Radio host Bob Grant has died. He was 84.

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Grant was an American radio host whose real name was Robert Ciro Gigante. A veteran of broadcasting in New York City, Grant is considered a pioneer of the “conservative” and “confrontational” talk radio format.

 Bob graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in journalism.  His career in radio began as a newsman at WBBM in Chicago, as a TV host at KNX in Los Angeles, and as sports director at KABC.  In 1964 he inherited the talk show of Joe Pine at KABC, and quickly built a following.

Grant joined WABC Radio in 1984 where The Bob Grant Show consistently dominated the ratings in the highly competitive afternoon drive time slot.  Grant, who is considered the pioneer of the confrontational talk radio format, was known for a number of catchphrases such as “Get off my phone!” and “Your influence counts…use it!”   While Grant’s political philosophy generally skews to the right, he has held independent views as well, such as being pro-choice and anti-Flag Desecration Amendment.

In 1996 Grant was released from 77 WABC when he was fired for a remark about the April 3, 1996 airplane crash involving Commerce Secretary Ron Brown.  In 2002, industry magazine TALKERS magazine ranked Grant as the 16th greatest radio talk show host of all time.  He was honored by the National Association of Radio Talk Show Hosts (NARTSH) in 1996 with The Freedom of Speech Award.  In 2007 Bob Grant was nominated for induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

One of the most memorable controversies surrounding Grant’s career came in 2008 when Radio and Records revoked a Lifetime Achievement Award for “past comments that contradict our values and the respect we have for all members of our community.”  The talk radio community rallied behind Grant, with Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Mark Levin and others coming to Grant’s defense.  Levin fumed, “I am disgusted with the mistreatment of Bob Grant.  I am fed up with the censors, intimidators, and cowards in this business.”

Grant later returned to the microphone in the 8-10 pm time slot on 77 WABC in August of 2007, where he remained until November 2008.  2012 Due to popular demand – Bob was back to talk: “I’m addicted” to being on the radio, Grant says, “I admit it”.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bob and his family and friends.

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