My Comeback on WABC
September 15, 2009
Maybe some of you can imagine how I felt this past Sunday, September 13, at 12 noon. That was the day I returned to WABC radio with the Bob Grant Show, now called “WABC Weekend with Bob Grant.”
It is a two-hour program in the tradition of the programs I have done for many years. There was one thing different about this program from all the others I have done. Actually, I should say there was one thing different about my “comeback” program from the others. This time the impetus for my return was you the public. You just wouldn’t stop writing or calling the radio station to tell them: “We want Bob Grant back on radio. ”
Now, it may be true that two hours on a Sunday, compared to the many hours I was on in the good old days may not seem like much, but it was the symbolism that counted. To think that contrary to tradition, you the public actually had an effect is monumental.
It just isn’t done. Radio stations don’t want to be dictated to by the fans of a particular broadcaster. In this case though, the management of WABC was listening to the people and I can only thank the people for their loyalty and energy. So . . . thanks!
But, when I listen to talk radio or watch Fox News Channel, I do have pangs of envy and regret. Envy, because no one seems to be hired to do just a local radio show. Even if that one station is in New York, the greatest broadcast market in the world; it is not the same as being on hundreds of stations all across the nation.
Also, these radio stars of today have a great advantage over the stars of yesterday because there is no Fairness Doctrine in effect. To those of you who may not know what the Fairness Doctrine was and what great impact it had on talk radio, I will explain as simply as I can.
The so-called Fairness Doctrine was anything but fair. It forced radio stations to live in fear that if their hosts voiced honest definitive opinions, they would have to give equal time to anyone who had an opposite opinion. Can you imagine the quandary a station manager or owner would be in, constantly having to make sure the radio station’s broadcasts were not guilty of expressing only one point of view?
Do you really think the great Rush Limbaugh could have possibly become the behemoth he is, if there was a Fairness Doctrine in place? As talented and bright as Rush is, there would have been such constraints on him it would have been impossible for him to achieve the incredible success he has attained.
I could cite many other examples. I could name many other personalities, but it isn’t necessary. The point is timing is everything and I was born too soon. I began doing the Bob Grant talk radio show on KABC in Los Angeles at about the time of the John F. Kennedy assassination, which was on a Friday, November 22, 1963. There were only a few so-called radio talkers then and we were not taken very seriously.
We didn’t have the prestige and acknowledgment we have today, due to the smallness of our audiences and the fact we could really offer only watered down opinions because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was looking to nail any violator of the Fairness Doctrine. It was not a pleasant atmosphere for management or performer. There was more time and energy devoted to protecting the broadcast license than in bettering the broadcast product.
I was skillful enough to walk the fine line. I was able to be controversial more in conduct than in content. That is how I became the legendary Bob Grant. My conduct was controversial, but I did not endanger the license of my management.
After I moved to New York and went on the air for Straus Communications, owned by the ultra liberal, skinflint, Peter Straus, things began to change. I will talk more about that in my forthcoming book.
Anyway, I salute Rush, my dear friend Sean, Mark and the new kid on the block who is really making waves, Glenn Beck. Without these guys, Barack Obama would be getting a totally free ride and America would be worse off for it.
Make no mistake! Barack Obama has set about doing what he wants to do and that is to destroy America as we have known it and rebuild it in his own socialist image.