Larry King

Are you curious? Larry King on “Wait, Wait” 2

I posted a few days ago about Larry King’s interview on NPR’s “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me” news quiz.  That post was about honesty.  This one’s about curiosity.

Peter Sagal said that for decades if someone in the news wanted to get their side of the story out, to talk directly to the people, they would go on the Larry King show.  Why?

“They knew they would be asked good questions” (at least that’s what Larry thinks).  Larry also said that he is “intensely curious about people.”  That’s a really good thing, and probably why people wanted to be on his show.

King has tapped into something that I think is rare.  People (myself included) like to talk about themselves.  So when people, like Larry, ask us good questions, we love it because we get to talk.  Ah, but here’s the rub, if everyone wants to talk, but no one wants to ask, we’ve got a problem.

So, people who are curious, particularly curious about people, not nosy, but genuinely interested in people, their background, thoughts, feelings, ideas, can deeply bless the people around them.  Curious people are focused on others.  They don’t need to talk about themselves.  They truly believe that people are fascinating and therefore worthy of attention.  Their curiosity leads them to keep asking questions.

Personally, I believe that people are made in God’s image, and therefore valuable and interesting.  Both my parents were always curious about others, but I am not as curious as I would like to be.

So, are you curious?  Why or why not?  How can we become more interested in others? 

Larry King on “Wait, Wait”

I listen to “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”, the NPR news quiz on my morning runs (or sometimes “Car Talk”).  It takes the focus off my pain.  Each week they invite a guest for “Not my job”.  On July 23, Larry King was on the show, and they asked King questions about being queen-QE2 that is.  (Recently, they asked Elvis Costello questions about the other Elvis…Stojko, the figure skater).  In my life I’ve probably watched Larry King for less than 10 minutes (he just retired), but he told a great story while on the show.

He talked about how he’d wanted to be on the radio since he was 5, and when he was finally offered a DJ job, 10 minutes before he was going to go on air they asked him what he was going to call himself.  He said, “Larry Zeigler”–his name.  They told him that wouldn’t work.  His boss flipped open the newspaper sitting on the desk and saw an ad for “King’s Wholesale Liquor.”  How about Larry King?  “OK” he said.

He started playing the music but was too nervous to saying anything between songs.  The show went on for a long time in silence, as if there were no host.  Finally, the general manager kicked open the door and says, “This is the communications business @#$% !  Communicate!”

At the next break between songs, King communicated, “Good morning.  My name is Larry King.  That’s the first time I’ve ever said that.  I’ve just been given that name.  I’ve always wanted to be on the radio, but I’m scared to death.  The general manager just kicked open the door and said I had to communicate.”  He told the “Wait, Wait” crowd that he discovered something that day, “If you’re honest with your audience you can never go wrong.”

They also asked why did he wear suspenders?  He got the idea from his ex-wife.  (Which one?)

I like Larry’s advice (that’s why I’m blogging about it), but what do you think?  Can you go wrong by being honest?