Larry King Live

Larry King Live is an American talk show that was hosted by Larry King on CNN from 1985 to 2010. It was CNN's most watched and longest-running program, with over one million viewers nightly.[2]

Mainly aired from CNN's Los Angeles studios, the show was sometimes broadcast from CNN's studios in Atlanta, New York or Washington, D.C., where King gained national prominence during his years as a radio interviewer for the Mutual Broadcasting System.[3] Every night, King interviewed one or more prominent individuals, usually celebrities, politicians and businesspeople.

The one-hour show was broadcast three times a day in some areas, and was seen all over the world on CNN International.

On June 29, 2010, King announced that the program would be coming to an end.[4][5][6] The "final edition" of the program aired on December 16,[7] but a new episode on the war against cancer aired two days later on December 18.[8]

Larry King Live was replaced by Piers Morgan Tonight, a talk show hosted by the British television personality and journalist Piers Morgan, that began airing January 17, 2011.[9] It was renamed Piers Morgan Live in 2013, and ran its last episode on March 28, 2014 after being cancelled.[10]

Larry King Live
GenreTalk show
Created byLarry King
Presented byLarry King
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes6,120[1]
Running time60 minutes (every night)
Original networkCNN
Picture format
Original releaseJune 3, 1985 –
December 18, 2010
Followed by
External links


Interview style

Larry King mainly conducted interviews from the studio, but he also interviewed people on-site in the White House, their prison cells, their homes, and other unique locations. Critics have claimed that Larry King asks "soft" questions in comparison to other interviewers, which allows him to reach guests who would be averse to interviewing on "tough" talk shows. His reputation for asking easy, open-ended questions has made him attractive to important figures who want to state their position while avoiding being challenged on contentious topics.[11] When interviewed on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, King said that the secret to a good interview is to get the guest to talk about him- or herself, and to put oneself in the background pool.

A 1996 interview in the Washington Post had King note that he sometimes slips hard questions in between softballs. King prefers one-sentence questions. In interviews, King has also proclaimed that he prepares as little as possible for each program, does not read the books of the authors he interviews,[3] and admitted that the show was not journalism but "infotainment". He said that he tries to project an image of earnestness and sincerity in each interview, and the format of the show (King in suspenders instead of suit and tie, sitting directly next to the guest) reinforces that.

In response to "'softball' questions" accusations, King says, "I've never understood that. All I've tried to do is ask the best questions I could think of, listen to the answers, and then follow up. I've never not followed up. I don't attack anybody – that's not my style – but I follow up. I've asked people who say this, 'What's a softball question?' They'll say, 'You say to some movie star, what's your next project?' To me, that's not a softball. To me, that's interesting – what are you doing next?"


King accepted call-in questions on some nights. Callers were identified only by city and state/province, and generally not by name. Occasionally, surprise guests telephoned the show and comment, like governors, royalty, and celebrities. At times, prank calls came in.

Frequent topics

During major election coverage, the program may center on political analysis and commentary, as the show's prime time airing generally coincides with the closing of polls in many states. Larry King would air generally near the end of each hour with various guests during election coverage while hosting a panel at the end of the night which is midnight eastern the usual time slot for the show's daily repeat outside of live election coverage.

One of King's recurring topics is the paranormal. A frequent guest is John Edward of the popular television show Crossing Over with John Edward. Edward comes on the show and gives callers a free chance to supposedly communicate, via him, with their dead loved ones. King also had alleged psychics such as Sylvia Browne and James Van Praagh on from time to time to do readings and discuss the future. King sometimes allows skeptics such as James Randi to debate the psychics. In an April 2005 episode, King hosted a panel discussion regarding Evangelical, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and atheist views on the afterlife. King has also had topics about UFO's and Extraterrestrials where he pits believers against skeptics.

King is also frequently accused of pandering to sensationalist news stories; for instance, the death of Anna Nicole Smith took up much of King's shows after the event, causing the cancellation of numerous guests and interviews that were already scheduled, most notably Christopher Hitchens, who had intended to discuss the Iraq situation.

After the death of a prominent celebrity, King would either replay a recent program featuring said celebrity (for instance, after actor Don Knotts' death in 2006 King replayed the interview with Knotts and Andy Griffith taken several months before) or will bring on family members and close confidantes to the deceased to reminisce on the departed's life.

