Sioux City native Fred Grandy — a former Iowa congressman — says he has no plans to run for office again.
Grandy, who is a Republican, served four terms in congress and challenged former Governor Terry Branstad in 1994, coming close to pulling off an upset in the Republican primary that year. Grandy’s now co-host of a radio talk show on a Washington, D.C. radio station and Grandy was the guest on C-SPAN’s “Q-and-A” this weekend.
“Any more public office?” C-SPAN host Brian Lamb asked Grandy near the end of the 61-minute interview.
“I don’t really think so because as much as I enjoyed it, in a way I feel I’m kind of closer to the public now,” Grandy said. “It’s interesting. As I see…congress kind of distance itself from the public it serves, I see to some degree talk radio and infotainment moving in to fill that gap. It seems to me a lot of people call our program and other programs because they cannot get any kind of connection with their elected officials.”
Grandy rated his time as head of Goodwill Industries as the most-positive experience of his professional life because he said it was “the full expression” of what he thought public service was supposed to be.
Grandy said working as a Hollywood actor was a “solid B” on the “satisfaction index.” Grandy portrayed the character “Gopher” on the “Love Boat” for over eight years, but a fiery accident that happened while the show was filming in Turkey proved to be a turning point in Grandy’s life.
“The car exploded. I mean, the flames shot six feet in the air and I was profoundly burning on my face and hands and it was that kind of flirtation with mortality that got me thinking of what I wanted to do with my life and sent me back to Iowa and put me in a whole different kind of life choice which is just kind of serving myself,” Grandy said. “I don’t have any problem with that. Show business is a great life if you can make a go of it, but it became profoundly less gratifying after that accident and it’s about that time that I started thinking about is there some other use for what I thought my vaunted communications skills were at the time.”
Grandy, who is 61 years old, has worked in morning radio in Washington, D.C. since 2003. Grandy describes himself as an “infotainer” now, and he has a prediction about the future of radio.
“I would say we’re probably five years away from getting rid of what we used to call radio towers because I think we’ll be broadcasting entirely over the internet,” Grandy said on C-SPAN. “If the new technology that will allow you to have the internet in your car becomes fairly common place, as I suspect it will, there’ll be no difference between AM and FM and the big loser here may wind up being satellite radio because that was a technology designed to kind of offer an alternative to the old broadcast modulations and now you’re going to be listening online.”
In 2005, Grandy was among three finalists to become president of the National Association of Broadcasters, but the group offered the job, instead, to the head of the National Beer Wholesalers Association.