Mark Larson - June 2013 Spotlight

By Joe Nelson
   The June 2013 SanDiegoRadio Spotlight features longtime radio talk show host Mark Larson. As you will read in this article, Mark does much more than that.
   And now, on with the interview...

Joe Nelson: Thanks for taking the time for SanDiegoRadio, Mark! Ok,what is your current title/position?

Mark Larson: President, Mark Larson Media Services, Inc.    Under the "umbrella" of my company there's Radio (weekday mornings 6-9AM on 1170AM KCBQ)...  My role as political analyst on KUSI TV and guest host for Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt on their national Salem Radio Network programs.   Radio is one of three parts in my media world, all under my company. The others are consulting/production (El Cajon Ford, Royale Energy, Purity Products, Turning Point) and my speakers group (with several notable personalities such as Gene Cernan (last man on the moon), Jennifer O'Neill, Carol LeBeau, Charlie Duke, Sandra

JN: What are your favorite parts of the job?
ML: Truly reflecting San Diego. I've been on radio here 37 years as of this month...Doing content that makes a difference, and doing a talk show for a company (KCBQ/Salem Communications) that matters in our community and to California and the nation.  Beats playing twelve songs in a row.
We have raised three kids here (all adults now..and so far four grandkids)...

I have only changed stations a handful of times. 1976 to 1994 at KFMB-AM ..afternoon show and PD/OM plus National Program Director..then 1994 to 2004 at KPRZ/KCBQ as on air and GM most of those years... Then KOGO 2004 -2007 until I opted out of a new contract to consider running for Congress.  After I came to me senses and decided not to run, I did a short term at BCA's 1700AM/1090AM before rejoining KCBQ in 2009.  

I love being involved in the community, and that's why I serve on boards of various organizations (such as Chairman of the Board of the San Diego Air & Space Museum).  If you are blessed to work in media here, I don't think it's a matter of just "doing radio or TV". Giving back personally is important.

Another things that energizes me is getting results for advertisers. Not just reading copy points for sponsors but really learning their businesses.  That philosophy has led to many long term relationships and success stories.  Radio personalities need to rethink the old us vs. them view when it comes to sales. Face it: We are all in sales.

JN: Who are your favorite all time musical artists?
ML: I'm sure a psychologist would love analyzing songs I have on my iPhone... More than 800 of them ... Very eclectic...  Partial to  60s and 70s since that was in my music radio days..Motown, Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Fifth Dimension..and lots of one hit wonders.  Led Zeppelin. Plenty of new and older Country.  Praise music. Mozart, Vivaldi, Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Tata Vega...
See what I mean? Ha. All over the road....

JN: And who are your favorite artists today?
ML: The song getting most play in my car right now  is "Wagon Wheel" by Darius Rucker.
And I've found that I have been buying more cowboy boots these days. I also find that I play lots of seasonal songs...this summer lots of summer 1968 hits are coming up in rotation.  Maybe I have been watching too many episodes of "Mad Men". Also, P!nk, Adele, and Bruno Mars. 

JN: Mark, tell me about your personal side.
ML: Everything I do is driven by my Christian faith. That's the goal, anyway, as a flawed human being. Trying to take each day as a blessing, with a responsibility to do something worthwhile and significant. Not shirking tough issues, talking about the things that matter most with compassion, friendliness and good humor.  

Editor's note: For a more detailed bio on Mark, see his website HERE

JN: What are your favorite restaurants?
ML: Donovan's (I did some consulting for owner Dan Shea when he began the restaurant) None better.
Pretty much anything the Cohns create, too ...Especially Blue Point and C Level/Island Prime.
In and Out, Il Fornaio, basic Jack in the Box tacos, Rubio's, Casa De Pico. Spicy City in Kearny Mesa. PF Chang. Rappongi.  Man, I am hungry right now.

JN: What are your movie interests?
ML: I watch a lot of stuff on Netflix...  Don't often go to theaters (especially during flu season..sitting in a big Petrie dish with others doesn't sound like fun) Really love classics (I see on his Facebook page a couple of his classics are Citizen Kane, and Duck Soup)(Duck Soup... one of this editor's favorite movies too!). As for TV on Netflix, I am addicted to "Portlandia".

JN: Do you have any hobbies?
ML: Reading, reading, reading...which sure helps prepping for a talk show and writing.  I am amping up the work on a new book I have put off for years.  I collect political and space memorabilia, too. Real history... Love it.

JN: What are your favorite parts of this city?
ML: East County..keeps things real and humble. When we moved here we first lived in the Lake Murray area. Have resisted the urge to move up beyond means. I think that's helped with raising kids in the real world.  I like the diversity in El Cajon, especially seeing how so many Chaldeans have assimilated into starting businesses.  That said, I still love spending time along the coast, Coronado, La Jolla. And all over downtown San Diego.

JN: Is there anything else you'd like to share, Mark?
ML: Never take any day for granted. Seize it, live it like it may be your last.  Don't see anything as coincidental.  I have found if I view every moment in the day as a "Divine appointment", I see everything differently. I pay more attention and that's when opportunities and blessing happen.

Mark, thanks again for taking the time for SanDiegoRadio!

You can visit Mark's personal website HERE. Mark offers plenty of great photos of pretty much everything we spoke of here.

Thanks for tuning in to SanDiegoRadio!


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