Conservative radio pioneer Bob Grant dead at 84

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Brendan Bordelon Contributor
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Conservative radio legend Bob Grant passed away on New Year’s Eve. Grant enjoyed a forty-year career that paved the way for stars like Rush Limbaugh and cemented right-wing dominance in talk radio.

Newsmax reports that the gravel-voiced Grant died in his home state of New Jersey at the age of 84. He began his talk-radio career in 1970 and didn’t retire until last summer.

“And let’s be heard!” he would exclaim at the opening of every show, welcoming listeners to “another hour of the free and open exchange of ideas and opinions in the belief that as American citizens you have the right to hear, and to be heard.”

Widely credited with inventing right-wing radio, Grant bounced from station to station as his controversial comments repeatedly landed him in hot water. But he never lost the adulation of his audience, who admired his “straight ahead” attitude and uncompromising commitment to conservative values.

“Bob’s radio shows were always entertaining and passionate,” an obituary posted on the Branchburg Funeral Home website reads. “Along the way he interviewed countless political leaders and celebrities and inspired a generation of political talk radio hosts now working around the country. … He was an unapologetic and fierce supporter of conservative values, the U.S. military, law enforcement, and the nation of Israel.”

In honor of Grant’s passing, The Daily Caller News Foundation has collected some of the most outrageous comments spanning his lengthy career:

On New York Democratic Rep. Bob Rosenthal, who refused an interview request (1973): “The caller said ‘Bob, you oughta run for Congress.’ And I said, ‘Maybe I will, because as long as we have cowards like Ben Rosenthal running this country, we’re not going to get anywhere.'”

Typical talk in today’s radio world, in the stuffy 1970s the remark was enough for Rosenthal to sue Grant’s parent station for $10,000 under the “Fairness Act,” which required individuals to be notified when attacked on a controversial issue. Grant and the station lost in the first round, but eventually won on appeal with the D.C Circuit Court.

On how an African-American woman angry with police got her high-profile job at a radio station (1979): “I will tell you how. She passed the gynecological and pigmentation test — that’s how!”

This one got Grant fired from New York’s WOR station — even though, he later claimed, it “had given the radio giant the biggest overnight ratings they ever had.

On Martin Luther King (1993): “This bum, this womanizer, this liar, this fake, this phony, whose record is so replete with scandal that the record has been sealed until the year 2027, is called the ‘spiritual physician to our national apartheid.’ … If this bum had lived, we wouldn’t be extolling him as a saint, we wouldn’t have that stupid holiday on the 15th of January.”

Do we really have to explain this one?

On an April 3, 1996 airplane crash involving Clinton Commerce Secretary Ron Brown (1996): “My hunch is that [Brown] is the one survivor. I just have that hunch. Maybe it’s because, at heart, I’m a pessimist.”

Grant was wrong and Brown was dead, followed shortly thereafter by his sixteen-year contract with radio station WABC. Brown, undeterred, returned to WOR.

On then-candidate Obama’s “O-Flag” (2008): [Obama] is not content with just having several American flags, plain old American flags with the 50 states represented by 50 stars. He has the ‘O’ flag.” 

Grant was responding to an appearance by Obama that featured a flag similar to the Stars and Stripes, but emblazoned with a large “O”. The flag was actually the state of Ohio’s, but Grant assumed it was created by the Obama campaign to lionize the candidate. This last one received a rebuke from Media Matters, bringing Grant’s illustrious career into the modern age.

After 40 years of pissing liberals off, Grant goes to a well-deserved rest this week. May it be a peaceful one.

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Tags : talk radio
Brendan Bordelon