Blackballed by Fox
June 6, 2011
Following an enforced absence from my website column, I hardly know where to begin. It just so happens when one is forced to the sidelines he sees and hears more than he would otherwise. I am as anyone who has followed my career can tell you — a pessimist. It is because I admitted that on April 3, 1996, my career took a radical turn. But some of you who read www.BobGrantOnline.com, have heard more whining from me than you would like to. So, I’ll stop whining.
I read a Newsweek interview with Roger Ailes, president of Fox News Channel. I like Roger and consider him to be a great asset to the Republic. He used to like me too, but something happened many years ago that caused Roger to blackball me, according to certain people who should know and whose anonymity I will protect. It all goes back to my very successful first time working at WOR in New York. As New York Magazine pointed out, I had established new records in the New York Arbitron. What I had accomplished was historic and unprecedented to say the least.
At that time, Roger had just left producing the Mike Douglas Show which was syndicated out of Philadelphia. Roger was looking for new vistas to conquer. Since he had expressed a high opinion of me, I was not surprised he wanted to have me join a roundtable type show at CBS. I do not know what exactly he had in mind for me. I never got to find out because my big mouth caused me to be persona non grata at CBS and especially with Roger Ailes.
What was the problem? Fate and my big mouth foreclosed all chances for me. You see, just prior to Roger’s calling me, I had done my nightly show on WOR and a caller phoned in to the show saying he was upset with a woman who was blaming the police for what happened to her sons. I had read the story the man was referring to and noted that the woman, who was very angry with the police, was the public relations director or community relations director of WCBS newsradio. I stupidly asked the caller if he knew how she got that job. The caller said he didn’t know and I promptly and arrogantly said, “I will tell you how. She passed the gynecological and pigmentation test — that’s how!”
Not only did that turn off Roger Ailes, but WOR was forced to fire me even though I had given the radio giant the biggest overnight ratings they ever had. As I sit here typing this, I can’t believe I did such a stupid thing. At the time of the firing there were many real friends in the city who tried to intervene. One was Irving Goldman who was the commissioner of cultural affairs. He devoted all of his time and considerable clout to try to fix the issue, but to no avail. Whatever Irving and Jerry Priceman and many other real friends tried to do, the worse the situation became.
I was lucky that the number one talk station in Philadelphia wanted me and so I went to that station and was greeted by Mayor Frank Rizzo who would appear on my program when he boycotted all the others. If I weren’t so lazy I would write an autobiography about my life and the inside workings of this phenomenon called telephone talk radio. There have been other occasions where my big mouth got me into trouble, but being blackballed by Fox has been the most painful.