Larry O’Connor on reaching out to Andrew Breitbart to join his new website~
“And I reached out to him and said, ‘Listen, I’m not in TV or film, I’m in theater but I’m conservative and I have stories to tell,’ and he immediately responded and said, ‘Let’s see what you can write,’ and I did some writing for him and he published me right at the beginning . . . and then I started doing this live stream radio show on the internet that was on the Breitbart sites and that got a lot of attention and I ended up getting a lot of high profile guests on my show.”
Andy Ockershausen: This is Andy Ockershausen and this is Our Town, and we have a unique opportunity today to talk to a unique individual because he works at this radio station
where we’re doing our recording. In fact, he is the radio station. Larry O’Connor, a man-
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, everybody was waiting to go, “Oh, my God. They got Chris Plante.”
Andy Ockershausen: -who knows it all.
Larry O’Connor: This is great.”
Andy Ockershausen: Oakie. I love that name. Oakie and Ockee. We could do a show.
Larry O’Connor: You gave me permission to call you Ockee. Will you forgive me for a minute, Andy, because honestly, this is going to be so weird for me because, you know, I usually ask the questions?
Andy Ockershausen: I know.
Larry O’Connor: Let’s face it. You’re a much more fascinating person that I am. While we’re doing this, I might end up asking you questions.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, ask anything you want, I don’t have to answer.
Larry O’Connor: Well, where’d you get that sweater because that is a really cool sweater vest.
Andy Ockershausen: Isn’t that nice? I don’t know where I got it, it’s an old sweater, but I’m an old sweater to because I perspire. But I’m working on it. Larry O’Connor, Oakie. What a career you have had, when I read your resume, I am stunned that you’ve done so much and you’re still a young man.
Larry O’Connor: Well, thanks.
Andy Ockershausen: And so you must owe a lot of money or people owe you a lot of money because you’ve had a lot of jobs.
Larry O’Connor: Exactly.
Andy Ockershausen: But Detroit, Michigan is a long way from southern California.
From Detroit, Michigan to Southern California
Larry O’Connor: It is, and thank God for the internet, I still have brothers in Michigan and they get to listen all the time and-
Andy Ockershausen: It’s still snowing there, you know that?
Larry O’Connor: It is, yes, I believe the Tigers’ game will be snowed out on July fourth. Everybody says, “Oh, of course, you moved out of Detroit because of all the violence and the poverty and the economy,” no, it’s the weather. It’s absolutely the weather, that’s the only reason to get out of that place, because Michigan’s cool.
Andy Ockershausen: Corona del Mar.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, Corona del Mar, this beautiful subdivision in Newport Beach, California, what shift. Imagine being in the Detroit suburbs, Andy, in the eighties and then suddenly I wake up the next morning and I’m going to school at the beach at Corona del Mar high school, it was amazing.
Andy Ockershausen: You’re walking by the Balboa Bay Club everyday, you’ve got access to the slot.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: We have a very dear friend that we lost last year, died, he lived in Newport Beach and he was, John Kluge’s partner with MetroMedia.
John Kluge – The Shubert Organization and MetroMedia
Larry O’Connor: MetroMedia, yeah. He was on the board of the company I ended up working with, The Shubert Organization.
Andy Ockershausen: Bob Bennett was?
Larry O’Connor: No, Kluge was, on the board of the Shubert Organization which owns all the Broadway theaters.
Andy Ockershausen: Kluge somehow, he was a food broker here in Washington.
Larry O’Connor: What’s that how?
Andy Ockershausen: And a friend of his, said there was a station available here so they talked John into going partnership to buy one radio station, that’s what launched MetroMedia. One radio station.
Larry O’Connor: Wow. And then didn’t they, when they ended up getting the television stations I think they sold a big chunk of it to Rupert Murdoch. I think that’s what-
Andy Ockershausen: They sold more, they got more for selling their stations to Murdoch than Cap Cities got from doing something with ABC, Kluge just stole money with that, it was a big buy.
Larry O’Connor: So he was on the board of the Shubert Organization, I’ve already jumped ahead on your timeline-
Andy Ockershausen: No, no, I’m getting to Shubert.
Larry O’Connor | The Shubert Organization New York
Larry O’Connor: I moved from Corona del Mar, I moved to New York, I wanted to work on Broadway, so I’m working for Shubert-
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, you came back.
Larry O’Connor: Oh yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh, I thought you met Shubert in Los Angeles.
Larry O’Connor: Oh I did, they shipped me back to LA after five years in New York, though, and then Shubert, for everyone in DC whose listening, they used to manage the National Theater for many, many years, just up until about five years ago. They didn’t own it but they had a lease agreement with-
Andy Ockershausen: It’s a huge name in theater.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, and so Bob Wankel, who is now the CEO of Shubert, he was sort of my mentor, at the time he was the vice president of finance, he hired me, and I sort of became his protégé and he moved me along in various places and he told me a Kluge story once, I kid you not. Because Trump was in the news, Donald Trump was always in the news-
Andy Ockershausen: Always.
