Radio Hall of Famer Barry Farber, one-time NYC mayoral candidate, dead at 90

Conservative Barry Farber in 1977.
Conservative Barry Farber in 1977.(Dan Grossi/Associated Press)

Legendary talk radio pioneer Barry Farber, a National Radio Hall of Fame inductee and one-time candidate for mayor of New York, died Wednesday at the age of 90.

Farber died in his bed, surrounded by family, just one day after what turned out to be his last birthday, according to a tweet from daughter Celia Ingrid Farber.

The conservative radio host spent an extraordinary six decades in the broadcasting business.

“He told me recently that his concept of death was ‘going somewhere I’ve never been before, like Finland or Estonia,’” wrote his daughter. “May God rest his soul.”

The Baltimore native came to New York in the 1950s, working as a radio producer before his own “Barry Farber’s Open Mike” debuted on WINS-AM in 1960. Two years later, he moved to his longtime home on WOR-AM as an overnight and evening host before departing in 1977 to launch an ill-fated run for City Hall as a conservative opposing liberal winner Ed Koch.

Farber’s fellow also-rans in that race included incumbent Abe Beame, future governor Mario Cuomo and ex-Congresswoman Bella Abzug. He returned to the radio and WOR in 1978, with his show going national on the ABC Radio network in 1990. Since 2008, Farber’s five-days-a-week show aired on CRN Digital Talk Radio and Talk Radio Network — with his final appearance just last week.

He was inducted into the radio Hall of Fame in 2014, and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the industry magazine Talkers two years earlier.

“Barry Farber was one of the founding fathers of talk radio whose influential career spanned both the modern and pre-modern eras of the format,” said Talkers publisher Michael Harrison. "He was among the finest public speakers of his time and a true wordsmith who served as an inspiration for generations of broadcasters who strived to be artists as well as communicators.”

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