Jim Walsh's Big Hairy Weblog Thingy

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Bob Grant: An Appreciation

We don't have that many really good communicators on the radio these days. We now have one fewer.

Bob Grant is the classic example of "controversial" radio done right.

Grant (who retired recently) is a guy who has never forgotten that his job is to entertain and get a rise out of people. Despite his arch-conservatism, you never got the impression that he was towing the party line (unlike some hosts we could mention).

Instead, you got the sense of a guy who was truly speaking his mind.

I've been told that the real Grant is nothing like his on-air persona. Well, duh. It's an act, folks...and a brilliant one at that.

It's not really about politics. Grant understood better than anyone since Joe Pyne that it's about giving a voice to all the primal, gut-level reactions that we don't discuss in polite company. A lot of hosts have tried to do the same thing over the years. Few have come anywhere near as close to pulling it off as Grant (Howard came the closest, but that was during his glory years which was some time ago).

It's schtick...designed to elicit a specific response. Grant and his listeners get it. I think everybody does, really, except for certain other talk hosts and a few clueless hard-line lefties who insist on lumping Grant in with genuine hatemongers like Father Coughlin.

Bob Grant is an entertainer. Coughlin meant it. There is a difference.

If you want to learn how to entertain on the radio, you could do worse than to study a guy like Bob Grant.

It was truly a blast, Bob. Ciao and gratzi...