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Saturday, September 25, 2004

Bill Ballance, 1919 - 2004

Bill BallanceBill Ballance, godfather of the raunchy radio show and distributor of dirty internet pictures, died Thursday, September 23rd in San Diego. He was 85 and still a dirty old man.

He is still remembered for his un-Christian radio show "Feminine Forum," which ran on KGBS, Los Angeles, from 1971 to 1973. Ballance encouraged women to call his show and talk about relationships, men, and their sex lives rather than church socials, choir practice, and diaper-changing. The show also encouraged a horde of imitators who lacked Ballance's verbal facility and made up for it with a raunchy style the FCC called "topless radio." Thus Ballance begat Tom Leykis, who begat Howard Stern, who begat Janet Jackson's nipple on live TV, which none of us have quite recovered from.

"Feminine Forum" was a daily five-hour show that attracted almost as many men as women, with Ballance usually taking the woman's side of the day's issue. Ballance also featured as a daily guest his paramour, Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Interestingly enough, Schlessinger's radio show today is the exact opposite of Ballance's shows of the 1970s: Schlessinger always takes the man's side of an argument and uses violent imagery to enforce religious conformity, as is Good and Right.

Schlessinger, once she reached national syndication and fame in the mid-1990s, then denied any connection with Ballance. To prove that their relationship was more than sharing a radio booth, Ballance sold naked photos of Schlessinger to Internet Entertainment Group and received $50,000 for them. (These pictures are still available to anyone who knows how to operate Google.)

Schlessinger was aghast. In a show of responsibility that would impress Republicans everywhere, she first denied that she was the woman in the photos, then admitted it but blamed her actions on feminism and the 1960s, and most of all, on Ballance. From the LA Times obituary:

Schlessinger said at the time, "I am mystified as to why, 23 years later, this 80-year-old man would do such a morally reprehensible thing." And according the same article, Ballance explained (while a guest on the Tom Leykis show):

"The fact is she told so many lies about our relationship. An example being our being together just a week or two and that she was on my show just a few days, or a few times rather. She was on my show for 2½ years. We went together for a torrid 2½ years. I'm tired of being lied about, and the longer it goes on the more people believe her."

Schlessinger will be forgiven her sins as soon as she embraces her Personal Savior. Ballance, of course, died without ever being washed in the Blood of the Lamb and is presently suffering in the Lake of Fire, with a view of the Active Volcano of Perdition.

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