Death is “going somewhere I've never been before, like Finland or Estonia,” New York-area talk radio giant Barry Farber told his daughter.
Celia Ingrid Farber recalled her father’s words in a tweet about his death at home in New York City Wednesday night, a day after his 90th birthday.
Before Hannity and Beck, before O’Reilly -- and even Limbaugh -- there was Barry Farber.
A member of the National Radio Hall of Fame, Farber was a pioneer of talk radio, a conservative in a time when opposing views were debated respectfully and intelligently, a familiar voice to a mass audience of all political persuasions over a career that spanned 60 years.
Listeners tuned in to hear Farber on the city’s biggest radio stations – and, later, on major radio networks.
He also once ran for mayor of New York City.
Farber once said, “I would rather burn out than rust out,” according to journalist/writer/blogger Peter Barry Chowka, who dubbed him the “Godfather of Modern Talk Radio.”
He was still hosting a live weeknight show on CRN Digital Talk from his apartment as recently as last year, in fact, when he suffered a series of falls.
Farber continued to write a weekly column with World Net Daily, which began in 2009 and ended this past March with a piece about COVID-19 entitled: “The word that gets us through national crises: ‘Together’.”
“I’m grateful to have known him. Amazing,” fellow talk-show host John B. Wells told Chowka. “He never quit working all the way to the 90 Line and then checked out of here. That’s what legends do.”
Born in Baltimore and raised in Greensboro, NC, Farber was a Russian translator for the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
After returning to civilian life, he began his radio career as a producer for Tex McCrary and Jinx Falkenburg’s interview show from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
“Barry Farber’s Open Mike” debuted on WINS/New York in 1960. Two years later, Farber began a 15-year stretch at WOR as an evening and overnight host.
His mayoral bid failed in 1977, after which he returned to radio for 10 years with WMCA.
Thirty years ago, Farber’s show went national on ABC. His “Barry Farber Show” had been heard since 2008 on CRN Digital Talk Radio and the Talk Radio Network.
A live birthday program was broadcast in Farber’s usual time slot on Tuesday. His younger brother, Jerry, along with Celia and her sister, Bibi, and his producer Dahlia Weinstein gathered to pay tribute.
Farber briefly took the microphone and spoke to his audience one last time.
On Wednesday night, “he was home, in bed, and we were all with him,” Celia Farber tweeted. “May God rest his soul.”
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