This time it's Bob Grant, who hosts the evening 8-10 slot on WABC. He's known as a radio legend. He has an extremely loyal following, has been in the broadcast business for sixty years, and has won countless awards. In fact, last March he was nominated to receive a Lifetime Industry Achievement Award from the industry magazine Radio and Records.
Well, yesterday Radio and Records rescinded their Lifetime Achievement Award. Why, you ask? Take a guess:
Upon further review and consideration of Bob Grant's complete body of work, Radio & Records has withdrawn its decision to present the 2008 News/Talk/Sports Lifetime Industry Achievement Award to Mr. Grant. R&R is sensitive to the diversity of our community and does not want the presentation of an award to Mr. Grant to imply our endorsement of past comments by him that contradict our values and the respect we have for all members of our community.
Never mind that the guy is a pioneer. Never mind that he's influenced countless broadcasters with his decades of experience.
Grant has a history of being a curmudgeon on the radio, and was actually fired from WABC in 1996 for "racist" comments. He had received word of an airplane crash in Croatia that was carrying several American dignitaries, including African-American Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. Grant had said that he had " a hunch" that Ron Brown had survived. Why? "Maybe it's because, at heart, I'm a pessimist."
See, maybe I'm wrong here, but I don't think that he was being racist there; I think he was just being a tool.
At any rate, Mr. Grant has been monitored for years by various Media Matters-esque groups, and there are a few hit lists of "racist remarks" by him out there. Search for them if you'd like. They could very well be accurate, but I have to say that I really don't trust things like that after my experience last April.
And it gets worse. Bob Grant was contacted about the decision, and let's just say that he has some theories:
Mr. Grant said he found it ironic that the Rev. Al Sharpton is scheduled to speak at the R&R Talk Radio Seminar, where he would have received his award.
"I think it says more than I could possibly say," he said.From the same article:
Phil Boyce, the WABC program director who fired and later rehired Mr. Grant, said he was "shocked and hugely disappointed" by the decision to rescind the award.
"R&R has egg on their face. At the same convention where they are banning Bob Grant, Al Sharpton gets to come and lecture program directors like me about what is good and just and fair on the radio," he said. "Yeah, there are some things that Bob said years ago he shouldn't have said. He paid the price, and that's 10 years ago."
By the way, I have never listened to Bob Grant. Any perspective from his fans?
So far, fellow WABC employees Mark Levin and Sean Hannity have defended Grant. I wonder if this will be discussed on tomorrow's Imus program. Could this be a chance for us to have that "discussion on race" that we've been procrastinating on since December?
Incidentally, if you want to contact Radio and Records and call them the cowards that they are, go to www.radioandrecords.com.