A Kluge Trump Story
Larry O’Connor: -and he told me about how they were having lunch on Kluge’s yacht in the New York harbor and he said then Trump’s yacht goes by, and Kluge pulled me aside and said, look at that. And then he started criticizing Trump’s yacht, like he had a little putt-putt motorboat thing.
Andy Ockershausen: Not as big as his.
Larry O’Connor: And he says, “That’s not real money. I don’t know how much Trump has, but it’s not real money.” This was like, ’89, ’90, I think, Trump sort of made a little bit more sense then, but I always remembered that.
Andy Ockershausen: But he always had money because his father had money.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: The Trump family had money and they did a lot of building.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, sure. I know.
Andy Ockershausen: In the glory years. But to be in New York in The Shubert is like nirvana in the theater business, right?
A Stage Manager’s Legacy
Larry O’Connor: It was amazing, I couldn’t believe it. I went to New York thinking I was gonna be a stage manager, which is really weird now because my oldest daughter, graduating from high school right now, she now wants to be a stage manager.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow.
Larry O’Connor: And I swear to God I have not influenced her.
Andy Ockershausen: Where is she at high school?
Larry O’Connor: She’s in the Los Angeles High School of the Arts, you know like Fame, the musical, right? She’s graduating this year and it looks like she’s either going to go to either UCLA or USC.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow.
Climbing the Ladder at The Shurbert Organization
Larry O’Connor: And she’s literally kind of doing what I was gonna do except I didn’t do the college thing. Go to New York, was gonna be a stage manager, I got a temporary job as a mail runner with The Shubert Organization, remember mail runners?
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely.
Larry O’Connor: Where you’d take the interoffice memos in the manila folders-
Andy Ockershausen: What makes Johnny run, what makes Harry run.
Larry O’Connor: Literally from the mail room, like How to Succeed in Business, J. Pierrepont Finch, right?
Andy Ockershausen: There’s many stories like that in the business, in broadcast particularly, starting in the mail room.
Larry O’Connor: In the first day on the job at Shubert, I had been to every single one of our box offices, learned every single one of our theaters, and met everybody in the company from the CEO down to me, right? Because that was what the nature of that job was and I sort of shmoozed my way into the next job and the next job and the next job.
Andy Ockershausen: Oakie, that’s incredible, because I started as a messenger for the Evening Star Broadcasting Company and I knew everybody at the parent company because I had to go down and pick up checks and to give stuff out, so that start at the bottom was really helpful to me.
Larry O’Connor: Best job to learn an industry. To learn an industry inside out, and that’s what I did, I did that for five years-
Andy Ockershausen: And you can read mail, too.
Larry O’Connor: Exactly, because all I had was that little red thread, right? That tied the thing together? Not that I would ever do that. I didn’t read anybody’s mail. But that was before email, you know, not that I’m that old, but-
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely, everything was hand carried. You carried an envelope and you went to see people, and I got a streetcar pass, I got 21 dollars a week and a streetcar pass and the streetcar pass was worth a lot.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: You could go anywhere in the world on a streetcar, where the streetcar went.
Larry O’Connor: You know what, you just reminded me of another, so they used to give me tokens to ride the subway because we had one of our shows was Little Shop of Horrors but it was all the way downtown because it was a little off Broadway, east Greenwich Village thing, so they gave me two tokens, there and back to get the mail. And I was so poor, I was making no money, so I kept the tokens for my own commute in from Brooklyn, and I just walked it. And I just did it so fast, it kept me in shape and I made it all the way down to the East Village and back in time because I was on a schedule and I would pocked those tokens so I wouldn’t have to pay, I guess it was 75 cents at the time on the subway.
Andy Ockershausen: Was it that much?
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, I think it was.
Andy Ockershausen: I remember when it was a nickel.
Larry O’Connor: But that’s two bucks a day that goes to Ramen.
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely.
Larry O’Connor: It was Ramen.
Andy Ockershausen: And doing all this with Shubert of course lead you to other things but to go back to get with Breitbart, was that why you went back to LA?
Larry O’Connor | The Shubert Organization Los Angeles
Larry O’Connor: No, so that was before Breitbart, it was before the Drudge Report. I was shipped back to LA, I wanted to move back to Southern California, I had learned in New York that it’s a great town when you’re really poor, which I was when I first moved there, and it’s a great town when you’re John Kluge or Donald Trump-
Andy Ockershausen: Right, when you’re very rich.
Larry O’Connor: -but it’s a terrible town for the middle class, you know? The middle class doesn’t live in Manhattan, they live-
Andy Ockershausen: Jersey.
Larry O’Connor: -an hour and a half out in Jersey or Long Island, and I don’t want to do, I hate that commute, so I-
Andy Ockershausen: It’s still expensive.
Larry O’Connor: It is, it hasn’t changed.
Andy Ockershausen: Even Jersey’s getting expensive.
Larry O’Connor: Hasn’t changed at all, yeah. So I wanted to move back to Southern California, and my family was back there as well.
Andy Ockershausen: They had left Detroit, or you mean your present family? Not your mom and dad?
