Legendary talk show host and New Jersey resident Bob Grant has died at the age of 84.

Bob Grant
Bob Grant (Branchburg Funeral Home)

WABC radio, where Grant had spent most of his career, made a brief announcement of his passing on its website He had been living in Toms River and died on New Year's Eve in Hillsborough after a short illness, according to his obituary on the Branchburg Funeral Home website.

He has also lived in Woodbridge, where his photo from a live broadcast hangs proudly at the Reo Diner, and Manalapan.

"They probably have a booth dedicated in him memory at the world famous Reo Diner in Woodbridge," said New Jersey 101.5's Ray Rossi, who once ran a studio board for Grant.

"Bob was one of the true pioneers of talk radio," NJ 101.5 host Steve Trevelise said of Grant's career for WABC and WOR.  "It was people like Bob who pushed the lines far enough so that we're able to give our true opinion without having to sugarcoat it. Bob Grant never did."

"Bob was a pleasure to work with and was an absolute radio pro. He always wanted to do the best job he could when he was on the air," recalls Townsquare Media's Programming Coordinator Chuck Armstrong, who worked at WABC when Grant celebrated 40 years on New York radio. "The support he received from hosts and listeners was outstanding. There’s no denying the fact that he paved the road for all of the hosts that are on – and have been on – 77 WABC. I also had the privilege of sitting in the control room when Bob made his return to 77 WABC in 2007 in the form of a guest host for The John Gambling Show. Needless to say, there was a lot of passion coming from him and the callers on that day."

Bob Grant on the air at WABC
Bob Grant on the air at WABC (YouTube)

Born Robert Ciro Gigante in Illinois, Grant served the Illinois Army National Guard in 1948-49 as part of the 132nd Infantry Regiment in Chicago and in the U.S. Navy Reserves from 1950-58. Before coming to New York, Grant worked in Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia perfecting his conservative and confrontational style before coming to WABC in 1984 shortly after the station flipped format to talk.

Grant had been doing a Sunday afternoon program in recent years on WABC.  He had not been heard on the air recently but remained on the station's website as a member of the air staff.

A prayer service will be held for Grant at Branchburg Funeral Home on Route 202 in South Branchburg on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. Viewing hours are Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be made in Bob's memory to the Young America's Foundation, 110 Elden St., Herndon, Va. 20170 or the New York Police and Fire Widows' & Childrens' Benefit Fund, Inc., 767 Fifth Ave., 2614C, New York, NY 10153.

Watch video from Bob's 40th anniversary at WABC courtesy of Chuck Armstrong



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