Bob Grant, legendary conservative talk radio host who entertained and informed legions of fans during an on-air career that spanned more than 50 years, died peacefully, in Hillsborough, N.J., on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 after a short illness; he was 84 years old.
Born Robert Ciro Gigante in Chicago in 1929, he was a 1946 graduate of Steinmetz High School, and following that, the University of Illinois. He served in the Illinois Army National Guard in 1948-49 as part of the 132nd Infantry Regiment in Chicago and in the U.S. Navy Reserves from 1950-58 attached to the Naval Air Station at Glenview, Ill His broadcasting career began in the late 1940’s at WBBM in Chicago. He moved to Los Angeles where he hosted radio and television talk shows on KNX.
In the mid 1960s, he first developed his confrontational talk radio style at KABC with a focus on politics and conservative issues. He relocated to New York City in 1970 and joined the talk radio team at WMCA. From there, his career took off, and included successful stops at WOR and WWDB in Philadelphia. In 1984, he was selected to anchor WABC radios new all talk format as its afternoon drive show host. Bob’s radio shows were always entertaining and passionate. Along the way he interviewed countless political leaders and celebrities and inspired a generation of political talk radio hosts now working around the country.
Bob lived his life in accordance with one of his radio mantras: “Straight ahead!” He was an unapologetic and fierce supporter of conservative values, the U.S. military, law enforcement, and the nation of Israel. He loved his country, his family, and his Italian heritage, and often spoke on the radio about the many contributions made by Italian-Americans to the United States. He published his memoirs “Let’s be Heard” in 1996. That same year he was the recipient of the “Freedom of Speech Award” of the National Association of Radio Talk Show Hosts.
Surviving are his sons, Chris Grant and wife, Deanna of Fallbrook, Calif., Jeff Grant and wife, Eileen of Sun City, Ariz.; his daughters, Alisa Mingus of Kalamazoo, Mich. and Cynthia Gaydosh and husband, Robert of Bridgewater, N.J.; eight grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and his sister, Ann Ryan of Chicago.
A public viewing will be held Friday, January 10 from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Branchburg Funeral Home New Jersey. Memorial contributions may be made in Bob’s memory to the Young America’s Foundation or the New York Police and Fire Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund, Inc.