Posted by madcityradio.com on November 16, 2008 at 17:52:16:
Delilah Says Radio Show Is 'Like My Sanctuary'
Thrice-Divorced Delilah Appeals to Millions of Lovesick Listeners
By NEAL KARLINSKY and ELOISE HARPER
In the dark of night her voice is a constant companion. From the lonely to the lovesick, even just the good old-fashioned sentimental, they all tune in to hear the woman known simply as "Delilah."
Every night on more than 250 radio stations she woos listeners with a soft touch that was once described as an all-night "chick flick."
"I know it sounds weird," Delilah told "Nightline." "The minute I walk in the studio and put my headphones on, I am in a good mood no matter what's going on in my life [or] what's going on in the world. It's like my sanctuary."
Standing nearly 6 feet tall, the 48-year-old woman born Delilah Rene Luke has in fact turned a recipe of schmaltzy love talk, relationship advice and sappy love songs into a playbook for one of the most successful radio shows in America.
"It blows me away the number of truck drivers or macho guys that will call and then I start peeling back the layers and I find out they've been listening to me for 10 or 15 years and they know every lyric to every sappy song," she said.
'I Get More Calls From Men'
The typical Delilah caller is not who you might think.
"Oddly enough, even though our show is structured around women, our target audience is women, I get more calls from men every night than women," she said.
She broadcasts her sultry brand of wisdom from a private studio in Seattle where a small army of Delilah staffers fine-tune the show for broadcasts across the United States and Canada. This includes screening thousands of calls and emails, many of which take on a familiar theme -- relationship troubles.
A trademark of the show is a steady diet of every love song imaginable. Delilah relished the over the top, drippy feel to the music that many would find better suited for an elevator than an iPod.
Music is the soundtrack for a show that Delilah says is all about love. She likes to say, "love is all that matters," and she talks about it with the confidence of a woman who seems to know the secret to it.
'I've Messed up Every Relationship'
Of course reality is a bit more complicated. "I was attracted to the bad boys, the troublemakers," Delilah admits. "You know, the ones that were really cute but didn't come home. So I have a couple of failed marriages under my belt, but that's OK."
For Delilah, finding love has been hard at times. "I was 25 when my first husband walked out of the house and left me with a 10-month-old. And a house payment and a car payment. But suffice it to say I have a lot of love in my life."
She's been divorced three times and known more than her share of struggles which included being fired from a string of radio jobs between failed marriages.
"I've messed up every relationship," she said, laughing. "I tell that to people when they call in and say we need your advice, need your help and I always say, 'have you not listened to me? Have you not heard that I've messed up every relationship I've ever been in?"
The one relationship she says she hasn't messed up is the one she has with her kids, all 10 of them. They range in age from 28 all the way down to 4. She has adopted several children from Africa.
They live with her on a lush estate filled with horses and in a house that shows off the fruits of a career that has turned into an enormous success.
A New Book: A Simple Lesson
The woman who couldn't hold down a job, a husband, or a full bank account for much of her adult life is now a multi-millionaire and bona fide powerhouse in the world of radio.
"My wildest dreams have come true times a million," she said. "I have more than one million listeners... so I definitely feel a sense of responsibility to pay back to help others."
Delilah has bought houses for friends and family, hired loyal listeners as part of her staff and made frequent trips to Africa where she hasn't ruled out adopting even more kids. She has a book as well, called "Love Matters."
Harlequin, famous for publishing over the top fictional love stories, took one look at Delilah's success with real life love tales, and signed her to a book deal.
As she mingled with fans at a recent book signing, it was obvious that she seems to touch people so deeply. "Sometimes you're listening at midnight, driving home from someplace and you get so into the story you almost have to pull over the side of the road and get yourself together," said Bonnie Dempewol, a regular listener.
She's as comfortable with a small crowd as she is on the air. This woman who's been called the "Oprah of radio" may not have all the answers in her own life, but she has found happiness. And she wants to share it, with a few million of her closest friends.
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