Larry King: Talk Radio 'Soapbox for Screaming, Yelling Idiots' Like Limbaugh

Larry King: Talk Radio 'Soapbox for Screaming, Yelling Idiots' Like Limbaugh

Larry King may have had his beginnings in talk radio, but he is gravely disappointed in what it has become. In an interview with comedian Marc Maron, King lamented the current state of talk radio as a sea of “yelling idiots”–but praised Howard Stern’s “maturity.”

The near hour-long interview on Maron’s WTF podcast veers off into many directions–from King’s beginnings imitating radio announcers in his home to working as a DJ in Miami. “I didn’t know what CNN was, I didn’t have it in my home,” King explained of the time when Ted Turner hired him to begin his legendary program. He credits radio with giving him his career and acknowledges that “I get a lot of credit as the beginning of talk radio.”

At the 38-minute mark, Maron asks King whether he “like[s] what it evolved into.” King responds, aghast at the notion. “No, because it became a soapbox… screaming, yelling idiots and a lot of what I hear is talk nonsense, political crazies,” he lamented. While “NPR is good radio,” King cited “the Limbaughs” on the radio as “playing with a loose deck, and a lot of it is an act.”

King did not merely deride talk radio, though, and said that “some of them do good work,” like Howard Stern. “I came to respect Howard Stern… now I understand his maturity and he has matured.” He did note that he did not initially approve of Stern’s attitude but came to appreciate it. Conservative talk radio, however, is a bridge too far. 

King has never been consistently outspoken about his politics but has not shied from individual critiques, either, and, lest we forget, he was singing Ted Turner’s praises moments before turning on Rush Limbaugh.

King added that he was still uncomfortable with how casual talk radio has become over time, admitting that “whenever someone curses on the radio, it still drives me nuts.”

The full interview is posted at Marc Maron’s website.