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Marie making airwaves as radio talk-show host

Program just one of busy mom's many ventures

Marie Osmond, 44, tapes her "Marie and Friends" radio show \\\\— which airs in 10 markets \\\\— in Provo.
Marie Osmond, 44, tapes her "Marie and Friends" radio show \\\\— which airs in 10 markets \\\\— in Provo.
Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News

The reception area in the Provo office building where Marie Osmond does her fledgling radio show pretty much tells the story of her professional life.

Gold records adorn the walls next to a photo of Donny and Marie. There are pictures of her at Disneyland with actor John Schneider and Mickey and Minnie Mouse under a Children's Miracle Network tote board. Copies of Doll Reader and Fortune Small Business magazines sit on a table.

The theme continues in the homey upstairs studio where she dons the headset for "Marie and Friends."

Mementos of firsts in her career line the walls: A copy of Donny and Marie on the cover of TV Guide. Her New York Times best-seller "Behind the Smile." Photos with Bob Hope, Ronald Reagan and Jay Leno. A Barbie-like Mattel doll in her likeness. A collectible doll she sculpted.

"I don't want it to look like a studio," she said. "I've been in enough studios in my life."

Since her well-publicized bout with postpartum depression, Osmond, 44, has moved into a new phase in her life. Radio is one of the few mediums in which she hadn't worked. Much of her show is devoted to women's and family issues — and her brand of cornball humor and quirky tidbits like dogs learning yoga.

"My feeling is if a dog can't do 'om,' it shouldn't be doing yoga," she said before pre-taping a program segment on a recent afternoon.

Though it is not her preferred place to live, Osmond and husband Brian Blosil relocated to Provo about three years ago feeling it was the place they should be. Shortly thereafter, her mother living nearby suffered a stroke from which she never fully recovered before her death in May.

With the death of her mother, Osmond has taken on the role of family matriarch. "I promised her I'd keep on eye on all of them," she said.

As a mother to eight children ages 21 years to 22 months of her own, Osmond says Utah Valley is the right place for now. Taping of her syndicated radio show, which airs in Utah from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on 97.8 FM, allows her plenty of time to be a mom.

"It's the hardest job out there. It's all hours. It's a 24/7 gig," she said.

Osmond said she wants her "children to be children," to play and get dirty, attend high school, go on dates and to proms — all the things that growing up in show business kept her from doing. When she turned 16 and was allowed to date, she said, boys didn't have her telephone number.

"My high school consisted of me, myself and I," she said.

Osmond doesn't do much singing or acting, though she is contemplating a Christmas album. But she has not lost the passion for performing.

"I've turned down numerous Broadway shows. It hurts. I love Broadway," she said. If she'd had her druthers, she would live in New York.

Osmond will hit the talk show circuit — "Today," "Larry King Live," "The View" — soon to promote her program, currently aired in 10 markets nationwide, along with a slew of other business endeavors.

"It's hard for me to just sit still," she said.

Osmond is turning her hobbies — skills like crafts and sewing her mother taught after long days at the old Osmond studio taping "Donny & Marie" — into businesses. Besides her successful doll enterprise, for which she has new collection, she'll soon have her own Bernina sewing machines on the market. She also recently signed deals for a line of fabric, yarn, buttons and scrapbooking kits.

She also will be hosting a TV series on health issues to be taped in Provo and aired on PAX and the Oxygen network beginning later this month.

Sounds like Osmond will need more room on her wall of firsts.