Barry Farber, conservative talk radio pioneer and author, passes away a day after his 90th birthday
Barry Farber, an original pioneer of talk radio who shared his intelligent conservatism with untold millions of listeners during a career in broadcasting that spanned 60 years, has passed away. One day after his 90th birthday on Tuesday, Farber died peacefully at home in New York City, with members of his family at his bedside. On Tuesday, a live program celebrating Farber's birthday was on in his time slot, featuring his younger brother Jerry, his two daughters Celia and Bibi, and his producer Dahlia Weinstein. During the program, Barry Farber took the mic briefly and spoke his last words that would ever be broadcast.
In 2009, Talkers Magazine placed Farber at number nine on its list of the most influential talk show hosts in American history. In 2014, he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. In 1960, 28 years prior to the arrival of Rush Limbaugh on national radio and more than three decades before the internet and the new media gave citizens a wide range of information choices, Farber began broadcasting his own radio talk show on WINS 1010 in New York City. In the decades that followed, he and a small group of talented and innovative broadcasters brought alternative political insights to mainstream audiences on some of the biggest radio stations — and later, on major radio networks — in the country.
Barry Farber at the mic in the 1980s.
A native of North Carolina, for most of his adult life, Farber was based in New York City. After several years on the air at WINS, The Barry Farber Show moved to another 50-kw powerhouse station, WOR AM 710. Farber remained at WOR until 1977, when he took a break to enter politics and mounted a strong campaign for NYC mayor in the Republican primary. Later that year, he ran unsuccessfully for the mayoral office in the general election under the Conservative Party's banner.
In all of the years since then, Farber was rarely not on the radio, either locally or nationally. Last May, he turned 89 and was still hosting a live show five nights a week from his apartment on CRN Digital Talk, which had carried his program since 2009. The Barry Farber Show featured a variety of guests, including this author. In recent months, Farber's health began to decline after he suffered a series of falls. He hosted his last live program on CRN Talk last week.
A number of successful members of the media have cited Farber as a major, positive inspiration and influence in their career choices, including John B. Wells and Sean Hannity. Hannity often mentioned Farber on his radio and Fox News television shows as one of his mentors. Wells and Farber were guests on each other's shows, with Wells appearing on the Farber program again on April 22. Apprised of Farber's death Wednesday evening, Wells replied in an email, "I'm grateful to have known him. Amazing. He never quit working all the way to the 90 Line and then checked out of here. That's what legends do."
L. to R: talk show hosts Curtis Sliwa, Barry Farber, and Sean Hannity in a photo taken about a decade ago.
My two dozen appearances as a guest on The Barry Farber Show since 2018, including 13 this year, were always special events for me. As a teenager growing up in the NYC metro area, I was a fan of Farber's late-night radio program on WOR. I still have some tapes of his program back then that I recorded off the air.
Two years ago, I wrote an article about Barry Farber, "The Godfather of Modern Talk Radio," for American Thinker that included many details about his career. It was republished with photographs at the CRN Digital Talk site here. Farber was also a writer and authored several bestselling books. He continued to write a weekly column for World Net Daily from 2009 until last March 17, when his article about the coronavirus, "The word that gets us through national crises: 'Together,'" was published. Farber was well known for his recognition of his friends and colleagues, and I was deeply touched when one of his last columns on February 18 took generous note of this author's reporting on the 2020 race for the presidency. An archive of hundreds of Farber's WND columns can be accessed from this page.
Barry Farber is survived by his wife Sara and his daughters Celia and Bibi. It's an understatement to say his passing is a major loss and that he will be greatly missed.
Prophetically, in 2014 in a conversation with his daughters, Farber said, "I would rather burn out than rust out. I am one of those who will not retire." Wednesday evening, in a tweet that announced her father's death, Celia Farber wrote: "He told me recently that his concept of death was 'going somewhere I've never been before, like Finland or Estonia.' May God rest his soul."
Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who writes about politics, media, popular culture, and health care for American Thinker and other publications. He also appears in the media, including recently on BBC World News. Peter's website is http://peter.media. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.