by Rafaela Prifti/
To honor the memory and reflect on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. is to appreciate the meaning of service.
On this National Service Day, I like to shine a light on a family friend, a supporter of the Albanian people as well as a self-described student of Albanian language, Barry Farber. The popular talk radio host with nearly a six decade career in broadcasting passed away last year shortly after his 90th birthday. His youngest daughter Bibi posted a commentary today to say that the first person Barry interviewed on the radio on WINS in 1960 was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.!
“Mr. Farber inaugurated his first solo radio program in 1960 after arriving in New York from North Carolina with journalistic ambitions and remarkable multilingual talents. He went on to interview guests for longer than any other living, continually broadcasting radio host,” the New York Times wrote. “His Southern gentlemanly demeanor on the air also stood in contrast to the bellicosity Mr. Farber, a fervent anti-Communist, later demonstrated when he twice campaigned for office”, in 1970 for a Republican Cogresssional seat and in 1977 race for New York City mayor. Since 2008, he had been broadcasting, on Talk Radio Network and then on CRN Digital Talk Radio, from his Upper West Side apartment while contributing weekly to the World Net Daily website.
Barry Farber was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2014. “He had arrived in New York in 1957 looking for work in journalism when by chance he struck up a conversation with William Safire”. At the time, Mr. Safire was working for a radio show in town hosted by the husband-wife team of Tex McCrary and Jinx Falkenburg. He was impressed by “a former campus newspaper editor, college wrestling champ and Army translator who had done some world traveling and, perhaps most impressively, could speak nearly two dozen languages.” His first on-air interview was with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1959.
To paraphrase the title of Barry Farber’s first memoir, he could turn every conversation Into a magic moment. As Bibi writes, Barry Farber’s interview with Dr. King did not end there: “Barry had been active and outspoken in the civil rights movement since his youth.” For his support of Congress of Racial Equality, Barry was awarded a patron of membership in 1989.
Honoring the memory of Dr. King and his legacy is tied to appreciating the meaning of serving the community and the country.