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Washington radio and TV legend Milt Grant died of cancer on April 28, 2007 at his home in Fort Lauderdale. He was 83. Grant began his broadcast career in the 1940s as news director of WNYC radio in NYC. He then became an announcer for WARM radio in Scranton. He later went to Washington DC to work for WTOP radio. He created Washington's first local radio network with his show being carried simultaneously on WINX, WOL, WAVA, WWDC, and WPGC. During the 1950s, Grant created and produced "The Milt Grant Show," a live dance and entertainment program that aired seven days a week on Channel 5/WTTG. In the 1960s, when UHF frequencies became available, he founded Capitol Broadcasting, which was licensed to operate Channel 20/WDCA. The station began operation in 1966 with Grant as president and chief executive officer. WDCA was sold in 1969 to the Superior Tube Company. He continued in his capacities until 1980, when the station was sold to Taft Broadcasting. In 1980, Grant joined a group of Houston-based investors to found KTXA-TV in Dallas and later KTXH-TV in Houston. While preparing for the sale of the Texas stations, he built WBFS-TV in Miami. Continuing the momentum, Grant Broadcasting System built WGBS-TV in Philadelphia, and soon acquired WGBO-TV in Chicago.

Columnist Marc Fisher covered the death of Milt Grant in his "Raw Fisher" blog at the Washington Post. He called him "Washington's Dick Clark." Also in the Post, Richard Harrington recalls: Channel 5's "The Milt Grant Show" ran from 1956 to 1961, and "Grant had a variety of rock-and-roll, rockabilly, and R&B artists as guests. He always made a special effort to land stars appearing at the Howard Theater, but the show itself was segregated - Washington still being a very Southern city at the time. Grant did have black teenagers on his show, initially once a month, eventually weekly on what came to be known (very unofficially) as Black Tuesdays. It marked one of the few places on television where any African Americans appeared back then, but the world was apparently not ready for interracial dance parties and, as much as he might have wanted to integrate the shows, Grant bowed to pressure from advertisers."

From Matt Schudel in the May 3, 2007 Washington Post: Milt Grant, the host of a wildly popular television dance show in Washington in the 1950s and early '60s, who later found colossal success and failure as an owner of independent TV stations, died April 28, 2007 at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 83 and reportedly had cancer. For someone in the communications business, Mr. Grant was a secretive person who revealed little of his personal life during his few interviews. A woman who answered the telephone at his privately held company in Florida, the Grant Group, would not confirm the nature of Mr. Grant's business, his age or even his death. The company has no Web site. After getting his start in radio, Mr. Grant made his first splash with his daily dance show, which exposed a generation of Washington teenagers to the emerging force of rock-and-roll. "Milt Grant was one of the most important pioneers of early rock-and-roll in Washington," said Mark Opsasnick, a cultural historian and the author of "Capitol Rock." "When he started his music show in 1956, there was nothing else like it on the [local] airwaves." After the program was canceled in 1961, Mr. Grant entered the second phase of his career, founding one of Washington's first independent commercial stations, WDCA-TV (Channel 20), in 1966. He never appeared in front of the camera again. Mr. Grant first came to Washington, according to a 1988 article in Regardie's magazine, as a Columbia University student recruited to the Office of Strategic Services, the World War II-era forerunner of the CIA. Throughout his life, he regaled business associates with tales of wartime spying exploits in North Africa and Italy. He returned to Columbia after the war, then went into radio as a news director in New York after graduation. After a stint in Scranton, Pa., Mr. Grant -- who had a deep, classic broadcaster's voice -- returned to Washington in the early 1950s as an announcer with WTOP radio, then became a popular disc jockey with several other radio stations. Sensing the growing importance of television, he joined WTTG-TV (Channel 5) in 1956 and persuaded the station's management to let him launch a music and dance show, but only if he paid for the airtime himself. For six months, Mr. Grant was on one day a week with the "Milt Grant Record Hop," selling the ads himself. The show took off -- "just like lighting a match," he once said -- and soon was on seven days a week. Originally broadcast at 5 p.m., the renamed "Milt Grant Show" later moved to 4:30 and was expanded to an hour. His formula was to gather high school students in a ballroom at the old Raleigh Hotel at 11th and E streets NW and let them dance to the newest tunes. (One oft-featured dancer was Carl Bernstein, who later gained renown as a Washington Post reporter who helped uncover the Watergate scandal.) Each show began with Mr. Grant calling, "Hi, kids!" "Hi, Milt," they answered. "What's our favorite drink?" "Pepsi!" they shouted, in an early example of embedded advertising carefully crafted by Mr. Grant. Besides being the on-air host, Mr. Grant produced the show, sold ads and booked the guests, who included Chuck Berry, Bobby Darin, Buddy Holly, Harry Belafonte and Ike and Tina Turner. One day a week, Mr. Grant had African American teenagers on his show, considered a bold move for the time. Although he knew next to nothing about music, he claimed songwriting copyrights for some of the music by local artists, including guitar legend Link Wray -- a practice later outlawed. For five years, the "Milt Grant Show" was a runaway success and soundly beat the Philadelphia-based "American Bandstand" when the two shows ran head-to-head. "I often asked myself why the show did so well," Mr. Grant told The Post in 1990, in his last known interview. "We were part of the great new beginning of television, and there was just so much energy. It made me fall in love with television and all its powers." Mr. Grant was born in New York on May 13, 1923, according to public documents, and grew up in Plainfield, N.J. Despite the success of the "Milt Grant Show," it was abruptly canceled in 1961 and replaced by reruns of "Robin Hood." There was speculation that Mr. Grant demanded too much money or that the station's management simply didn't like rock-and-roll. But the real reason, Opsasnick said, "is a complete mystery." Mr. Grant then formed a corporation that led to the launching of WDCA in 1966. He was among the first station owners to introduce "counter-programming," by running syndicated sitcoms when other stations had news or showing movies when his competitors aired soap operas. In the mid-1970s, he secured broadcast rights to the Washington Bullets and Washington Capitals, and in 1979 he sold WDCA for $13.5 million. He then moved to Texas and bought stations in Houston and Dallas. His $12 million investment led to a reported $163 million profit when he sold the stations in 1984. A year later, he made a high-profile move into Chicago, Philadelphia and Miami by buying three independent stations. All three hemorrhaged money, and in 1986 Mr. Grant filed for bankruptcy, $420 million in debt. At the time, the Los Angeles Times described it as the largest TV bankruptcy ever. By 1989, he was back in the game, picking up stations in smaller markets across the country. He owned eight stations, several of them affiliated with Fox network, at the time of his death. Mr. Grant was apparently married twice. Survivors include three children; a sister; and four grandchildren.