RUSH: I do want to say some words about Bob Grant. Bob Grant was the first to popularize conservative talk radio, and he did it in New York City on WABC and on WOR. Everybody in talk radio had heard of Bob Grant. He was legendary. He was courageous, confrontational. He was all of those adjectives, and he was funny. He was also a nice guy. I’ll tell you something about Bob Grant. There was a roast for him — oh, I guess in 1990 or something — and I was on my way back from a Rush to Excellence Tour. I was invited to attend it.
I was on my way back to New York, and I was in New Jersey, and I went to the roast. It was people like Freddie Roman and Pat Cooper, a bunch of comedians that gathered, and it was just a hilarious evening. There was no way that I was gonna be able to compete with these professional comedians, so what I did was I stood up and I basically said some nice things about Bob Grant because I really meant them. He was extremely accommodating to me when I arrived in New York — and, by all rights, he could have been just the opposite.
But he was. He was helpful. He was accommodating. He helped me. Folks, in my first two weeks on the air in New York, every phone call I took, all they wanted to talk about was what Bob Grant had said the day before. He was that powerful in New York. He was that provocative. What I was saying my first two weeks, people didn’t know who I was. I was still getting my feet wet in New York. I had no idea if what I was doing was going to succeed or not.
Every phone call — literally every phone call — people wanted to talk to me about what Bob Grant had said the day before, and I ended up laughing with him about that. But he was one of these people who has this on-air reputation for confrontation, but he was just a down-to-earth, humble guy who never got lost in his ego. He never got lost in all of this. As far as I was concerned, his both feet were planted in reality his entire life, and he helped me immensely when I got there.
RUSH: Okay, let me set the stage for you. When I got to New York and started at WABC, and ended up moving to WOR, but Bob Grant was there, and Bob Grant was king, and he was the only one doing what he did. Well, Barry Farber was out there, too. There were some others, but Grant was the first, quote/unquote, “controversial, provocative conservative, unabashed, unafraid conservative,” in the daytime.
He worked in the afternoons. So here I come. I knew who Grant was. Everybody did. I quickly learned that you did not leave your lunch in the refrigerator when Grant was gonna arrive or it might not be there when you wanted it. Everybody joked about it. But my first… As I say, my first two weeks, all anybody wanted to talk to me about was what Bob Grant said the day before, and I asked somebody about it. “I’m never gonna break through here.
“Nobody cares what I’m saying. It’s all about what Grant said. These are people that can’t get through to Grant calling me telling me what they thought about what Grant said,” and I eventually met him and I was complementary, told him how much I admired him and so forth. He was extremely gracious and accommodating. Here comes this new guy. This happened all the time, new arrivals, and he was the pope.
RUSH: Eventually my program took off, and when it did, there was all kinds of curiosity on the part of the news media, and local and New York camera crews would come in and they would want to get video of my program, say, post-State of the Union or do an interview feature with me. After a while, Grant, Bob Grant said, “What is going on here? Why do they want to talk to him?”
You know, when the local affiliate Channel 7, WABC-TV, would come in, he’d say, “Wait a minute! I work for ABC; he doesn’t. He doesn’t work here. He’s just doing a show here. Why do they want to talk to him?” Eventually he had me on the air, had me on his show, and he said, “Just who are you? Just who are you and what you are doing?” But it was all in good fun. You know, a lesser person would have tried to undermine me.
These people are all over the place, in every business, but the point is he was the epitome of class. But not only did he not undermine me; he was helpful, and he was supportive. There are not very many people in any business who would have done that. In fact, I’ll give you an example. Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers playing for the Packers. Brett Favre was still starting quarterback and got hurt in a very important game in Dallas, and Aaron Rodgers gets thrown in, and he’s first or second-year rookie.
He hasn’t played. It’s an important game, and the announcers are saying, “Favre is not helping him on the sidelines. This kid Rodgers is on his own,” and we were left to conclude that of course Favre wouldn’t help him. It’s Favre’s job. Makes all the sense in the world. I was surprised. “Wait a minute. You’re on the same team here. I would think Favre would be trying to help the guy, but the announcers said — and I don’t know that this is true. The announcers said, “Favre, you’ll notice, is not helping Rodgers when the Packers’ defense is on the field.”
I just thought it strange, and the conclusion I drew was, “Well, Favre was thinking, “Look, I’m not gonna help this guy take my job. He’s on his own. I’m gonna eventually get over this injury and I’ll be back. I’m not gonna help this guy,'” and nobody thought that was strange. Now, I don’t know that really happened. That was just what the announcer said. Don’t anybody call Brett Favre and tell him that I said X. I’m just telling you what the announcer said.
I don’t know what went on on the sideline, other than what the game announcers reported, and that’s what I’m telling you. The point is I’m telling you this only because Bob Grant went out of his way to be helpful. He was just a decent guy, despite — media did everything they could to destroy him in New York. They tried to paint him. They took him out of context. It’s nothing new, what leftists and the media tried to do to successful conservatives in the media.
But I really liked him, and he was funny. He was a curmudgeon kind of guy now and then. But he was likable. He was fun to be around, and nobody had a bad word to say about the guy other than teasing him. He was thought of very affectionately, and I had the chance to thank him a number of times personally when he was alive. I made sure to do that, because he’s been in failing health for a while.
But in many ways, he was the trailblazer.
He was the pioneer who took the arrows. He was a New York City institution. I was on the air in Sacramento being moved to New York. You know, sometimes people from New York came there, had relatives or whatever, and they would call and just start telling me about Bob Grant, you know, what Bob Grant’s saying in New York. I couldn’t get away from the guy. I just could not get away from the guy no matter what, no matter where I went. I had people telling me what Bob Grant was saying.
It was a plus to be able to have known him and to be able to call him a friend.