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Talk Show Host Held for Allegedly Punching Colleague

Media: Radio's Riki Rachtman faces battery charge after confrontation with Douglas Steckler.

September 09, 1997|GREG BRAXTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Outrageous and loud talk from such personalities as shock jock Howard Stern is the order of the day at KLSX-FM (97.1). But on Monday, the station's prime-time host decided to let his fists do the talking.

Riki Rachtman, the host of "Riki Rachtman Radio" or, as he calls it, "The Triple R," was arrested on suspicion of battery after punching another host, Douglas Steckler, at the Wilshire Boulevard radio station near Koreatown, police said.

The showdown was part of an escalating feud between Rachtman, former host of "Loveline" on KROQ-FM (106.7), and late-morning hosts Steckler and his partner, Tim Conway Jr., who is the son of comedian Tim Conway.

Rachtman, 35, reportedly lived up to a threat to take on the pair, who he said on Friday's program had insulted his girlfriend and vandalized his desk.

During his Friday show, broadcast from 7 to 10 p.m., Rachtman said he would go to the station Monday and "cold-cock" Steckler and Conway if they didn't apologize. He also challenged them both to a fight inside a boxing ring.

"I'm not fooling around," the angry Rachtman said during the show. "This is not a bit." He became increasingly upset when he called his girlfriend during the show for support, only to have her accuse him of setting up the confrontation.

Around 11 a.m. Monday, Rachtman punched Steckler, 49, once in the face during an argument outside the studio where Conway and Steckler were hosting their show, station officials said.

Steckler was treated by paramedics at the scene and released, they said.

The heavily tattooed Rachtman was arrested by Los Angeles police officers after Conway, who witnessed the punch, made a citizens arrest. Rachtman was being held on $250 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned today in Los Angeles Municipal Court.

Station executives declined to comment, saying an investigation into the incident was pending.

Although hosts at the station have been known to insult each other on the air, the hostility between Rachtman and Conway and Steckler had taken a particularly nasty turn. Rachtman had referred to the pair as "Dorf Jr. and Grandpa," making fun of Steckler's age and a goofy character invented by the senior Conway.

In turn, Conway and Steckler had made fun of Rachtman's girlfriend, whose work in the adult-film business has been an occasional subject on Rachtman's program.

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