Bob Grant, the gravel-voiced veteran New York radio personality considered a pioneer of the conservative talk radio format, has died. Grant reportedly had been ill for months and passed away on New Year’s Eve, the website Newsmax and other media outlets reported today. He was 84. Grant began working in radio in the 1940s at WBBM in Chicago, but it was in the 1970s when he moved to WMCA in New York that his controversial style took root, taking on NYC administrations from John Lindsay to David Dinkins. In the mid-1980s he moved to WABC. In 1996, he was fired from the station for his infamous comment about former Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown. Prior to confirmation that Brown had been killed in a plane crash, Grant told his listeners that being a “pessimist” by nature, he was confident that Brown would be the sole survivor. He returned to WABC in 2007, but left after a year and a half to host the Internet radio show “Straight Ahead!” He returned once more to WABC in 2009 to host a Sunday talk show, retiring last summer because of poor health, according to Newsmax.