Set design

Each studio set features an identical colored-dot map of the world in the background and one of King's trademarks, a vintage RCA microphone (as seen in the title card), on the desk. The microphone is a prop,[12] as King and his guests use lapel microphones.

Notable episodes

Vladimir Putin with Larry King
King interviewing Vladimir Putin, September 8, 2000.
  • On June 3, 1985, Larry King Live debuted on CNN, with then-Governor of New York Mario Cuomo as King's first guest.[6]
  • The November 9, 1993 debate between Ross Perot and Al Gore on the North American Free Trade Agreement was watched in 11.174 million households – the largest audience ever for a program on an ad-supported cable network until the October 23, 2006 New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys game on ESPN's Monday Night Football.[13]
  • On September 8, 2000, Russian President Vladimir Putin is interviewed.
  • On September 25, 2006, Oprah Winfrey made her first endorsement of Barack Obama for President of the United States on Larry King Live. Two economists estimate that Winfrey's endorsement was worth over a million votes in the Democratic primary race[14] and that without it, Obama would have lost the nomination.[15]
  • To mark the 20th anniversary of the show, ABC's Barbara Walters was a guest host and interviewed King on his reflections of his career.
  • To mark 50 years in broadcasting, Larry King Live had a week long celebration that included a two-hour CNN presents special and an hour of celebrity toast. The broadcast of this special week-long event was postponed due to the tragedy at Virginia Tech. XM Satellite Radio also featured a micro channel called "Larry!" that featured replays of the show along with interviews and the new material from the CNN anniversary shows.
  • On July 19, 2007, a frail Tammy Faye Messner made her final appearance on Larry King Live to talk about her battle with lung and colon cancer. She died the following day.
  • On September 7, 2009, the first episode in high definition was aired.
  • On February 12, 2010, during a discussion on Bill Clinton's latest heart procedure, Larry King revealed he had undergone a similar operation 5 weeks earlier. King had a heart attack in 1987 and said he had surgery to place stents in his coronary artery.
  • On December 16, 2010, the final episode of Larry King Live aired on CNN, with Ryan Seacrest and Bill Maher acting as co-masters of ceremonies, and surprise appearances by President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and network news anchors Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric and Brian Williams, among others. King says his final show was not a "good-bye" but rather a "so long", as he plans to move on and pursue other things. The final show attracted an audience of 2.24 million people, more than triple the program's usual audience of 672,000.[16]
  • On December 18, 2010, a late episode covering the war on cancer aired.

Guest hosts

When King has been absent from the show, other interviewers have substituted for him.

Planned Al Gore hosting

Al Gore was supposed to host on May 6, 1999, with Oprah Winfrey as a guest and the topic was supposed to be the aftermath of the Columbine High School massacre. However, with Gore's candidacy for Presidency pending, CNN decided not to let him host as a result of the controversy.[35]


