A radio industry magazine yesterday withdrew a lifetime-achievement award to conservative radio talk-show host Bob Grant, citing racial remarks he made in the 1990s.
Radio & Records Inc. had planned to recognize the longtime conservative commentator with its 2008 Lifetime Industry Achievement Award in the District in March. Mr. Grant, 78, airs weeknights on WABC-770 AM in New York City.
But yesterday, the Los Angeles publication said it would no longer honor him.
“R&R; is sensitive to the diversity of our community and does not want the presentation of an award to Mr. Grant to imply our endorsement of past comments by him that contradict our values and the respect we have for all members of our community,” Radio & Records said in a statement posted on its Web site.
Company executives yesterday declined to comment further on the decision to rescind the award.
Mr. Grant, revered by listeners as the father of talk radio, began his broadcasting career in Chicago in the 1940s.
He arrived in New York in 1970 and joined WABC in 1984. He was fired in 1996 in response to on-air comments he made about Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, who was killed in a plane crash.
Mr. Grant described himself as a “pessimist” for predicting that Mr. Brown had survived the crash.
Mr. Grant last year returned to WABC, which is owned by Citadel Broadcasting Corp., after spending a decade at rival WOR-710 AM.
Reached yesterday at his home in New Jersey, Mr. Grant said Radio & Records “should be ashamed of themselves.”
“It’s contemptible that they would do such a thing,” he said. “I smelled a rat right away.”
Mr. Grant said he found it ironic that the Rev. Al Sharpton is scheduled to speak at the R&R; Talk Radio Seminar, where he would have received his award.
“I think it says more than I could possibly say,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Sharpton did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.
The news of Mr. Grant’s rebuke, announced yesterday at 1:30 p.m., spread quickly among members of the talk-radio industry who seized on the move as an affront to free speech. Industry insiders called for a boycott of the R&R; conference, to be held March 13-15 at the Renaissance Washington Hotel. Conservative radio host Sean Hannity interviewed Mr. Grant yesterday on his syndicated show, heard locally on WMAL-630 AM.