Archive for January, 2021

Larry King signs off

January 24, 2021

When I attended grad school at Stanford, Larry King became a big part of my life. Then we became colleagues, sort of.

During the baseball season, one of Bay Areas teams was usually at home and the other was usually playing in a different time zone. With luck, from 4.30 in the afternoon to 11pm there’d be baseball on the radio. Then there’d be Larry King’s overnight show on the Mutual Broadcasting System for as long as I stayed up.

King was my nighttime companion, as he was for millions. My second year of grad school, my pal Ken joined the party – he was already a King fan; I never dared ask why – and the show was part of the soundtrack that began our four decades of friendship. King wasn’t brilliant, but for his interview subjects and his listeners, he was a comfortable fit.

As a kid in Brooklyn, King grew up with baseball legend Sand Koufax. King told a riotous story about driving with Koufax and couple of other friends as high schoolers on a cold night to find a cheap ice cream at a New Haven outlet of the Carvel chain. The story was on tape and King would replay it every couple of months. A few years later, as a baseball writer I was at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida, and ran into Koufax, then a spring training instructor for the Dodgers. I asked him if King’s Carvel story was true. Koufax shrugged and replied, “What do you think?’ with just the hint of a smile.

When I worked as a news writer and producer in CNN’s Washington bureau, in the hour ahead of shooting Larry King Live, King and his suspenders would regularly drift into the newsroom and try to act like one of the guys. For King it seemed easier talking to movie stars and word leaders than to us working stiffs, even though he was doing double shifts those days, the TV show followed by the radio overnights. I saw him dozens of times but I never asked King about the Carvel story.

Former US diplomat and broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a contributor to Forbes and Inside Asian Gaming, columnist/correspondent for Asia Times, and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Biden begins: Make America Great Again for all

January 19, 2021

Joe Biden’s inaugural address should appeal for unity, speaking to the decency that remains at America’s core even after four years of purposeful polarization and disinformation. Biden using four words from his predecessor may get more people to listen.

Former US diplomat Muhammad Cohen a contributor to Forbes and Inside Asian Gaming columnist/correspondent for Asia Times, and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Sheldon Adelson death may move LVS online

January 13, 2021
LVS founder Sheldon Adelson brought Paris, Venice and London to Macau, the world’s most admired urban integrated resort to Singapore and conventions to Las Vegas.

The passing of Las Vegas Sands founder and megabillionaire Sheldon Adelson is expected to have little impact on the casino industry leader’s business. Sands President and COO Rob Goldstein will be the successor, at least for now.

A 25 year LVS veteran who successfully ran the company during Adelson’s 2019 cancer treatment and took the reins again last week when Adelson went on medical leave, Goldstein has the trust of Adelson’s widow, LVS controlling shareholder Dr Miriam Adelson, and of Wall Street. Sands CFO Patrick Dumont, married to Dr Adelson’s daughter, looms as a potential favorite son-in-law candidate for leadership, but the Israeli-born physician and her offspring are believed more focused on their native country’s politics than boardroom intrigue. Of course, new circumstances may change that and more.

Adelson spoke out forcefully against online gambling, citing the difficulties of policing it and highlighting its potential to undermine the billions invested in integrated resorts, as online shopping has done to department stores and shopping malls. Adelson’s passing increases the likelihood that LVS will join the casino industry’s march toward online play.

Staunch opposition to drug abuse – one of Adelson’s sons died of a drug overdose and Dr Adelson’s research centers on drug addiction – likely means that LVS will continue to hold out against marijuana use in casinos, regardless of any eventual industry consensus, as long as the Adelson family controls the company.

Adelson’s wealth made him one of the largest and most important political donors in the US and Israel. Adelson and I had our disagreements, but he did far more good than most of the politicians he bankrolled, a largely odious lineup that includes Benjamin Netanyahu, Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is editor at large for Inside Asian Gaming, a contributor to Forbes, columnist/correspondent for Asia Times, and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.


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