Larry O’Connor: My dad lived in Southern California, actually, in Orange County, that’s how I moved there, my mother stayed back in Detroit, broken home, all that stuff. And so I wanted to be back with my dad and I had some other cousins and stuff in Southern California, so I got transferred, Shubert transferred me out to run their theater in Los Angeles and that was all during the late nineties, great time, Sunset Boulevard with Glenn Close premiered there, launched there before Broadway. Ragtime, Beauty and the Beast for Disney, we were their first big city there.
Politics and Talk Radio
Larry O’Connor And all the while I was a political junkie. I had been listening to talk radio and politics and watching cable news and I’d been, you know, since I was in high school I would listen to Dennis Prager do Religion on the Line every Sunday night on KABC, the then ABC, Disney owned station, right? It was a great show, it was Sunday nights where would have a rabbi, a priest and a protestant minister, it sounds like a joke, right? And they would come in-
Andy Ockershausen: In a canoe.
Larry O’Connor: Right, exactly. “Bless him, I don’t even know him.” Anyway, that’s a bad punch line. He would have them talk about religious issues or even news of the day, moral issues, ethical issues and it was fascinating to see how sometimes the orthodox rabbi and the priest would agree on more than the protestant reverend and the priest, you know? Take Jesus out of the equation-
Andy Ockershausen: It happens, absolutely. They’re finding common ground sometime, huh?
Larry O’Connor: I always loved that stuff and so all through that time I was junkie about news and politics.
Andy Ockershausen: KABC was talk radio, and they had all the talented people in Southern California at one time, they were a powerhouse.
Larry O’Connor: Ken and Barkley Company, I think was the morning show, Michael Jackson-
Andy Ockershausen: Michael, we used to record him in here, didn’t we?
Larry O’Connor: Not the ‘Beat It’, ‘Billy Jean’ Michael Jackson, the other Michael Jackson. He filled in for Larry King, right, on his TV show on CNN. So Michael Jackson used to do the nine to noon until Rush Limbaugh ended up coming in on the competing station and –
Andy Ockershausen: He was working in Sacramento, originally, right?
Larry O’Connor: That’s right, yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s where Ed found him, I know that.
Larry O’Connor: And I can’t remember who did afternoons that that time.
Andy Ockershausen: So you were a junkie, you liked to listen to it.
Larry O’Connor: Loved it, loved talk radio, always did, and it’s funny, all through my career with friends that I met and we’d go out to dinner and have drinks, “Wow, you have a great voice, you should do radio, you should do radio,” always planted in the back of my mind.
Andy Ockershausen: You do, Larry, it’s pleasant, it’s mellow. One of the things that happened in early days in talk radio in Los Angeles, there was one guy that put talk radio on the map, his name was Joe Pyne.
Larry O’Connor: Joe Pyne, yeah, what station was he on though, do you remember?
Andy Ockershausen: Bobby, KLAC or –
Larry O’Connor: Or maybe it was KLAC, yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: He’s the one that got in so much trouble, they had to take the license away because he was calling people names, but he was southern California and Joe Pyne started talk radio by being obnoxious. I think Joe got fired and then the guy did it on sports TV to the guy, something on fire? He’s an LA guy. I’ll think of his name.
Larry O’Connor: Jim Rome?
Andy Ockershausen: Jim Rome.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, he started San Diego station, 690, it was actually based in Tijuana-
Andy Ockershausen: Rome is Burning.
Larry O’Connor: That’s right, that’s right. I used to listen to him as well, he was great. Well, still is great.
Andy Ockershausen: But you did the smart thing, you picked the best of the rest and listened to these guys and started doing your own thing. But then you got into radio and do some TV work out there.
Larry O’Connor: That’s how I got to meet Andrew Breitbart. He was filling in for Dennis Miller one day and I was listening to him fill in for Dennis Miller because I was listening to Dennis Miller all the time, and he was talking about how he was launching a new website-
Andy Ockershausen: He’s the Dennis Miller Today, ABC Sports? Football? Monday night football.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, exactly, exactly. He did Monday night football for a couple of years right before that, Saturday Night Live.
Andy Ockershausen: He was too smart for the audience.
Larry O’Connor: So cerebral, he’s great and he’s a terrific guy too, and he leaned to the right, he was just like Andrew, he was your typical Hollywood conservative, which means not liberal. You know, if you diverge from any of the mandated positions of Hollywood, suddenly you’re a crazy right-winger.
Andy Ockershausen: I know exactly what you’re saying.
O’Connor Reaches Out to Andrew Breitbart About His New Venture
Larry O’Connor: And so I heard him and he was talking about how he was launching a new website, because Huffington Post, Andrew helped launch the Huffington Post and what made Huffington Post famous at the beginning was all these people in the industry in Hollywood that could talk about politics, because up until Huffington Post apparently they didn’t have an outlet to talk about politics. And he said, “I want people who are right of center to have an outlet like that,” so he was starting a new website for people in the entertainment business called BIGHollywood. And I reached out to him and said, “Listen, I’m not in TV or film, I’m in theater but I’m conservative and I have stories to tell,” and he immediately responded and said, “Let’s see what you can write,” and I did some writing for him and he published me right at the beginning.
Andy Ockershausen: Show biz.
