books -- the first, "Ten Stupid Things Women Do," crept slowly up the best-seller list as her show expanded into new markets. Her new book, "How Could You Do That?!" (left), debuted at No. 3.
the next step: More of the same. She's been approached by TV producers, but has decided against the tube. "I love radio. I like the immediacy, the intimacy and the power of the three hours, just people and me, without any foo-fah or necessity for visuals, garbage. To me, that all detracts."

web site: None, but many stations brag about her.

the competition: "Mostly I hear yelling and screaming, very little content, the host usually has very little knowledge. They're just there to get ratings by ranting and raving and stirring the pot and getting people's emotions revved. And they call that radio. I call that an abuse of airwaves."

making it as a broadcaster: She may be a role model for some, but Dr. Laura doesn't advise trying to follow in her footsteps. "You can't use my career as a blueprint, because this is bizarre. My life is bizarre. A woman talkin' tough? And a shrink? Shrink shows have failed nationally. So, you gonna put on another shrink show? That fails! You gonna put on a woman, and she's not sounding so maternal and sweetsy? Never. It's been the story of my life. There's always a set of rules, and then there's me. I like that."
household: Husband and manager Lew Bishop, and son, Deryk, 10.

balancing career and family: While most broadcasters move around, from station to station, from morning to night shows, Dr. Laura held out for breaks in LA. Broadcasts from home. "I was not willing to move. I was not willing to take a different time slot. I never put my career ahead of everything else. I still don't. My career is not ahead of my family."

raising kids: "I yell at both moms and dads. I don't care, flip a coin, but somebody ought to be home (with the kids)."

if she weren't on the air: In her pre-radio days, she taught at the university level, but she wouldn't go back: "The way universities are being run now, there's no place for somebody like me...No, I'd be in rabbinical school."