September 17

Larry King offers advice, entertainment

first_imgLegendary CNN anchor Larry King spoke to a half-filled Bovard Auditorium Tuesday night, relaying humorous stories about his early life and his rise to fame, and also dispensing advice to aspiring journalists.Live · Larry King, host of CNN’s Larry King Live, spoke to a half-filled Bovard Auditorium on Tuesday. King told stories from his life and discussed the future of journalism. – Vicki Yang | Daily Trojan The event was sponsored by USC Program Board, who hoped King’s story would provide a valuable learning opportunity for communication and journalism students.King’s first experience as a broadcaster was at a small station in Miami Beach, Fla. on May 1, 1957. In the 53 years since then, he has conducted more than 40,000 interviews and won an Emmy and two Peabody awards.King began by telling the audience he hadn’t planned any of his speech, which consisted of tales from his youth. Throughout the speech he had the audience laughing and engaged.King never attended college, but he said he knew early on where he was going.“I always wanted to be a broadcaster,” he said.In 1957, he had a cleaning job at a Miami Beach radio station. One day, one of the radio personalities quit, so King, then known as Larry Zeiger, stepped in and soon gained local renown.King told the audience about his experiences giving speeches, including at the Miami Shores Country Club, whose members, he joked, were ultra-conservatives who “handed out baby pictures of Rush Limbaugh saying ‘he is born.’” He also spoke for the Mafia once, he said.King also told the story of the time he faked the death of his cousin in junior high school, saying that he and two friends collected $211 by asking for money to fund the funeral.When he was done telling personal stories, King took questions from the audience.“They charge this kind of tuition…” King started, laughing, when a microphone at the front of the auditorium wasn’t working.One student asked King where he predicted the media was going.“All of this overwhelms me — the Twitter, the Facebook,” King said. “Where is it going? I have no idea.”King said his producer runs his Twitter page and that he merely dictates what goes up online. He described Twitter as an “egomaniac’s heaven.”His advice for aspiring journalists was simply to focus on breaking into the business through any means possible.He added that the key to success is to be yourself.“The only secret in broadcasting is there’s no secret,” King said. “If you’re good enough, you’re good enough.”Though the rain may have kept some would-be audience members from attending the sold-out event, those who did come said they enjoyed King’s stories.“He’s way funnier than I was expecting,” said Katie Barker, a sophomore majoring in cinema production. “I really enjoyed his anecdotes about his personal life. You don’t get to hear that on his show.”Students were surprised with King’s persona compared to what they are used to seeing on T.V.“We got to see an aspect of his personality that doesn’t come through on T.V.,” said Greg Kestenbaum, a sophomore majoring in environmental studies. “He’s more jovial than I imagined.”USG Director Beibei Bai, who coordinated the event, said one of the reasons the Program Board chose King to speak for this event is his experience conducting tens of thousands of interviews. Bai said she thought the discussion would be relevant to journalism and communication majors.“I feel a lot of students don’t get the chance to talk to someone who’s an important figure in entertainment but on a serious note,” Bai said. “With King, it’s not purely entertainment.”last_img read more