Barry Farber dies; conservative radio host ran for NYC mayor in 1970s

Farber was a traditional conservative working in one of the nation’s most liberal cities. He was a wordsmith and extraordinary orator, said Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers magazine.

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Conservative Barry Farber, who was far behind in the New York City Mayoral race, thanks supporters at his headquarters, in New York in 1977.

Conservative Barry Farber, who was far behind in the New York City Mayoral race, thanks supporters at his headquarters, in New York in 1977.

AP

NEW YORK — Pioneering radio host Barry Farber, who hosted a conservative talk show for decades in New York City and ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1977, has died.

Farber died of natural causes Wednesday at home in New York, a day after his 90th birthday, his daughter, Celia Farber, said.

Raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, Farber worked in New York City for his entire career and was still doing a regular digital talk show for CRN up until last week. Injuries from a fall hastened his demise, his daughter said.

He began on the air at WINS-AM, the only talk host on a rock ’n’ roll station. Farber moved to WOR-AM in 1962 and worked in the evening and through the night. He left the station for his mayoral run and, after losing as a Conservative Party candidate to Democrat Ed Koch with 4% of the vote, went to work for WMCA-AM for 11 years.

He was a member of the National Radio Hall of Fame.

Farber was a traditional conservative working in one of the nation’s most liberal cities. He was a wordsmith and extraordinary orator, said Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers magazine.

“He spoke as if he was writing an essay,” Harrison said.

He spoke more than 20 languages, including Albanian, Swedish, Finnish and Yiddish, along with the more standard French, German, Spanish and Chinese, according to an obituary.

Farber was past his peak of influence by the time conservative talk radio became an industry that made national stars of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. He would joke about “being big in the old days and old in the big days,” Harrison said.

“I just wish we had started it in my generation,” Farber told Talkers in a 2012 interview. “It never occurred to us.”

Farber was known for ending his show with the phrase, “To be continued.”

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