Pat Piper has made a career learning something new. As a journalist in the news business, “something new” occurs every hour so he’s becoming an expert at understanding stuff he never thought about. Learning became a common word in “Future Talk: Conversations About Tomorrow” (Warner Books), the popular book he ghostwrote with Larry King as […]

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    Archive for January, 2021

    Life with Larry

    By on January 23, 2021 in See It Here

    I produced Larry King’s overnight radio show for ten years (1984-1994).We took it on the road, traveling to affiliates around the country and did the show live in front of an audience.

    Some lessons from Larry, which wouldn’t work for everyone:

    He asked short questions. “I never learn when I’m talking.”

    He didn’t prepare for an interview. “The audience hasn’t read the book. Why should I?”

    I first heard him while working at a radio station in Gary, Indiana. After covering a city council meeting and then writing the stories for morning drive, I drove back to my apartment around 2am, listening to Larry on the radio (WCFL). Two police cars were sitting in the parking lot because of a robbery and a cop asked me to stay in the car. He heard Larry on my radio and said “That’s a great show. He asks good questions.”

    I was with him at George Washington University Hospital in 1987 when he was in the emergency room. Two doctors looked at an echocardiogram, then looked at Larry. As they approached, he said “this ain’t gonna be good.” One doctor said, “Mr. King you’re having heart attack.”

    “Am I going to die?”

    “Well, you’re in the best place to be having one.”

    “Should I cancel my lunch reservation at Duke Zeibert’s (a DC power lunch restaurant)?”

    The doctor smiled and said, “That’s a good idea Larry.”


    By on January 16, 2021 in See It Here

    I’ve worked in journalism for more than 4 decades (five, if you count an interview I did in high school with a WLS disc jockey named Larry Lujack).

    This includes inaugurations.

    Ronald Reagan was sworn in for a second term in 1985 when the temperature was 7 degrees and the event was moved inside to the Capitol rotunda. From the Department Of No Kidding (also called “DONK”), it’s different now.

    I stood on a side street looking at the Capitol yesterday, while  thinking of the crowds I saw during an inauguration, including the last time when the topic was how many more people showed up as compared to Obama. We should have seen this coming.

    I remember conversations with complete strangers, many speaking in broken English, as we looked at the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol Dome. It was a moment of “us” here in the U.S.

    The optimist inside says it will happen again. The pessimist says yeah, but it’s going to take a long time. Put another way, different people need to talk to each other because though they are looking at the same thing, they are seeing it differently.

    A No Witter for Twitter

    By on January 11, 2021 in See It Here

    Our president (don’t do the “he’s not my president” routine) is ticked that social media platforms have banned him from talking to his supporters. Both Twitter and Facebook made the right call.

    If President Trump has something of note to offer each of us, he can’t fall back on the “free speech” routine. First of all, his tweets are certainly not “of note” because they are based on fantasy land, no facts and BS. Aside from that, they’re fine.

    In these remaining days, he has use of the White House briefing room where he can make a statement and walk out. Or he can make the use of the same venue , make a statement and then take questions. That’s freedom of speech too. I hope he does the latter. And we all know he won’t do that.

    I think Alfred Hitchcock is running things for the next few days.