Larry O’Connor: That was it, and that’s what I started and then I started doing this live stream radio show on the internet that was on the Breitbart sites and that got a lot of attention and I ended up getting a lot of high profile guests on my show and long story short, Andrew hired me to edit one of the sites, I sort of said goodbye to my theater career at that point, because I couldn’t do both, and the next thing I knew I was filling in for Dennis Miller, instead of Andrew and I was then filling in Hugh Hewitt and I’ve now got this national platform as a guest host.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, you’ve become a performer.
Larry O’Connor: Exactly.
Andy Ockershausen: In radio.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, and I was able to draw from that theater, you know?
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely. Your experience made you what you are.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Andy Ockershausen and we’re having a wonderful conversation with Oakie, he doesn’t mind if I call him Oakie, I love the name.
Larry O’Connor: You know I married an Oakie. My wife’s from Oklahoma, so I’m an honorary Oakie.
Andy Ockershausen: He went to school in Oklahoma, you know that?
Larry O’Connor: I know, he went to the wrong school though.
Andy Ockershausen: He got in.
Larry O’Connor: Ken went to Oklahoma State.
Andy Ockershausen: Larry O’Connor, we’ll be right back.
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Announcer: You’re listening to Our Town.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Our Town, Andy Ockershausen and Larry O’Connor and talking about Breitbart, with that name, is probably only a period in my eastern view, the last two years.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: Before Trump you never heard the name Breitbart before. I’m sure it was a big part of southern California.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, it had a national presence too, you remember that video expose of ACORN, they had the hidden video on the ACORN, that was a Breitbart story and Andrew used to be the editor of the Drudge Report, he would work with Matt Drudge and the two of them worked together and then he branched out and started his own website.
Andy Ockershausen: Drudge is still operating, isn’t it?
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, oh sure, and the last time I saw Matt Drudge was at Andrew Breitbart’s funeral, because Andrew died prematurely, 43 years old.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow.
On Leaving Breitbart After Andrew Breitbart’s Death and Steve Bannon
Larry O’Connor: And I was there that day, I talked to him that afternoon, it was a pretty traumatic experience for everyone who worked there at the time and after his death we all carried the torch there a bit, certainly for his name, for his legacy, for his family, this was in 2012. And we were in the middle of the primary season for Mitt Romney’s run for the presidency and after that, I think, after that first year of trying to keep it all together-
Andy Ockershausen: It seems like ancient history.
Larry O’Connor: I know, well, it is.
Andy Ockershausen: 2012.
Larry O’Connor: Things move really fast. And in the midst of that, my first day at WMAL was on election day, my first official day. I had been filling in the morning show for about a month before that but I was officially named the guy on the day of the election.
Andy Ockershausen: The morning show?
Larry O’Connor: Yes, Mornings on the Mall, and a couple of months after that, I think we all sort of regrouped at Breitbart and many of us sort of said, “Okay, we want to move on now, we did this for a year, we maintained Andrew’s legacy,” but for one reason or another it wasn’t the same, certainly because . . .
Andy Ockershausen: It never once the boss goes.
Larry O’Connor: -new regime, new management, Steve Bannon had taken over and many of us just said
Andy Ockershausen: Was Bannon a staffer before he took over?
Larry O’Connor: He wasn’t, he wasn’t. He was an advisor to Andrew on many levels and when Andrew sort of reincorporated the company, Steve Bannon was on the board so we knew him, but we didn’t know him as a day to day manager, supervisor, kind of figure. We just knew him as a person who had Andrew’s ear. And, you know, things change. And I was one of the people who said, “Yeah, I’d love to stake out my own ground now and maybe not stay with Breitbart.” So I left Breitbart I think, 2013 and you’re right, Andy, I’m-
Andy Ockershausen: How did you apply for the job here in the east, did you send him a tape or did you know people?
Larry O’Connor: Well, because I had been filling in for Dennis Miller and Hugh Hewitt I had some-
Andy Ockershausen: You have credibility then, right?
Right Place, Right Time – WMAL Morning Show
Larry O’Connor: Some credibility there and I acquired an agent and my agent submitted me when the slot was open and I was lucky.
Andy Ockershausen: Timing, timing, timing.
Larry O’Connor: I happened to be in DC when the opportunity was available and I said I was in town, and they said, “Oh, well come on in, you can sit in on the morning show,” Bryan Nehman was doing the morning show at the time, who is now doing mornings in WBAL in Baltimore-
Andy Ockershausen: We know him, don’t we?
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, sure.
Andy Ockershausen: He worked here.
Larry O’Connor: I sat in with Bryan and Brian, Bryan Nehman and Brian Wilson and I was like the third voice that day because I happened to be in town and I sat in for the four hours and afterwards people seemed to think that it would work.
Andy Ockershausen: Oh my God, it did.
Larry O’Connor: Right place at the right time, can you imagine? Andy, can you imagine your first job in radio being the morning show on WMAL in Washington DC?
Andy Ockershausen: Incredible. It’s incredible.
Larry O’Connor: It’s insane.
Andy Ockershausen: There are people in this market who still would like to have that job.
