Local & State Voices

Keith Larson: It’s time to move on

Cassidy Hooper and Keith Larson
Cassidy Hooper and Keith Larson Courtesy of Keith Larson

The house at the lake is almost finished, the movers are booked, and it’s time to write this column.

I’ve been putting it off for awhile.

I didn’t set out to be a political pundit. In fact, I was shocked to find how radio had become dominated by putrid partisanship between when it sent me packing from morning-drive in Phoenix in 1988 and I became a corporate ad-guy, until I returned to the AM airwaves in 2000. A little over a year later, Providence put me in the orbit of people at WBT.

It had given the Carolinas personalities as varied as raconteur Robert D. Raiford and his Adventures in Sound, fourteen-years of Ty Boyd mornings, Rockin’ Ray Gooding’s Hall of Fame Sunday Nights, and Hello Henry Boggan. By the time I arrived, Mid-Days had become a Rush of politics but there was still afternoon Monkey Shines with Spires and Krantz, and a Most-Beloved guy in the evenings who introduced me to a band of brothers from Concord who gave me a new soundtrack, and became friends.

John Hancock also gave me the tip that would change my life.

“Tell these people in the Carolinas what the need is, and they’ll step up.”

I did. And through the 50,000-watts and into my heart flowed Hope Stout and her Make-A-Wish; Zach Ramsey’s zest for life and faith; Steven McMickens, who cradled two dying Charlotte police officers; and “The Amazing One,” Cassidy Hooper - born with no eyes and no nose but knowing no boundaries.

“I don’t need easy,” Cassidy said upon graduating from Central Piedmont Community College recently. “I just need possible.”

Political fencing became a larger part of me out of “Small L” libertarian beliefs that made tangling with the Left and Right easy, and a love of puncturing powerful, thin-skinned people pumped on their own hot air. As WBT became more political, the “eye-poking” provided a steady serving of meat and potatoes for the show.

The Charlotte Observer folk welcomed me to their pages five years and fifty-five-thousand-or-so words ago. They’ve never told me what to write, or what not to. While I’ve written about incredible kids, the America I found on a cross-country motorcycle trip, the dreary Thanksgivings that brightened my life, and my Mom’s final Five Wishes - appearing on an Op-Ed page emanates a gravitational force pulling toward news and politics. I’ve done most of my typing there.

Yet for me, politics is a part of life, not its primary purpose, and I’ve grown tired of that toxic arena.

There are other stories to tell, many requiring more than 550 words. When I do have thoughts within that specification, I may send them to the Observer folk. Maybe they’ll find them fit to print or post, even if on other pages.

Home will soon be almost as close to Raleigh’s airport as Charlotte’s, so I’ll finally be able to grab some cheaper air fares. But I have business interests here, so I’ll be around. And I’ll still be living in the 9th Congressional District, so I’ll be able to do the right thing in September.

North Carolina doesn’t need septic “Senator HB-2” representing it in Washington now any more than it needed Machiavellian Mayor “Pee Wherever you Want” a few years back.

Parting political shot.


Keith Larson can be reached at klarson@thelarsonpage.com, or if you happen on his secluded inlet at the lake.