“Frasier” Type Takes Dr. Laura’s KPIX Slot”

Frasier Crane

Kelsey Grammer plays Dr. Frasier Crane on "Frasier."

The final topic on the Dr. Tara Fields show this day: sexless sleep-overs. “This is apparently a trend right now, and it makes a lot of sense to me, says Fields, a Marin County therapist who took over Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s old time slot from noon to 3 p.m. on KPIX-FM (95.7) two weeks ago.

Fields, whose soft and friendly style is in sharp contrast to the opinionated Schlessinger, now on KGO-AM (810), is finding her way. Think Oprah or Phil Donahue.

“Some people like to be told what told do, others want advice,” said KPIX general manger Blaise Howard. “Tara is more liberal, she fits in with the Bay Area lifestyle.”

Two weeks ago she made what she calls a huge commitment when she took the job at KPIX, filling the daily three-hour slot.

“I’ve never signed a contract in my life,” she said. “This is really my first full-time job and I’m taking this very seriously.”

She and Schlessinger do not know each other and Fields does not take the opportunity to bash her rival, who is fast becoming a household name. “My style is not as black and white,” she says. “Laura has an agenda; I treat each person as an individual.

Joseph is on Line 4. He wants to talk about infidelity, an earlier topic this day. Cheating, says Dr. Tara, sounding a little like Dr. Laura, is always wrong. The caller admits he’s cheated on his girlfriend, who knows about his dalliances but doesn’t want to hear the details. Joseph feels vindicated. “I’ve cheated, but not openly,” he says.

“What does that mean? You’ve never cheated in wide-open pastures? Fields replies. “Please don’t tell me you are trying to justify this.”

He interrupts her. “Let me finish,” he snaps. “OK, I’ll shut up,” Fields says. Later, she scolds him, gently as can be. “Joseph, can I talk now? You sound like a smart guy, but you are acting like a jerk.”

Fields press release heralds her as the “Frasier” of the Bay Area. It’s not far from the truth, and she’ll buy it. “But I have a better relationship with my dog and more hair.”

By Sylvia Rubin
Chronicle Staff Writer