Larry King Show

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This article is about the radio show. For the TV show, see Larry King Live.

The Larry King Show was a radio talk show hosted by Larry King. It aired on the Mutual Broadcasting System from 1978 to 1994. A typical show consisted of King interviewing a guest, then taking phone calls from listeners for the guest, and then taking phone calls on any topic.[1] In 1982 the show won a Peabody Award.[2]

King interviewing Vladimir Putin

Origin[edit]

In 1978, King went from a local show in Florida to a national show, inheriting the nightly talk show slot on the Mutual Broadcasting System, broadcast coast-to-coast, that had been "Long John" Nebel's until his death, and "had been pioneered by Herb Jepko".[3] One reason King got the Mutual job is that he had once been an announcer at WGMA-AM in Hollywood, Florida, which was then owned by C. Edward Little. Little went on to become president of Mutual and was the one who hired King when Nebel died.[citation needed] King's Mutual show debuted in Miami, where King's first guest was football coach Don Shula. The show soon moved to Washington, D.C.,[4] and it developed a devoted audience.[5]

Show format[edit]

Mutual Radio broadcast the show live Monday through Friday from midnight to 5:30 a.m. Eastern Time. King would interview a guest for the first 90 minutes, with callers asking questions that continued the interview for another 90 minutes.[1] When he interviewed authors, King said that he would not read their book in advance, so that he would not know more about the book than his audience.[6][7] King said "The less I know, the better I feel about a person or book."[8]

King recalled that due to the number of calls coming in on the early days of the show "there was more than one occasion when [area code] 703 blew".[5] King said that they originally wanted a toll-free phone number for call-in, but came to believe that he got a better quality of calls when the callers had to pay.[8] When he did this show, King said that doing an overnight show meant that his work came at the end of his day, unlike for most people whose work came at the beginning of their day.[6] The show was successful, starting with relatively few affiliates and eventually growing to more than 500. It ran until 1994.[9] Once King started doing Larry King Live for CNN, he would do both shows in an evening.[7]

C-SPAN would annually record, and then repeatedly show, an entire show on cable TV.[10] Some years, C-SPAN would simulcast the broadcast, so that TV viewers could see the show live (as radio listeners normally heard it).[11][12]

Open Phone America[edit]

At 3 a.m., he would allow callers to discuss any topic they pleased with him,[5] until the end of the program, when he expressed his own political opinions. That segment was called Open Phone America. Many stations in the western time zones would carry Open Phone America live, followed by the guest interview on tape delay. Thus listeners from across the country could call into Open Phone America.[13]

Callers to the show would be told (on air) to call the number and "If it rings, let it ring. We'll answer when it's your turn."[14] Some of King's regular callers used the pseudonyms "The Numbers Guy",[15] "The (Syracuse) Chair",[16] "The Portland Laugher,"[5][17] "The Scandal Scooper,"[8] "The Miami Derelict,"[18] "The Todd Cruz Caller," "The Water Is Warm Caller", and "Mr. Radio". "Mr. Radio" made over 200 calls to King during Open Phone America.[citation needed]

Humor[edit]

King would occasionally entertain the audience by telling amusing anecdotes from his childhood, such as a story about he and his friends faking the death of a schoolmate.[19][20] The show also occasionally featured a "fictional alien, Gork of the planet Fringus",[21] "who supposedly existed one year in the future, giving highlights of the coming year on Earth."[22][23]

Final year[edit]

The primary guest host had been Jim Bohannon, who was also hosting his own Saturday evening call-in show.[24] In 1993 Westwood One, which had purchased Mutual in 1985, moved Larry King to an afternoon time slot and offered Bohannon his own show in King's late evening time slot. So the show was moved to afternoons, but, because most talk radio stations at the time had an established policy of local origination in the time-slot (3 to 6 p.m. Eastern Time) that Mutual offered the show, many of King's overnight affiliates declined carrying his daytime show[25] and it was unable to generate the same audience size.[citation needed] The afternoon show was given to David Brenner in 1994,[26][27] and radio affiliates were given the option of carrying the audio of King's new CNN evening television program. The Westwood One radio simulcast of King's CNN show continued until December 31, 2009.[28]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Listen! You're going to hear things you've never heard before". dcrtv.com Photo Gallery. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "The Peabody Awards - The Larry King Show". 
  3. ^ "Mutual Broadcasting System". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "The Nine Lives Of Larry King". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Midnight Snoozer". Harvard Crimson. November 22, 1982. 
  6. ^ a b "Larry King Mutual Radio 1982". YouTube. 
  7. ^ a b "The Man Who Can`t Stop Talking Starting In South Florida, Larry King Has Been Live And On The Air For More Than 30 Years. On Radio And Tv, When The King Of Talk Speaks, The World Listens.". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c "Toledo Blade - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  9. ^ http://affiliates.westwoodone.com/talk/larry-king-bio.asp
  10. ^ "Larry King Radio Show in 1982". YouTube. C-SPAN. 
  11. ^ "Day Larry King - Video - C-SPAN.org". C-SPAN.org. 
  12. ^ "Larry King Show - Video - C-SPAN.org". C-SPAN.org. 
  13. ^ "Listeners pay close attention to late-night radio broadcast". Newspapers.com (Gettysburg Times). March 22, 1982. p. 13. 
  14. ^ "Larry King radio broadcasting nostalgia". 
  15. ^ "Technical Correction / "The Numbers Guy" And Wall Street". SFGate. November 21, 2000. 
  16. ^ King, Larry (2010-04-20). My Remarkable Journey. ISBN 1602861234. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  17. ^ King, Larry (2010-04-20). My Remarkable Journey. ISBN 1602861234. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  18. ^ King, Larry; Yoffe, Emily (1984). Larry King. ISBN 9780425068311. 
  19. ^ King, Larry (2010-04-20). My Remarkable Journey. Google books. ISBN 1602861234. 
  20. ^ "The Nine Lives Of Larry King". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  21. ^ "King of the Brooklyn Celebrity Path". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 
  22. ^ "Larry, Sylvia, and Gork". International Skeptics Forum. 
  23. ^ King, Larry; Yoffe, Emily (1984). Larry King. ISBN 9780425068311. 
  24. ^ http://affiliates.westwoodone.com/talk/jim-bohannon-bio.asp
  25. ^ "Larry King Will Be Heard In Daytime, But Barely". Sun Sentinel. 
  26. ^ "Today's Talk-Radio Topic: The Future of Talk Radio". Los Angeles Times. 
  27. ^ "Latest Radio News, Talk Shows, Sports, Hosts, Personalities - AllAccess.com". All Access. 
  28. ^ "Westwood One Ends Larry King Show Simulcast". Radio Syndication Talk.