by Greg Meakin
Conservative radio host Lars Larson stands hovering over a laptop, headset on. He doesn’t sit for a moment. Taking an on-air call from one of his listeners, he delivers conversation with passion, while continuously scanning his show’s inbound emails. He replies to an email or two, while chatting with the listener about politics. Not a wasted moment for this workaholic 59 year old.
Based in Portland Oregon, Larson is hosting a remote radio show at an outdoor equipment and tractor dealer in Longview, Washington. He looks calm, focused, and right at home. He is set up in the showroom of the business, and a score of people watch him, listen to him, and line up for a photo with him.
During commercial breaks, he keeps working. Posing for photos with fans, scooting back to the laptop to check emails, obliging autograph seekers, and answering small-talk questions from bystanders.
Having listened to his show for years, it is my first time meeting Lars personally. I am taken aback the minute I arrive. This is no ordinary radio guy. Not even close.
What radio guy wears a gun on his hip? The laid back plaid shirt and jeans, the easy demeanor on air, and a good ol’ pistol on his belt. He looks like he’d be comfortable in an old episode of Bonanza.
But he ain’t Ben Cartwright. Lars Larson’s Ponderosa is his radio world, his listeners are his wranglers. As I watch him work, one clear thought comes to mind: This guy is American. Completely and utterly American.
When asked if he was enjoying his visit to the vastly Republican Longview Washington, Larson pauses for a moment, and a slight smile creeps into the conversation. “It’s nice being away from the Lib world of Portland” he quips.
Larson has his code words that give away his political leanings. Lib is liberal, or course. The Daily Fish Wrapper is the Oregonian, an historically left-leaning Portland newspaper. Chicken Noodle News is his lofty journalistic description of CNN.
But what differentiates this “right wing” radio guy from most is his open door to detractors and naysayers. Naysayers always go to the head of the line is a Larson trademark, welcoming spirited on-air debate. His First Amendment Fridays formalize his commitment to hear all points of view, especially naysayers.
He is much more patient with shrill lefty callers than I could ever be, and I have told him so in the many emails I have shared with him over the years.
In Larson’s world, the First Amendment is a priceless treasure unique to the United States of America, and he would take a bullet to protect our personal freedom.
And he wears Second Amendment on his hip!
Lars Larson is a Maslow Award winner because he has reached the mountain top of radio. He has an amazing, role model work ethic, he has reached the pinnacle of his profession, and he loves his family. He hosts his three-hour regional show daily, followed immediately by his national show of the same length. His website is LarsLarson.com.
Having been born a Navy Brat in Taiwan, Larson’s family eventually settled in tiny Tillamook, Oregon. After four-plus decades of radio and television, he has been presented some 70 industry awards, including two Emmys.
So what drives this dude?
… more to come in Part Two
Copyright © 2017 by Greg Meakin