Larry Klein of the AMAs

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By Anna Marina Karadimas > Senior > Journalism and Studio Art > University of Maryland

The career path of an awards show producer must be marked with prestigious internships leading up to an entry level position before an endless climb to the top – Right?

Well, that’s only half true for Larry Klein, producer of the American Music Awards (AMA). He put in the grueling hours and hard work, but he also just got lucky.

After graduating as a radio, TV and film major from the University of Wisconsin, Klein moved to California, walked into the offices of Dick Clark Productions and told the receptionist a huge lie- that he had an appointment with Dick Clark himself.

His deception landed him face time with Clark, and before he knew it he had a job as a runner for Clark.  Not too much later, he was producing television shows. 

“I don’t know what I did right. I got lucky because I got the runner job because of a bullshit lie.  It’s bizarre. I just worked my little butt off and I dunno, a year and half later I was producing,” he said.

Klein’s method was unconventional, but even in college he challenged the norm.

“When the speaker was giving the speech at graduation, after his advice to us was to start small and work to big I raised my hand – in the middle of the ceremony, I actually raised my hand—and said ‘why are u telling us to start small and work bigger, we should start big and work our way down.’”

Klein started big and just got bigger.  He now spends his days talking to the celebrities and answering a constantly ringing cell phone.  The result of his hard work?  The glitz and glam that we see – and don’t see – once the red curtains part.

“The real show is backstage. It’s the traffic patterns. You have no idea what’s going on behind those curtains. Literally scores of people running franticly around to make sure things go smoothly.”

Now in its 37th year, the AMAs are always adapting with the ever changing technology. Although winners have always been determined by votes from the public, this year was the third year that votes were cast online, and the first time that the red carpet show streamed live on the Internet.

“It’s because that’s where the public is,” Klein said. “The greatness of the Internet is that you’re able to reach to a vast amount of people. You have to change with change.”

With such a busy schedule, Klein accepts the fact that sometimes work leaves little time for a personal life. “My work is my life, my life is my work. I’m lucky enough to be working with my friends so even though I don’t see them out in a restaurant or something, I’ll still see them at work,” he said.

Klein got to where he is today with a bit of luck and a lot of hard work. His ‘never give up’ attitude helped him through the long hours and paved the way to his success.

“You’ve just got to go for it, have faith and go for it. If you fail, it’s ok,” he said. “You just got to try.”

College Magazine Staff

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