Larry O’Connor: Yes.
Andy Ockershausen: Like Tony Kornheiser, would love to do the morning show on WMAL. Seriously.
Larry O’Connor: I don’t doubt it.
Andy Ockershausen: We had a performer here, he was one of our first guests from Paul Berry, from Detroit, Michigan.
Larry O’Connor: All the best are from Detroit.
Andy Ockershausen: Paul Berry was a big name in TV here, he did all the shows on 7 and everything and he’s a man of color, amazingly talented guy and he was in the army in Vietnam and he built a radio station over there, but long story to say, he got out of the army, he went back to Detroit, his father said, “What are you going to do now? You don’t have a job,” he said, “I’m going to apply, I’m going to knock on some doors.” He goes to some place out of the blue, big, good radio station in Detroit, knocks on the door, meets the sales manager, the sales manager says, “I think we’ve got an opening, but you don’t have any experience.” He says, “I just spend two years in Vietnam doing radio.” He had tapes with him, he got the job because of his timing, he would have never had been hired if it wasn’t that day that they had an opening. One of the DJs was sick, so your timing is impeccable.
Larry O’Connor: Timing is really important. You know, I often reflect on this though, because other people tell me their success stories too and they always say I was in the right place at the right time, but you know what, you hear that story and if it can be self-serving-
Andy Ockershausen: You make it happen, too.
Larry O’Connor: He got himself off the couch, he got his butt in gear, he went and knocked on the door, you make your opportunities, you know. You make sure you’re available and in the right place at the right time to be able to . . .
Andy Ockershausen: You’re so right, and it never fails that people say I got my job because the right time, what they mean is they were smart enough to do the right thing at the right time.
Larry O’Connor: Right, right.
Andy Ockershausen: We don’t know the whole story. But Larry, so you did the Mornings on the Mall, I remember that, but then somebody came up with the genius idea of the afternoon show.
O’Connor on Moving to WMAL’s First Afternoon Drive Spot Since Chris Core
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, it’s so funny because you said there’s people in this market who would love to have that morning show and I actually left that morning show. What kind of idiot am I?
Andy Ockershausen: No, but now you’ve got your own show.
Larry O’Connor: I do.
Andy Ockershausen: The morning, you shared.
Larry O’Connor: You know, it was sort of the perfect storm for me in terms of the opportunity was there again, I was in the right place, you know, I had been doing one hour in the afternoon at five o’clock every day-
Andy Ockershausen: Solo?
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, so I did mornings from 5 to 9AM, then I lived four blocks from here, I’d go, I’d crash for a couple hours and then I’d come back and I was on from 5PM to 6PM, for one hour-
Andy Ockershausen: I remember that.
Larry O’Connor: -every twelve hours, you know, I was on the station.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s a whole day.
Larry O’Connor: That’s a whole lot of Larry O’Connor for the listeners. So I had already sort of established a bit of an audience in that five o’clock hour, so it’s not like the afternoon audience didn’t already know me and so it sort of made sense, that they were gonna create the first afternoon drive, local show in DC since Chris Core, I think.
Andy Ockershausen: Probably. Never remember any other.
Larry O’Connor: -pre Sean Hannity. I think Hannity famously started September 10th, 2001.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah.
Larry O’Connor: So you know, to be able to create a brand new show for the first time in 15 years.
Personality for Commercials
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Well what was so great was that you whetted the whistle or the desire of people to continue to listen to you because I would always go home about that time, I’d say, “Oh, shoot, no more Larry O’Connor today,” but because it’s over, five to six, done, now I can kind of leave a little bit earlier and grab some Larry O’Connor on my way home. Your subject matter is so well rounded and your personality for commercials is so fantastic, Zerorez, everything that you do, all your spots are so fantastic. It’s a seamless endorsement, because as a salesperson for 22 years, we love that because you’re so engaging and we will sit through your personality commercial-
Larry O’Connor: Thank you, so much for saying that.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: -from one topic to another.
Larry O’Connor: Do you know where I learned that? When I lived in New York I used to listen to Imus when he was on WFAN, the sports station-
Andy Ockershausen: The Fan.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, the Fan, what a great station that was at that time with Imus in the morning, Mike and the Mad Dog in the afternoons, and I vividly remember a day when I was listening to Imus and I was just laughing my butt off and realized he was doing a spot. It wasn’t even the show, he was doing a live read and it was so entertaining and I’d forgotten where the show ended and the spot began.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: That’s the whole goal.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s the secret of it.
Larry O’Connor: And that’s what I try to do.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: And another thing you do too which I love is, radio is an in and out kind of business, people are doing dishes, they’re going out to their car, they’re driving, there’s somebody honking the horn, they’re distracted. But what you do is you always, as a former producer, you always set the scene , so when you come back, oh and Larry O’Connor, you know, we’re talking about such and such, but you bring the listener back into the conversation because so many times a radio personality doesn’t tell the listener who they’re talking to, so it can be a five minute interview and you say, “Who the heck was that?”