  1. ^ "Larry King ends his record-setting run on CNN". CNN. December 17, 2010.
  2. ^ "End Of Qtr Data-Q107 (minus 3 hours).xls" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-24. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
  3. ^ a b "The Man Who Can`t Stop Talking Starting In South Florida, Larry King Has Been Live And On The Air For More Than 30 Years. On Radio And Tv, When The King Of Talk Speaks, The World Listens". Sun Sentinel.
  4. ^ "Larry King to end long-running US TV chat show". BBC News. June 30, 2010. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
  5. ^ Fisher, Luchina; Braiker, Brian (June 30, 2010). "Larry King's Luminary Friends Chime in on His News". ABC News. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
  6. ^ a b "CNN broadcasting legend Larry King to step down". Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  7. ^ "Larry King signs off from CNN talk show". The Spy Report. Media Spy. December 17, 2010. Archived from the original on December 23, 2010. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
  8. ^ "". CNN.
  9. ^ "Piers Morgan signs on as Larry King replacement". The Spy Report. Media Spy. September 9, 2010. Archived from the original on September 15, 2010. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
  10. ^ Sadie Gennis (March 14, 2014). "Piers Morgan's CNN Show Gets Official End Date". TV Guide.
  11. ^ Barry, Ellen (December 1, 2010). "Blunt and Blustery, Putin Responds to State Department Cables on Russia". New York Times. New York Times Company. Retrieved December 3, 2010.
  12. ^ Bauder, David. "Larry King exits CNN after 25 years". Today.
  13. ^ "Giants-Cowboys draws largest cable audience". ESPN. October 25, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-26.
  14. ^ Levitt, Steven D. (August 6, 2008). "So Much for One Person, One Vote". The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
  15. ^ The Role of Celebrity Endorsements in Politics: Oprah, Obama, and the 2008 Democratic Primary.
  16. ^ "Larry "King went out on top of the ratings race – if only for a night"". NY Daily News.
  17. ^ "CNN 20: Kermit Hosts 'LARRY KING LIVE' April 1, 1994". transcripts. 2000-04-01. Retrieved 2006-12-30. (full transcript)
  19. ^ David Bauder (1998-02-17). "San Diego Source > News > CBS's Dan Rather Guest Host On CNN's 'Larry King Live'". Retrieved 2010-10-21.
  20. ^ "Larry King Live". CNN. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
  21. ^ "Newt Gingrich takes on a host of animals". CNN. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
  22. ^ "Larry King Live". CNN. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
  23. ^ Timothy Noah (2000-12-05). "St. John Ashcroft's Passion – Timothy Noah – Slate Magazine". Retrieved 2010-10-21.
  24. ^ "Transcript: Sen. John McCain discusses campaign finance reform on 'Larry King Live'". CNN. January 22, 2001. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
  25. ^ "Costas taking CNN role: News network announces television host to be substitute anchor of "Larry King Live."". CNN. 2005-06-08. Retrieved 2006-12-30.
  26. ^ Lisa de Moraes (2005-06-09). "CNN's Designated Sitter: Bob Costas To Be Larry King's Regular Guest Host". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2006-12-30.
  27. ^ " - Transcripts". Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  28. ^ "". CNN. Retrieved December 18, 2010.
  29. ^ "TV Daily -". 2008-03-11. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
  30. ^ Ryan Powers (2008-07-21). "'The Most Trusted Name In News' Surrenders Its Full 9 PM Hour To Beck Tonight". ThinkProgress. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
  31. ^ "". CNN. Retrieved December 18, 2010.
  32. ^ "". CNN. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
  33. ^ "". CNN. Retrieved December 18, 2010.
  34. ^ "". CNN. Retrieved March 12, 2013.
  35. ^ Kurtz, Howard (May 7, 1999). "CNN Cancels Gore's Hosting Gig". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 7, 2010.

External links

Ellen Johnson

Ellen Johnson (born 1955) is an American activist for the civil rights of atheists and for the separation of church and state in the United States. She served as the president of the organization American Atheists from 1995 to 2008.

Ghost Lab

Ghost Lab is a weekly American paranormal television series that premiered on October 6, 2009, on the Discovery Channel. Produced by Paper Route Productions and Go Go Luckey Entertainment, the program is narrated by Mike Rowe. It follows ghost-hunting brothers Brad and Barry Klinge, who founded Everyday Paranormal (EP) in October 2007.

Everyday Paranormal is a paranormal investigation team whose stated mission is to "visit the most haunted places in America, find evidence, and test new theories to probe the existence of the afterlife" using a fringe-scientific approach.

In addition to Brad and Barry, the team included members Steve Harris, Hector Cisneros, and Katie Burr. Other members included Jason Worden, Ashlee Lehman (Formerly Ashlee Hillhouse), and Steve Hock. Ghost Lab remains the name of EP's mobile command center.

On October 14, 2009, Brad and Barry Klinge were interviewed on The Pat & Brian Show about the origins of Everyday Paranormal, current investigations, and equipment use. On October 30, 2009, Larry King interviewed the brothers via satellite on CNN's Larry King Live.

History of CNN (1980–2003)

Cable News Network (CNN), an American basic cable and satellite television channel that is owned by the Turner Broadcasting System division of Time Warner, was founded in 1980 by Ted Turner and 25 other original members, who invested $20 million into the network. Upon its launch, CNN became the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and was the first all-news television network in the United States. This article discusses the history of CNN, beginning with the June 1980 launch of the channel.

John Edward

John Edward McGee Jr. (born October 19, 1969), known professionally as John Edward, is an American television personality, author and purported psychic medium.

Born in Glen Cove, New York, Edward says he was convinced at a young age that he could become a psychic. After writing his first book on the subject in 1998, Edward became a well-known and controversial figure in the United States through his shows broadcast on the Sci-Fi Channel beginning in July 2000 and We TV since May 2006.

