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Media Life: Auburn has a new way to avoid The Rush -- Laura Ingraham

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Conservative talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh will soon be getting some right-wing competition when The Laura Ingraham Show goes live weekday mornings on Auburn’s KAHI 950. The station has been airing Ingraham’s passionately conservative take on national issues during its late-evening 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. slot. But station manager Jerry Henry said demand has been growing to move her into mornings and into live-time because the night shows are recordings from earlier in the day. Starting Monday, Ingraham will be blasting from the Beltway during the 9 a.m. to noon sweet spot for talkers. That has been Limbaugh’s national prime time since moving from Sacramento’s KFBK to New York in the late 1980s and eventual iconic status among Republicans. Younger and arguably more passionate in her patter, Ingraham has been carving out her own niche on the airwaves since launching the radio show eight years ago. “She has become very popular very quickly,” Henry said. “We’re lucky to have her.” Henry described the move to bring Ingraham onboard in the late morning as a strategy to protect its radio market as the station competes for listeners with others airing Limbaugh. They would be primarily Sacramento juggernaut KFBK and Nevada City’s KNCO. Thus the move, as Henry and KAHI put it, to “avoid the Rush.” Ingraham, 44, has the conservative cred that even Limbaugh can only dream of – including a stint as speechwriter in the Reagan Administration at the White House, law clerking with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and writing a book – “The Hillary Trap” – about Hillary Clinton. She’s also a popular – or unpopular, as the case may be – television commentator and frequent guest columnist in national publications. With the shift in KAHI programming, changes are being made in scheduling. Henry said one of the possible replacements for Ingraham in the evening is a syndicated sports talk show. That would mesh with the Oakland A’s, San Jose Sharks, Kings hoops and local-level sports already filling up many evenings, he said. There’s nothing definite on that yet, though. Dave Rosenthal, who has most recently been anchoring the 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. time period with news, weather, chat and more, will be bumped up to 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sports will be the focus for That Guy in the evening’s 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. hour. Mary Jane Popp, who has been on in the mornings will now move to 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., with a replay at 10 p.m. GETTING THE PICTURE One of the most important steps in the resurrection of Auburn’s State Theater as a movie house as well as performing arts center takes place in April. John Eickhof, owner of the ACE Theatre in Wendell, Idaho, will be furnishing two workhorse Simplex XL projectors to the Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center. Installation is slated to take place next month. The projectors will replace ones that were removed when Theresa Cote’s Old State Theater business departed in December after showing art-house flicks for the previous three years to appreciative but often sparse audiences. The projectors and a new screen will allow the non-profit arts center group to again put up a selection of specialty films on the silver screen. Plans are for a limited schedule at the 79-year-old Lincoln Way landmark. No time frame for when that will start has been identified. The 35 mm projectors arrive next month with a story. Restoring movies to the State Theater is taking some money and several local family funds have stepped up under the Placer Community Foundation umbrella. Local donors include the Constantino Family Fund, Janice L. Forbes Fund, the Placer Community Foundation Audience Development Fund and the Hideo Ray and Irene Yamasaki Family Fund. Tying it all together has been a no-interest loan from Patrice Taylor. KNUCKLEHEAD WATCH Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the bad guys to discover and deface the J.C. Hawver monument at the back of the In-N-Out Burgers parking lot. A plaque inset into a thumb-shaped boulder includes an engraved photo of Hawver. He was a dentist and amateur paleontologist who lived in Auburn a century ago and saved dozens of prehistoric fossils from being destroyed or buried. The monument was dedicated last week. Within days, the engraved photo had some deep scratches. Such a shame. The burger business went over and above what they had to in their effort to mark the spot where Hawver’s house once stood. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com.