Anchors have come and gone over the years in Kansas City. Then there is Larry Moore, who has anchored the news on ABC affiliate KMBC-TV9 for nearly four decades.
And not only has Larry anchored the news, but his station has been one of the top-rated in the nation for several years now. In the process, he has won just about every journalism and community award ever given.
He graciously took the time to answer questions from Bottom Line Communications regarding his illustrious broadcasting career. We must admit some of his answers were surprising.
While he has interviewed a number of Presidents (he was the last TV person to interview Harry S. Truman), the proud University of Missouri grad says he found actress Jane Fonda the most interesting person he has ever interviewed.
His most difficult story? His own battle with cancer 20 years ago.
Ladies and gentlemen, Larry Moore…
My hometown is Baring, Missouri, a little town east of Kirksville, Missouri. I spent a lot of time in Edina, Missouri, where I attended St. Joseph Grade School.
I have a Master’s Degree specializing in television news from the University of Missouri and a bachelor’s degree from Truman State University.
How long have you been in your current position?
For nearly 40 years I have anchored the evening news on Channel 9.
How did you get into your TV?
As a youngster, I had planned to be a newspaper reporter and publisher. I circulated my own neighborhood newspaper when I was in 4th grade. When I reached college, the excitement and immediacy of television news lured me away from the print media.
What are some of the previous jobs you held?
I began as a beat reporter with the Kirksville, Missouri, Daily Express. I worked for United Press International out of Kansas City. I was state editor and reporter for the Columbia Daily Tribune. I decided then that television news held the most promise for my future and personal security.
I operated a commercial truck garden while in high school and the first two years of college, distributing produce to supermarkets and hospitals throughout north Missouri, I wrote a gardening book, The 20X30 Backyard Garden Guide, based on my experiences.
I have received numerous awards for professional work and community service. I just recently received the President’s Medal from Rockhurst University and the Diversity Award from Johnson County NAACP.
How has TV changed over the years?
When I joined Channel 9, we had to shoot film by 3 p.m. in the afternoon so we could have color film on the evening news. Now we can go live from anywhere in the world in color in a matter of seconds.
Marital Status (Children)
I have been married to my loving wife, Ruth, for 43 years. We have five children and five grandchildren.
Any children following in dad’s TV footsteps?
Of my 5 children, none are involved in television news. They will tell you they’ve seen it from the ground up and from the inside out.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? Least rewarding?
The most rewarding part of my job is being the first to know of events going on in our community, our nation, and our world and to be able to communicate details to a waiting viewership. The least rewarding is the bad hours the job entails. It’s 24/7. News does not respect time.
Did you ever consider another career?
When I was in junior high and high school my plan was to be a major league baseball pitcher. I had a great fastball and nasty curve. All of that changed when I injured my right shoulder and could never learn to become a hitter.
Did you have a mentor during your TV career?
I would not call him a mentor, necessarily, but the style of broadcasting I developed I copied considerably from Walter Cronkite. Rather than just reading the news, I tried to incorporate an excitement into news as he did. If I’m not interested and excited, why should the viewer be interested?
What is the strangest thing you have come across in your job?
Some of the strangest things I have come across involves the amazing things some people will do to be on television.
Any aspect of your career that that makes you particularly proud?
I am most proud of the Dream Factory, which I co-founded in Kansas City 28 years ago. During that period we have granted more than 5,500 dreams to sick and disabled kids. All the work is done by volunteers.
Dreams coming true have changed lives for the good and today a number of past recipients are now doctors, nurses, executives, business owners, lawyers, and physical therapists. We have never had to say no to a child because of lack of resources or money.
What is your favorite thing to do in Kansas City?
My favorite thing to do in Kansas City is to broadcast the evening news. I have never considered the work a job. It truly is a love that I’ve had for some 40 years.
What do you like to do in your free time? Hobbies?
In my free time, I enjoy photography, growing vegetables, (I‘ve had lots of two-pounders), riding horses, and playing with grandkids.
Your Catholic faith seems to be an important aspect of your life…Yes, it is. I have been since 1991 a member of the Knights of Malta, an order of men and women dedicated to helping the poor and the sick. Membership is approved by the Vatican. My wife and I are members of St. Thomas More Catholic Parish in South Kansas City.
People might be surprised to know that you…I really did write a book on gardening a number of years ago. It’s called the 20X30 Backyard Gardening Guide and is on the shelves of public libraries and is in the Library of Congress.
What is your favorite TV show?
As one of my sons once said in a charity stage appearance when I asked him the questions, he said, “Channel 9 News.”
Who was the most famous person you ever interviewed?
I’ve had the great opportunity to interview many of the famous and not-so-famous. When a reporter interviews a President of the United States, it is always a special occasion. I’ve had the opportunity to interview several—Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton. I also had the privilege of doing the very last television interview of the man from Independence, Harry Truman.
Who would you consider the most interesting person you have interviewed?
Probably the most interesting person I’ve interviewed is Jane Fonda. Regardless of how one feels about her political beliefs, I found her to be a most extraordinary and educated individual. No matter the question I would pose, she would never waiver.
Who do you follow on Twitter?
I don’t do much on Twitter. I can’t understand how one can hold onto a full-time job and still have time to Tweet. Talking on the phone while driving or Tweeting while driving are two things I do not do.
What was the most difficult story you ever covered?
The most difficult story I ever covered was my struggle with cancer 20 years ago. As I went through treatment, we presented an educational campaign on Channel 9. We had no idea how the process would conclude. It was like a bad movie, but I did survive.
Is it fair to say that you have pretty much seen it all in KC over the years?
In many ways, my tenure at Channel 9 is a history of television news in Kansas City—black and white film and the urban riots of 1968 to microwave technology and the GOP convention in 1976 to the World Series and satellite technology to the crime wave of the 21st century and iPhone technology.