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Dean Edell goes network

Dean Edell goes network — The radio and TV personality has been dispensing medical advice to strangers over the airwaves for the past 14 years

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When radio and TV personality Dr. Dean Edell walks the streets of San Francisco, people don’t ask for his autograph. They point to parts of their bodies and say, ”Ooh, it hurts here — what is that?”

That’s because Edell has been dispensing medical advice to strangers over the airwaves for the past 14 years; his nationally syndicated call in program is the second-highest-rated radio talk show (after the Rush Limbaugh Show). This summer, NBC is giving Edell — who has appeared on local and syndicated TV — a 13-week network tryout with Doctor Dean, a talk show on health-related issues. In the program’s first weeks, the good doctor has tackled such provocative topics as AIDS, PMS, sex after menopause, and Nobel prize-winner sperm banks.

”I’m not afraid of pushing the limits a little bit,” says the Cornell- trained Edell, 51, who practiced eye surgery before finding his true calling in 1978, answering listeners’ medical questions on a Sacramento, Calif., country & western station. ”I think people are too afraid of their bodies. That fear can sometimes be deadly.”

Divorced, with five sons, Edell often fields outrageous sex-related questions from the anonymous callers to his radio show. In Doctor Dean‘s ”video house calls” segment, he answers tamer — but still pressing — videotaped queries about love handles, migraines, and burps. Quips Edell: ”It’s America’s Sickest Home Videos.”