Larry King

Larry King (born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger; November 19, 1933) is an American television and radio host, whose work has been recognized with awards including two Peabodys, an Emmy award, and 10 Cable ACE Awards.

King began as a local Florida journalist and radio interviewer in the 1950s and 1960s and gained prominence beginning in 1978 as host of The Larry King Show, an all-night nationwide call-in radio program heard on the Mutual Broadcasting System. From 1985 to 2010, he hosted the nightly interview television program Larry King Live on CNN. He currently hosts Larry King Now on Hulu and RT America during the week, and on Thursdays he hosts Politicking with Larry King, a weekly political talk show which airs in the evening on the same two channels.

Larry King (30 Rock)

"Larry King" is the twelfth episode of the third season of the American television comedy series 30 Rock, and the 48th overall episode of the series. It was written by supervising producer Matt Hubbard and directed by Constantine Makris. The episode originally aired on the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) in the United States on February 26, 2009. Salma Hayek, Ajay Naidu, Brian Stack, and Rip Torn guest star in "Larry King", and there are cameo appearances by Larry King and Meredith Vieira.

In the episode, Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) considers taking the next step in his relationship with his girlfriend Elisa Pedrera (Salma Hayek). Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) appears on Larry King Live and inadvertently triggers mayhem in New York City when responding to questions about the economy. In addition, Tracy's interview sends the crew members of the fictitious show TGS with Tracy Jordan—Pete Hornberger (Scott Adsit), Frank Rossitano (Judah Friedlander), James "Toofer" Spurlock (Keith Powell), and J. D. Lutz (John Lutz)—on a search of the 30 Rock building for a treasure. At the same time, Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) loses her cellphone and must go with NBC page Kenneth Parcell (Jack McBrayer) to Queens to recover it where it is being held for ransom by a taxi driver (Naidu).

"Larry King" has received generally positive reviews from television critics. According to the Nielsen Media Research, the episode was watched by 6.4 million households during its original broadcast, and received a 2.9 rating/7 share among viewers in the 18–49 demographic.

Larry King Now

Larry King Now is a talk show hosted by Larry King created by Shawn Southwick King, and available on Ora TV, Hulu and RT America. Launched on July 17, 2012, the series features interviews with newsmakers, celebrities, world leaders, and Internet stars. The show is similar to his previous CNN program, Larry King Live.

The show is the first venture by Ora TV, an on-demand TV network founded in March 2012 by King, Shawn Southwick King, and Carlos Slim. In May 2013, RT America announced that Larry King Now would be broadcast on their network as well, along with the Ora TV show Politicking with Larry King. Excerpts of both shows are also published on YouTube.

Lauren Sánchez

Lauren Wendy Sánchez (born December 19, 1969) is an Emmy Award-nominated American news anchor, entertainment reporter, media personality, actress, producer, pilot and entrepreneur. Sanchez is a frequent guest host on The View, former co-host on KTTV Fox 11's Good Day LA and anchor on the Fox 11 Ten O'clock News, and anchor and special correspondent on Extra. Sánchez has also been a regular contributor on shows including Larry King Live, The Joy Behar Show and Showbiz Tonight.

Mr. Butts

Mr. Butts is a character in Garry Trudeau's comic strip Doonesbury. When Mike Doonesbury was asked to create an ad campaign aimed at teenage smokers, he suffered a morality crisis, and the hallucinatory Mr. Butts was the result. An eight-foot-tall (2.5 meter) cigarette with a goofy smile, Mr. Butts is the anthropomorphic personification of the tobacco industry. Stylistically he is reminiscent of Zap Comix, as pointed out by J.J. when first described to her by Mike.

At first "Buttsy" only appeared in Mike's dreams, and he took them as a sign of his morality rebelling. But Doonesbury often bends the line between fantasy and reality, and it wasn't long before Mr. Butts was being treated as a real person, interacting with other characters and even testifying before congress.

Butts seems to have a very naive personality when it comes to the product he represents. He honestly can't see that there is any connection between cigarettes and cancer, and he is fully convinced that smoking will help make kids cool. He usually treats his appearances as public service announcements, addressing the audience directly to tell them "good news" about the tobacco industry.

