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A Short Talk About The World's Longest Interview


What do you do when the conversation lags? Our friend Richard Glover of the ABC in Sydney, Australia might know. This week he and sports author and journalist Peter FitzSimons set a new Guinness World Record for Longest Radio or TV interview: 24 hours, with only an occasional loo break. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: The record-setting interview did not take place "this week." It was actually in December 2011.]

RICHARD GLOVER: Good morning. We've had fantastic tweets and e-mails from people who started listening, for instance, in one man's case, to the broadcast in Australia yesterday morning, flew to New Zealand and I'm listening to the same interview in a different country nearly 24 hours later.

PETER FITZSIMMONS: And I took a plane, Richard, but you've barely let me get a word in edgewise.

SIMON: Our friend Richard Glover joins us from his studios in Sydney.

Richard, do you have any laryngitis?

GLOVER: Oh, to hear us talk we sound so tired, don't we?

SIMON: Little bit. Strange question under the circumstances. Do you two know each other better after this marathon interview?

GLOVER: I think we do actually. We had a good to-do about religion at about 3 a.m., a nice discussion about whether Australia should be a republic and sever its links with Britain around 4 a.m. That was pretty good. Should the Australian flag have the British flag in the corner, well, that created 20 minutes of disputation at around 5 a.m. And every interview ends with that sort of glib phrase, I'm terribly sorry. We're right out of time. So I wondered what would happen if that was impossible, you know, that you could never say that.


SIMON: You're brilliant. Did you make a point of not preparing questions, if you catch my drift?

GLOVER: Well, I think a proper interview involves listening as well as talking. And questions should grow from answers. So I think you can over-prepare. I think the other question is: who's the American that can take us on? And I've been running through the people who I've had on my Sydney radio show - the Americans I've had over the years on my Australian shows.

SIMON: I've been on your radio show.

GLOVER: Well, that's right. Look, and I think, you know, you're an OK talker, but Alan Dershowitz, now Alan man, who - he came into the studio, good morning, sir, I said, half an hour later we were still there. Now, I think, you know, he could be your man. That Garrison Keillor, now, he's a good talker.

SIMON: A wonderful talker.

GLOVER: Yeah. Noam Chomsky we had on a few months ago. Now, he's not a flashy talker, but he is steady. He'd be like a pony - a stayer, you know, in the Melbourne Cup. Not necessarily a sprint, but a good even pace for the first 13, 14 hours. You know, if you just said to him, Noam, what's wrong with American foreign policy, you could then go out, have a hamburger break and come back and he'd still be going.

SIMON: Yeah. Exactly. Richard?


SIMON: I'm afraid we're out of time.


GLOVER: Somehow when this interview started I knew that's the way it would end.


SIMON: Our friend Richard Glover of the ABC in Sydney.

Richard, get some rest. OK?

GLOVER: Thank you.

SIMON: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Corrected: February 20, 2012 at 11:00 PM CST
The audio introduction to this story, as did the previous Web version, incorrectly says the record-setting interview took place "this week." It was actually in December 2011.
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