Larry O’Connor: Because that’s what I do, that’s why I do it, because I listen to so much talk radio and I’m yelling back at the radio, “Who is this guy, who was this?” You know, you’re doing this interview, the host just says his name at the very beginning and then if I didn’t get the beginning I don’t know who you’re talking to, it drove me crazy.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: I listen to Howard Stern talk to James Taylor and I didn’t realize, I knew the stories and everything, I listened probably for twenty minutes and I had to go back and listen to it again later on because it was James Taylor and I would have loved to have heard . . .
Larry O’Connor: Although, you just said you listened for twenty minutes which I think they’ll take, you know?
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: You’re right.
Larry O’Connor: Maybe that’s the trick, you get the time spent listening by forcing people to listen so they know who you’re talking to.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: But many other times I just say, I don’t know who this is.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, and you move on.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: But thank you for that.
Larry O’Connor: Thank you. I love going to the afternoons now, honestly-
Andy Ockershausen: You’re selling it, it works.
Larry O’Connor: I was already there and I had just recently been remarried and you know-
Andy Ockershausen: 2015.
Larry O’Connor: -and that’s a hell of a schedule.
Andy Ockershausen: Who was the gorgeous woman you were with at the feast.
Meredith Dake O’Connor
Larry O’Connor: That’s my wife, Meredith.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: It better be.
Larry O’Connor: She doesn’t know about the girlfriend, Andy.
Andy Ockershausen: They never know but they always know. Remember that, they always know. I’ve been telling my friends that forever, “My wife doesn’t know,” baloney, they always know. They’ve got these feelers.
Larry O’Connor: Thankfully there’s nothing in this case for her to know, why should I have a girlfriend with a wife like Meredith, she’s gorgeous and wonderful and we had just gotten married and the schedule was rough, man, you know, waking up at 3AM every day, going to bed at basically 7:30, 8 at night.
Andy Ockershausen: Not anymore though, you’re established.
Larry O’Connor: Now we have a regular life. Now we have a regular life.
Andy Ockershausen: And it’s great, it’s only going to get better.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: I will jump in to say one thing, you might not even know this, Andy, but Larry’s daughter has been accepted to the Naval Academy-
Larry O’Connor: Well, to the summer program. Yeah. . .
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Being a daughter of a Naval Academy graduate, 1951 –
Andy Ockershausen: That is a great thing for young people to get them ready for the academy.
Daughter Veronica Aspires United States Naval Academy
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, she’s doing what’s called the summer seminar, so it means her application has been accepted, she’s know an official candidate, she’ll do the summer seminar this June, Veronica, she’s a junior, she’s gonna be a senior next year, and so now all we need is the Congressional letter for the nomination and then fingers crossed-
Andy Ockershausen: Is she in school?
Larry O’Connor: She’s out of Los Angeles as well, she goes to a Catholic college prep school, St. Joseph, all girls school and she cannot-
Andy Ockershausen: They have a Don Bosco out there too.
Larry O’Connor: That’s the brother school to St. Joseph, very good, look at you.
Andy Ockershausen: That’s our school.
Larry O’Connor: Bosco, of course I know that that’s your school, I’ve been to the charity event. Bosco is the brother school to St. Joseph, she’s the sister school and those Bosco kids are great out in California.
Andy Ockershausen: Well she’s got several ways to get in, she can get in through Presidential appointment or congressional appointment.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, well Presidential’s only for children of vets, so we can’t, but we could do vice president, that’s one option and then we’ve got, so here’s my choice, here I am, conservation talk radio host in DC, although I’m not like a, I don’t name call and-
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: I call it a practical conservative.
Larry O’Connor: I’m a little more warm and fuzzy compared to other hosts, but her Congresswoman is Linda Sánchez, democrat, her Senator is Dianne Feinstein, democrat, and Kamala Harris, democrat. I mean, Dianne Feinstein’s the most conservative of the group.
Andy Ockershausen: Yeah, and two female senators.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: Barbara’s gone.
Larry O’Connor: Barbara’s gone, they replaced her with Kamala. . . but she’s a woman, she’s half Asian-American, which I think will help in her case and she’s incredible. Her grades, I don’t know where she got it. You should have her in here, she’s a good interview, my daughter Veronica.
Andy Ockershausen: Is she athletic?
Larry O’Connor: She is, she’s not going to be a division one athlete but she’s got three different sports that she does.
Andy Ockershausen: She has a varsity sports background?
Larry O’Connor: Three varsity sports.
Andy Ockershausen: Navy looks at that.
Larry O’Connor: She does swimming, water polo and gymnastics.
Andy Ockershausen: Wow.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Has she been on campus?
Larry O’Connor: Oh, she loves the yard. She absolutely loves it, we’ve done several tours there, she actually was there Plebe Week, the third day and watched lunch formation, where they can’t get a meal unless they do their formation right, and I thought this would turn her off, I was like, “Oh God, she doesn’t want to deal with this,” and she was sold.
Andy Ockershausen: She jumped at it.
Larry O’Connor: She said, “This is what I want in my life, I want this zeal, this discipline,” so I’m very excited because then she’ll be here, too.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Yeah, congratulations.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s given her a life, you know, there’s life after you graduate, too.