In the real world, Mr. Butts has appeared in an animated anti-smoking commercial (voiced by Billy West), the only television appearance of a Doonesbury character other than the animated special aired in 1977 and the Larry King Live appearance of Duke on 2000-03-13. He also appeared on hundreds of trashcans on Santa Monica, California's beaches as part of that city's awareness promotion of their new anti-smoking ordinance in August, 2005.Mr. Butts is sometimes accompanied by Mr. Jay, a large marijuana joint, along with Dum Dum (a personification of the NRA), and Mr. Brewski (a personification of the liquor industry). Trudeau often uses the appearances of these sidekicks to illustrate his own viewpoints on the legalization of marijuana. In addition, with the rising of vaping, there is also Juuly, a giant electronic cigarette, who cheerfully models herself on Mr. Butts.

Mr. Butts was also a pseudonym (inspired by the Doonesbury character) of a then-anonymous informant who in 1995 sent 4,000 pages of incriminating Brown & Williamson tobacco company documents to researcher Stanton Glantz. The documents were used extensively in litigation against the tobacco industry and were the basis of the book The Cigarette Papers.

Nicole Lamarche

Nicole Lamarche is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC) and a beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss California 2003. Competing in the Miss San Francisco Pageant in 2003, she won the title and went on to win Miss California 2003 and became the Fourth runner up to the title of Miss America 2004. She was the swimsuit winner and although she decided to wear high heels during this segment of the competition it was erroneously reported by an ESPN columnist that she competed barefoot. This is most likely due to pictures of her competing in the Miss California swimsuit segment not wearing high heels, as the contestants normally do. She earned over $26,000 in scholarships.

She earned an MA in theology from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and a Master of Divinity from the Pacific School of Religion.Lamarche spoke publicly about Miss California USA Carrie Prejean's controversial answer regarding gay marriage. Lamarche was featured on Larry King Live to discuss the topic.Lamarche served as pastor for the Cotuit Federated Church on Cape Cod from 2007 until 2010. She subsequently relocated to Northern California, where she founded a new UCC congregation, the Silicon Valley Progressive Faith Community, in San Jose, now called Urban Sanctuary. She served as the congregation's Founding Pastor until 2018. In 2019 she became minister of Community UCC in Boulder, Colorado.

In 2008, Lamarche married Jeremy Nickel, whom she had met in divinity school. In July, 2011, the couple had their first child, a baby daughter.

Piers Morgan Live

Piers Morgan Live (formerly known as Piers Morgan Tonight) is a talk show that was hosted by Piers Morgan and broadcast on CNN. The show premiered on January 17, 2011, and filled the former Larry King Live timeslot. It was announced as cancelled on February 23, 2014, after a continuous drop in ratings, and broadcast its last episode on March 28, 2014.The theme music was written by Anthony James, composer and CEO of British company Music Candy, and his writing partner Yiorgos Bellapaisiotis, Music Candy's Director. Piers Morgan Live was broadcast primarily from CNN's studios at the Time Warner Center in New York City.

Recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches introduced 1992–1993

The following is a list of recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches introduced between September 26, 1992, and May 15, 1993, the eighteenth season of SNL.

Rosemary Altea

Rosemary Altea (born Rosemary Edwards) is a British author who describes herself as a medium and healer. She has appeared on various programs, including Larry King Live, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and featured in the series premier of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! alongside mentalist Mark Edward. She has written six books and claims to have a "healing foundation".

Sylvia Browne

Sylvia Celeste Browne (née Shoemaker; October 19, 1936 – November 20, 2013) was an American author who claimed to be a medium with psychic abilities. She appeared regularly on television and radio, including on The Montel Williams Show and Larry King Live TV shows and hosted an hour-long Internet radio show on Hay House Radio.

Browne was frequently discredited and faced criticism for making pronouncements that were later found to be false, including those related to missing persons such as Shawn Hornbeck and Amanda Berry. Jon Ronson in The Guardian dubbed her "America's most controversial psychic".

Browne was also a convicted criminal, having faced fraud and theft charges in 1992. Despite considerable negative publicity, she maintained a large following.

Tammy Faye Messner

Tamara Faye Messner (née LaValley, formerly Bakker; March 7, 1942 – July 20, 2007) was an American Christian singer, evangelist, entrepreneur, author, talk show host, and television personality. She initially gained notice for her work with The PTL Club, a televangelist program she co-founded with her then-husband Jim Bakker in 1974. Prior to founding The PTL Club, they had hosted their own puppet show series for local programming in Minnesota in the early 1970s, and Messner also had a career as a recording artist. In 1978, she and Bakker built Heritage USA, a Christian theme park.

