When KABC Suddenly Divorced Larry Elder, Not a Single Curious Tongue Clucked

Ari L. NoonanEditor's Essays

This has been a lonely and disappointing week for the huge audience of the departed KABC radio drive-time talk show host Larry Elder, the first time in 15 years the Sage from South Central has been off the air in his hometown.

Surprisingly, he was fired.

This is not yet confirmed, but the body of supporting evidence is convincing.

Why didn’t anybody in media notice?

For those of us who value candor, serious, independent, mature political and cultural insights, Mr. Elder’s sudden subtraction from the airwaves is a foot to the stomach.

He was the best there is at talk-radio in this fast emptying-out town, or, arguably, anywhere west of Maine.

The only Los Angeles-based talker even in his area code is Dennis Prager. It was Mr. Prager who discovered Mr. Elder in Cleveland in the early ‘90s, rescued him and brought him back to the town where the Sage from South Central blossomed into manhood under the guidance of a mother and father who qualified for the Model Parents Hall of Fame.

Lefties Look the Other Way

The main reason much mystery envelopes his recent whereabouts is purely because Mr. Elder is the oddest of earthlings, a black conservative.

Being a conservative in this squishy liberal town is bad enough. He compounded this nearly unforgivable moral gaffe by belonging to a race barred from conservative membership. Being a black conservative is like showing up at the prom with mumps. You ain’t welcome. And for heaven’s sakes, don’t touch me.

Fellow blacks, aided by white mental robots from the left, briefly drove Mr. Elder off the air a few years ago. But sanity does prevail occasionally in Los Angeles.

Trained in the law, and it shows, his scholarly mind is viewable through a picture-window, such is his bell-clanging clarity. He is so rhetorically astute that President-elect Obama would retreat with his now-trademark stutter, “N-n-n-no, thank you.”

The sheer courage of his independent self-made character surely inspires black boy and girl students who dare to think for themselves.

A Profile in Bravery

If you think it doesn’t take extraordinary bravery to face down the political black yahoos in this town and their lily-white Amen Chorus, you do not know Los Angeles culture or Larry Elder.

Mr. Elder was and is reviled by the left wing-controlled Establishment in this town. Our kind-minded liberal friends in Hollywood and the media dictated long ago that every black toady in Los Angeles owes his soul to the Democratic Party — or else. You have not seen rivers of Elder praise, or more than a bare notice written off the radio, flowing through the rivulets of the only newspaper in this town because those liberal boobs only watch MTV.

The radio station has clamped an obsessively tight lid on its reasons for forcing him out. Understandably, with his future in mind, so has Mr. Elder.

Last Friday’s farewell was tied up with so many pretty ribbons that it was darned near, but not quite, plausible.

Until last Friday, he was the premier Los Angeles-based talk show host, a designation that used to be prestigious. But now it is like saying we are the finest newspaper on Overland Avenue. Ain’t no competition from the boobs and boobettes.

Good ratings be darned.

KABC’s Shriveling Personality

Speculation for his firing centers on two reasons, in order: Unloading his considerable salary in financially slippery times, and dumping a tough bargainer who, management thought, had become too difficult of a personality.

KABC-AM’s once rich lineup is down to a thin two in-studio hosts, Doug Mcintyre in the morning and Al Rantel in Mr. Elder’s old drivetime, 3 to 7, weekday slot. Everybody else is piped in. This maneuver reduces KABC’s once hefty payroll to pocket-change.

Since Mr. Elder is the antithesis of its kind of guy, the Los Angeles Times has remained completely incurious about his vanquishment at the height of his career.

In the good old days at the Herald-Examiner, my late sports editor used to say that if the Times, down the street, ever opened a Los Angeles bureau, it was doubtful we could stay alive long enough to compete. They didn’t, and we did.

Nothing has changed since the 1960s. Everything out of town is fit to print, but hardly anything locally is deemed newsworthy.

Much of the Los Angeles Times these days is written by reporters from its bankrupt parent, the Chicago Tribune. But, my dear Murgatroyd, may I console you with the news that if it happens in Chicago, we are the first to know?