Larry O’Connor: Oh God, I know.
Andy Ockershausen: They’re a very close group and they help each other.
Larry O’Connor: I asked her what her plan B is, because it’s pretty hard to get into the Naval Academy, and she says, “Oh, I’ve got that worked out. Air Force Academy.”
Andy Ockershausen: Why not, they do that.
Larry O’Connor: Honey, that’s not really a backup plan. Her backup plan is to do Navy ROTC at one of the schools she wants to go to.
Andy Ockershausen: Well I was fortunate enough to have a friend that was a friend to Strom Thurmond before he died, of course-
Larry O’Connor: If it was after he died, that would be a hell of a story.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, I should have saved some letters, but he got two people in the Academy for me.
Larry O’Connor: Down in South Carolina?
Andy Ockershausen: No, from Washington DC.
Larry O’Connor: Oh, they can do that.
Andy Ockershausen: They can do anything.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: . . . it was Tim Brant‘s son.
Larry O’Connor: Oh, I thought they had to nominate within their-
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: I don’t think so.
Andy Ockershausen: No, no, he’s like a senatorial appointment, Strom was very important to the military.
Larry O’Connor: Yes.
Andy Ockershausen: And they kowtowed to him, so they sent one kid to NAPS and he went through in flying colors and now he’s a colonel in the Marine Corps, and Tim Brant’s son couldn’t take it. He took NAPS but then when he went to the big school, he couldn’t handle it.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, it’s not for everyone.
Andy Ockershausen: No, it’s not and he got out and you know, you pay a penalty when you get out, you’ve got to pay your way out.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, I think if you make it two years then you don’t pay.
Andy Ockershausen: You don’t pay. So that’s great, there ought to be someone here in Washington to give you some help for that, I don’t know.
Larry O’Connor: Well, hopefully she won’t need it.
Andy Ockershausen: There’s always people around that know things, you know that, Janny. Connecting the dots in Our Town.
Larry O’Connor: Whenever I mention it, because it’s one of things I talk about on the air, is my kids, you know, planning for college because I figure my listener is me. You know, somebody my age, man or woman but who are dealing with the same stuff that I’m dealing with every day, and they’re dealing with their kids going through college applications and the SATs and all that stuff and there’s always something to talk about. Whenever I mention Veronica and her desire to go to the Naval Academy, always end up getting an email from some captain or from some admiral or something, it’s amazing.
Andy Ockershausen: You’re fortunate enough to be in a military market.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, I’ll say.
Andy Ockershausen: And the brass listens and they are people when they’re not fighting, you know?
Larry O’Connor: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: Just like you and I are, and they commute and they do their things.
Larry O’Connor: Oh, and I’m rambling on and on and on and on, aren’t I? I’m sorry.
Andy Ockershausen: No you’re not. This is Andy Ockershausen and this is Our Town, we’ll be right back with Larry O’Connor.
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Announcer: You’re listening to Our Town with Andy Ockershausen, brought to you by Best Bark Communications.
Andy Ockershausen: Our Town, Andy Ockershausen talking to Larry O’Connor, tell him about a commercial we had in our morning show at one time and we got cited by the Federal Communications Commission and fined $5000 because the commercial went over sixty seconds.
Announcer: Are you serious?
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely serious. We fought it, I got letters from broadcasters all over the company saying, “How can they tell you what to do?” They said, “Well, the problem is you said you were only going to do sixty seconds and your spot ran for minutes.” It was Harden and Weaver, who knew what they were talking about, they weren’t doing a commercial, they were talking about this guy, he was a Rockville dealer, automobile dealer and they made fun of him and they talked about him for four minutes. We never paid the fine, incidentally, they had cited us but we didn’t pay it. Five grand.
Larry O’Connor: I would be terrified as to how much that would cost this radio station if they tagged me, I mean, I try to keep it at sixty, but I don’t. I really don’t.
Andy Ockershausen: That doesn’t apply anymore, Larry.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: It’s open sesame.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: So what we did after that to stick it up their you know what, remember people had commercial free radio?
Larry O’Connor: Sure.
Andy Ockershausen: Well we had music free radio and just played commercials. Back to back to back to back to back, stuck it up to the FCC.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Yeah, that was fun.
Andy Ockershausen: Was that fun, Janny?
Larry O’Connor: Thank you. Thank you for blazing that trail for us, on behalf of all broadcasters everywhere.
Andy Ockershausen: Well, you’d be surprised about people that were appreciative of that. That was Uncle Sam and Uncle Goody saying, “You can’t do four minutes because we didn’t think it was the proper thing,” but it was funny, it was a funny bit.
Larry O’Connor: It was none of their business.
Andy Ockershausen: Anyway, aren’t you glad you got the FCC, you got the Naval Academy, you got brass listening to you, you’re a lucky man, Larry.