Messner would garner significant publicity when Jim Bakker was indicted, convicted, and imprisoned on numerous counts of fraud and conspiracy in 1989, resulting in the dissolution of The PTL Club. After divorcing Bakker in 1992, she remarried to Roe Messner. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1996, of which she suffered intermittently for over a decade before dying of the disease in 2007.

Over the course of her career, Messner was noted for her eccentric and glamorous persona, as well as for her moral views that diverged from those of many mainstream Evangelists, particularly her acceptance of the LGBT community and reaching out to HIV/AIDS patients at the height of the AIDS epidemic.

The Rachel Maddow Show

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Virginia Harris

Virginia S. Harris was Publisher of The Writings of Mary Baker Eddy, President and founding Trustee of The Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity and Chair of The Christian Science Board of Directors between 1990 and 2004. In these roles she was instrumental in expanding the availability of Mary Baker Eddy's primary work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures and increasing awareness of Mrs. Eddy's life and ideas. The establishment of The Mary Baker Eddy Library enabled a large and valuable collection of 19th and early 20th century letters and artifacts to be available to the public for the first time.

Harris has spoken extensively on Christian Science and Mary Baker Eddy. She was on the faculty of Harvard Medical School's semi-annual Spirituality & Healing in Medicine symposium from 1995-2004, speaking on Christian Science healing to hundreds of physicians, nurses, healthcare professionals, and clergy. She appeared in two exclusive interviews on Larry King Live, in 1999 and 2001, and has been interviewed by The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, NPR and many other media sources.

The Christian Science Board of Directors functions as a five-member Board in its governing system.

Virginia Harris made significant contributions, attempting to foster new appreciation and interest in the teachings of Christian Science by opening the doors and documents of the Church as well as creating new dialogue with a wide range of current thinkers on the relationships between healing and thought, including Dr. Herb Benson, Marianne Williamson and Dr. Larry Dossey.

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Virginia Harris is a practitioner and authorized teacher (C.S.B.) of Christian Science. She was recently appointed to the Christian Science Board of Lectureship to speak exclusively to medical and healthcare professionals about spiritual healing and specifically the practice of Christian Science healing.


WRUF (850 AM) is a radio station that operates from the University of Florida's main campus in Gainesville, broadcasting at 850 kHz. WRUF is a sports station. Unlike its public sister stations, WUFT-TV and WUFT-FM, WRUF is a commercial station and, despite being state-run, is run no differently from privately owned commercial stations.

The station signed on in October 1928 and is the fifth-oldest station in the state.

WRUF featured a mixture of local and syndicated programs, including Jim Bohannon, Dr. Joy Browne, Larry King Live and Sporting News Radio, plus religious programming on Sunday mornings, including Bill Gaither, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and local church services. Network news are provided by Associated Press and CBS Radio.

The Brand Manager is Rob Harder, Operations Manager is Brett Holcomb and the Sports Director is Steve Russell.

WRUF's news and sports departments, staffed almost entirely by School of Journalism students, are fairly large for a station of its size; by at least one account it has the largest local radio news department in Florida.

A WRUF microphone used by UF alumnus Red Barber during the 1930s is part of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's collection. It has been displayed in the museum's "Scribes and Mikemen" exhibit and from 2002 to 2006 it was a part of the "Baseball as America" traveling exhibition.

In 2010, WRUF changed their format from news and talk (previously in existence since 1993 and known as Newsradio AM 850 WRUF) to sports (Sportsradio 850) and on June 29, 2012, WRUF received the ESPN Radio affiliation. The station is an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays radio network, Tampa Bay Lightning and Jacksonville Jaguars. It is the flagship station for the Florida Gators football, basketball, baseball, women's basketball, lacrosse, soccer and volleyball.

On August 19, 2015, WRUF began simulcasting on FM translator W237EJ 95.3 FM in Gainesville. It exists mainly to fill in the gaps when the main signal must adjust its coverage to protect a glut of clear-channel stations on adjacent channels. Shortly afterward, the station changed its branding from "ESPN 850" to "ESPN 95.3," after the translator.

On December 1, 2016, WRUF switched its FM translator from W237EJ 95.3 FM Gainesville (now simulcasting WUFT-HD3 as CHR-formatted GHQ) to W251CG 98.1 FM Gainesville.

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