Today: Jun 18, 2024

Students remember Larry King and his legacy

Donovan Wilson Reporter

On January 23rd, the world lost one of its most famed journalists and interviewers, Larry King. 

Larry King was born as Lawrence Zeiger, a name unlike the one he has been known under for years. Larry was simply short for Lawrence and King came about when he was recommended to pick a less complicated last name and chose a name he saw from a liquor store. Within two years, he legally changed his name to Larry King and thus a legacy was subsequently born.  

 King began his career as a radio anchor, hosting a roster of different shows over the years before his transition to television. Once on TV, it was there that King really took off, and he was the host of two extremely popular news shows: “The Larry King Show” and “Larry King Live.” The interviews and style of reporting in these shows would cement him in the journalism world. 

“I think he definitely was a very successful interviewer and I’m sure many people who are into podcasts nowadays took note from him. He was sort of a pioneer in that field so I’m sure he had some impact around interview podcasts for sure,” rec and leisure studies major Paige Tetro, a senior, said. 

In 2012, King launched a show titled “Larry King Now which featured a simple talk show set-up and was much like his older show “The Larry King Show, but a more intimate and laid back in tone. During this show’s run, King started to interview famous rappers of the time like Mac Miller and KYLE, a practice very different than a lot of his contemporaries were used to. This show ended up in a lot of ways creating the framework for the podcast craze that would soon ramp up around 2019 and more specifically, music oriented podcasts such as No Jumper.  

King was never afraid to interview those he felt needed to be, whether or not it seemed conventional or possibly even safe. A notable example of this is his interview with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, an infamous dictator who is seen as quite dangerous and shifty in the public’s eye. Another notable example is his interview with the surgeon who administered plastic surgery to Kanye West’s mother, Donda West – the plastic surgery that would end up killing her. 

“He got me into baseball. My grandpa watched him a lot and he always talked about the Dodgers. In college, I watched a lot of Larry King and he was always talking about the Dodgers,”  computer information systems major Matt Widlar, a senior, said.  

King covered a wide array of topics over the 40 years of his career, from music to sports to politics to everything in between. This allowed him to influence as many people as possible as he probably had an interview for just about anyone audiences could hope for at some point in time. As time went on, he embraced pop culture and it helped to not only diversify his audience but the audiences of the various music and film-centric celebrities he interviewed. 

“In a day in age when the truth is so blatantly assaulted by propaganda, we must remember Mr. King,” Aidan Coleman, an SGA representative, said.  

Larry King created a movement of a certain human touch to the way journalists conduct interviews which has blossomed into communities upon communities of podcasters and young journalists that wouldn’t otherwise exist. 

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