My 62 Years in Broadcasting
May 14, 2010
Today, May 14 is my 62nd anniversary in commercial radio broadcasting. It was on May 14, 1948, in Oak Park, Illinois that I began my radio career.
Before that date I was broadcasting on educational radio. First I broadcast for the Chicago Board of Education over public radio station WBEZ, followed by the University of Illinois, and later over WILL in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.
But, it was on this date that I was working on radio and getting paid a weekly salary!
I remember like it was the day before yesterday. My assignment was to do all the newscasts from 12 noon until eight p.m.
My first newscast, thanks to the Associated Press, was not without material. The big story that day was that the state of Israel had been proclaimed in what was called Palestine.
Everyone at the station was excited and even euphoric. Ernie Jacobs, the owner of the station, congratulated me on my handling of all the Hebrew names. I remember saying the name of Chaim Weitzmann many times.
Weitzmann became the first president of Israel. Of course, there was Israel’s Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion; Moshe Shertok, an Israeli statesman; and even Golda Meir from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who later became Israel’s first woman prime minister.
I could go on and on about that day. Jack Schefrin, our program director, said, “Are you sure you’re not Jewish, Bob?” I remember answering, “Jack, in a way I think we all are.”
He liked that and since he was a very sensitive man he cried unashamedly because he was touched that those of us who didn’t come from a Jewish background would be so elated.
I had a boyhood friend who had joined the Hagganah. He taught me a lot about the Jewish experience and did radio programs on behalf of Hagganah, raising funds for their support.
But, as they say, I digress. I was writing about myself and the fact that on this date in l948 I began an incredible career . . . a career punctuated with many joyous moments and many tragic moments.
But little did I know that I would also embark on a career that saw me professionally slandered and my reputation so besmirched that I never have fully recovered.
As for me personally and physically, I have survived, but my career has never gone as far as it should have.
While others have said publicly they owed me for their success, while others have thanked me for being the trailblazer, there was only one who risked his own career for my sake. His name is Barry Farber and he meant it when he said it.
But Barry is my fellow octogenarian. Maybe that’s why 20 years or so ago, he stood up for me.
Too often people forget a kindness or a helping hand, but I don’t. So on this day which may mean something only to me, I say to those fans out there, “Thank you for your loyalty all these years. It is because of you I continue even though it is only two hours every Sunday.”
The management probably knows their business and therefore they no doubt think sitting behind a microphone is as demanding as running in a triathlon.
Hope you’re listening to the Bob Grant Show every Sunday at 12 noon Eastern time and thanks for reading BobGrantOnline.com.
And, a very special thanks to Chris Ruddy of Newsmax for being such a true friend!