Bob Grant, one of the true pioneers of talk radio, has passed away at the age of 84. Though he had been ill for some time, initial reports do not mention the specific cause of death.
Grant started in radio during the late 1940’s. He became a full time talk show host in 1964, when he replaced the controversial, take-no-prisoners right winger, Joe Pine, at KABC in Los Angeles. Grant, whose politics largely paralleled those of Pine, remained in talk radio right to the end, spending the lion’s share of time at New York radio stations. From 1970 to the present he presided over shows on various New York stations, including WMCA, WOR and WABC.
Upon hearing of his death, William O’Shaughnessy, President of Whitney Media, described Bob Grant very well this afternoon. He said:
“We are all his students. And anyone who approaches a microphone on this sad day owes him. He could be infuriating, caustic and, often, outrageous. But he was an American Original and a great champion and exemplar of Free Speech. I know he’s been lethal on the subject of the extraordinary individual I most admire in public life in America. And he once called me a ‘Stooge for Mario Cuomo.’ And that’s when he was in a really good mood! But Bob Grant was a gifted performer and a provocative social commentator. As the Dean of talk show hosts, he was without peer in our profession…”
That about sums it up.
Bob Grant was a true pioneer, and all talk show hosts, whether on radio or TV, whether to the right, in the center or to the left, owe him big-time.
May he rest in peace.