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Interview with Larry King

American TV and radio host, actor, and comedian Larry King recently joined Warren Lawrence on the morning show to chat about his legendary interviewing career and style.

You can listen to the entire interview here:

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Larry first started in radio when a CBS staff announcer happened to meet King by chance and suggested he go to Florida, at the time a growing market with options for inexperienced broadcasters.  Larry went to Miami where the manager of WAHR (now WMBM) in Miami Beach hired him to clean up and help out with various other tasks.  King got his first on-air opportunity on May 1, 1957 when he was given a late morning show role after a station regular announcer quit.  In that spot, King worked as DJ from 9 AM – 12 Noon, while also doing two afternoon newscasts and a sportscast daily.

He started doing interviews on a mid-morning show for WIOD, at Pumpernik’s Restaurant in Miami Beach.  He would interview anyone who walked in. His first interview was with a waiter at the restaurant. Two days later, singer Bobby Darin, in Miami for a concert later that day, walked into Pumpernik’s as a result of coming across King’s show on his radio; Darin became King’s first celebrity interview guest.

Larry King Photo:  Jordan Strauss
Larry King
Photo: Jordan Strauss

King first went national on January 30, 1978, with a nightly Mutual Broadcasting System coast-to-coast broadcast, inheriting the talk show slot that had been “Long John” Nebel’s until his death, and had been pioneered by Herb Jepko.  King’s Mutual show developed a devoted audience, a show that ran until 1994.

He started his Larry King Live CNN show in June 1985, hosting a broad range of guests from controversial figures of UFO conspiracy theories and alleged psychics, to prominent politicians and leading figures in the entertainment industry, often doing their first or only interview on breaking news stories on his show. After doing his CNN show from 9-10pm, King would then travel to his Mutual Radio office to do his radio show, when both shows still aired.

Unlike many interviewers, King has a direct, non-confrontational approach. His reputation for asking easy, open-ended questions has made him attractive to important figures who want to state their position while avoiding being challenged on contentious topics.  King has said that when interviewing authors, he does not read their books in advance, so that he will not know more than his audience.

Throughout his career King has interviewed many of the leading figures of his time. According to CNN, King has performed more than 30,000 interviews in his career

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