Bob Grant, Conservative Radio Pioneer, Dead at 84

He is recognized as the veteran of the “conservative” and “confrontational” talk radio format

Conservative talk radio veteran Bob Grant died on Tuesday after a short illness, a representative from New York radio station WABC told TheWrap.

A veteran in New York radio since the 1970s, Grant is credited with inventing the “conservative” and “confrontational” talk radio format, a style used today by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity.

A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in journalism, Grant — whose birth name was Robert Gigante — began his radio career in Chicago in the 1940s. But, it was on KABC in Los Angeles in 1964 when he began to gain a following.

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But, he really found his place in New York radio in 1970. He spent seven years at WMCA as its “house conservative” and made waves with his confrontational style.

He moved to WABC in 1984 as its afternoon drive-time host. The ratings service, Arbitron, frequently listed his weekday afternoon show as No. 1 in the New York area.

In 1996, WABC fired Grant for remarks he made that were perceived as insensitive following the death of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. The National Rainbow Coalition, led by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, called for Grant’s firing. WABC would say that Grant’s departure was a mutual agreement.

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He moved to WOR in 1996 before rejoining WABC in 2006.

Grant is survived by two sons and two daughters.