O’Connor Appreciative of WMAL
Larry O’Connor: I am, I tell myself that every day and I thank God for it everyday. And I’m lucky that I’m at a station that has, I mean, everybody wants to be on WMAL, and it’s so much because of what you did to create this station and create the reputation, the two of you are such a powerhouse couple and I thank my lucky stars everyday that I get to follow in the footsteps of the great people that you’re talking-
Andy Ockershausen: And Larry, you’re a big, big part of this resurgence, we call it. Because Janice buys advertising, and she will tell you, whatever you’re selling, it works. And that’s why WMAL works, forget the numbers, they deliver commercials, they deliver product to a people that are looking for it and we create that atmosphere.
Larry O’Connor: Well, our listeners are incredibly loyal, they love what we do, they’re the ones that make it happen, you know that.
Andy Ockershausen: Absolutely.
Larry O’Connor: And we’re fortunate to have them. I’m going to start crying.
Andy Ockershausen: And don’t forget, guys like Ken it alive, you know. He sleeps through most of your show.
Larry O’Connor: I’m sorry, Ken? I’m not familiar with, oh, this guy.
Ken Hunter: Over here, Larry.
Larry O’Connor: Oh this is embarrassing, I didn’t actually-
Andy Ockershausen: Does he do his own board?
Larry O’Connor: Never knew his name. I don’t do my own board, I want to learn my own board though-
Andy Ockershausen: We had a terrible time, we had to teach these old goats to go from being disc jockeys without engineers to do their own board. It was a struggle.
Larry O’Connor: I’d love to learn my own board, actually. I feel like it’s-
Andy Ockershausen: Oh man, the guys that can do it can do it to perfection.
Larry O’Connor: So I do my own audio clips that I play during the show and things like that, I will do that, I have my own little mini board there, at that one position that I use, but I don’t do all the specials.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: It keeps you tight, too.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, I love it, I couldn’t, I used to call for audio clips and things like that I would never go back to it now, it’s great to be able to just fire whatever I want to fire, when I want to fire it.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Fewer mistakes.
Larry O’Connor: Exactly. Or if there are mistakes, I know who to yell at. Me.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: That’s right.
Andy Ockershausen: Larry O’Connor, you’re an amazing talent and it shows here, you’ve got a great following, I know that, we still know what goes on in this broadcast business and you’re an amazing guy and I think unlimited in this situation you’re in, great signal, both AM and FM is powerful, believe me.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, I’ll say.
Andy Ockershausen: And you monopolize it. I used to tell people all the time, the strength of WMAL was the 630 signal, that was the day.
Larry O’Connor: Sure, yeah.
Andy Ockershausen: We would kill TOP, they had a lot more power but people couldn’t hear them. But they could hear us, now with FM they hear you everywhere.
Larry O’Connor: Yeah, it is a blessing, especially compared to other cities, I see what happens with talk radio who only have AM. So listen, you’ve literally worked with the all-time greats, so hearing something like that from you means a lot, I really appreciate it.
Andy Ockershausen: Janny, are we on the call?
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Thank why Larry, it was wonderful.
Larry O’Connor: She’s giving you the thumbs up.
Andy Ockershausen: He’s not a guest, we were just on his show.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: That’s for sure.
Larry O’Connor: Hardly, hardly.
Janice Iacona Ockershausen: Thank you, Larry.
Larry O’Connor: Appreciate it. Thank you.
Andy Ockershausen: You’re a wonderful guest, this has been Our Town and now it’s your town, but we’re part of Our Town and you’re in Our Town, so whatever happens. We love Our Town.
Larry O’Connor: I love Our Town.
Andy Ockershausen: This is Andy Ockershausen and we’ll be back tomorrow. Or today, whatever.
Announcer: You’ve been listening to Our Town, season three, presented by GEICO, our hometown favorite, with your host, Andy Ockershausen. New Our Town episodes are released each Tuesday and Thursday. Drop us a line with your comments or suggestions. See us on Facebook or visit our website at ourtowndc.com. Our special thanks to Ken Hunter, our technical director, and WMAL radio in Washington DC for hosting our podcast. And thanks to GEICO, fifteen minutes can save you 15% or more on car insurance.
Christopher Ezelle says
Larry, I listen every day and you finally had something I wanted to provide about an alternative to funding the wall. There’s an easier way to get $6B for the wall in less than one year: The drinking age is 21 and older. There are about 239 million people aged 21 and older that drink beer. Those +/- 239 million people consumed 26.9 (rounded to 27) gallons of beer and cider per person during 2017. Using that figure I believe is low, the Government could add a 5-cent federal tax per bottle of beer (12 oz.) and funding for the wall would be available in less than a year. There are about 5.3 bottles of beer in every gallon; 5.3 bottles taxed is 26.5-cents per legal drinking-aged person. Multiply that by the 239 million beer drinkers and you get $6,333,500,000.00. In the US, people drink a lot of beer. In addition to that, if you want Mexico to pay for part of the wall, then tax Mexican imported beer and liquor at an additional 10-cents per beer (12 oz) and all Mexican liquor like the following: pint = $0.10, fifth = $0.20, and anything larger = $0.25 per container. If a beer drinker is going to drink beer, the price won’t stop them from making a purchase. I presume the only counter to this is that only the democratic beer drinkers will boycott the beer industry. But on their way home they will buy a six pack. And there it begins. Source: https://www.nbwa.org/resources/industry-fast-facts