January 13, 2004 by

John A. Gambling

30 comments

Categories: Media

John Alfred Gambling, the legendary host of the “Rambling With Gambling” radio show, died on Jan. 8 from heart failure. He was 73.
The news and talk program, which debuted in 1925 on New York radio station 710 WOR-AM, was originally hosted by his father, John Bradley Gambling. After graduating from Dartmouth with a degree in drama, John A. Gambling became the show’s host in 1959. He entertained listeners during the morning drive time, six days a week, until his retirement in 1991.
“Rambling With Gambling” was listed in the Guinness World Records of 2003 as the “world’s longest-running radio show.” The top-rated program offered the first on-air broadcast of school closings and helicopter traffic reports. In a smooth baritone, Gambling also interviewed celebrities, politicians and other newsworthy people.
Gambling was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2000. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and his son, John R. Gambling, the host of “The John Gambling Show” on 770 WABC-AM.
Listen to Samples From “Rambling With Gambling”

30 Responses to John A. Gambling

  1. Brian

    To answer your question about Fred Feldman – he passed away about 6 years ago now. He died of a heart attack, far too young. He was a great friend and is missed.

  2. Trudy Mark

    Dear John R.
    I know that today is exactly one year since the loss of your dad. What a wonderful man. He is missed, but you carry on for him so magnificently.
    My best to you and your family,
    An old friend
    Trudy Mark

  3. Bill White

    I moved to Philadelphia in 1962 from the south
    upon graduating from college. My job required
    erxtensive travel by car in NE Pa. and North
    NJ and I always would listen to “Rambling with
    Gambling” on WOR. I did not realize that John
    Gambling had died until coming upon the news
    while surfing the internet. He filled hours travel boredom with his wit and banter with Peter Roberts and Fred Feldman whuike keeping us informed of current events. He was truly a radio
    legend and will be missed.

  4. A. C. Roberts-Vogler

    Peter Roberts is happy, healthy and thriving in Ottawa, Canada’s capital. He is busy playing bridge, the odd game of golf and still enjoys his daily walks. He still writes a travel piece twice a month for Recorder Publications in New Jersey.

  5. William Worth

    I grew up with the first and second John Gamblings – they were a real part of my life. While serving in Vietnam, I sent a letter to John, along with a clipping from Stars and Stripes about Fred Feldman. He read my letter over the air, and sent a note to me in Vietnam (I still have it). I also remember the banter between John and Peter Roberts, mostly “The Grackle is a noble bird!”

  6. c. weeks

    I discovered John A. Gambling shortly after moving from the South to NJ – and tried to never miss a program – in fact, I pretty much kept the radio on WOR for most of the day. It was a big help in my adjusting to a new area, and even tho I’m not in S. Florida, I miss it!

  7. J.Petzold

    Have loved the Gambling shows and they made you feel like part of the family.
    I know that John R. is now on wabc but what time? Can’t seem to locate him. The folks on wor are great, but would like to hear a “gambling” once again.

  8. carleton d libbey

    the gamblings are definitely a large part of americas broadcast history.does anyone remember the crash of helicopter 710 in the mid to late ’60’s. a newscaster named john black was anchoring the pm newscast and a live report from frank mcdermott who was filling in for fearless fred. the copter malfunctioned and crashed into a rooftop in flushing. mcdermott said on the air ‘hold on john i’ve got a’ and the radio went silent. he was killed.i was listening at the time driving down the west side highway at maybe 5:30 PM.

  9. arthur matzkowitz

    My parents used to listen to Gambling 1 and 2. I don’t remember John B. They all were quite good at their jobs. I saw a young Fred Feldman on “What’s My Line” the other day.
    I distinctly remember when McDermott’s chopper crashed while he was giving his report and I believe it was in the winter of ’65. Incidentally, the host of the program was John Scott.

  10. Blair Boyer

    Growing up in Manhattan as a kid in the 60’s getting ready for school my Mom always had Rambling with Gambling on. Helicopter 710 was fun to listen to even though we never owned a car.I was hooked and also enjoyed the more relaxed Saturday show. She also listened overnight to Long John Nebel who lived right across the street from us. When I was in my teens staying up late I loved when Long John would ask John Gambling what was coming up on his show.
    I’m reading Rambling with Gambling now and do not want it to end.

  11. B Shepp

    My family faithfully tuned to WOR for years during the 60’s from our home in Brooklyn. We had an older family member who learned english while tuned into Rambling with Gambling, and delighted in the friendly banter, and wordplay of the WOR broadcast team. The kitchen radio was always on, and I fondly remember the Marcal and Morton salt commercials, and pattriotic tunes around dinner time as well. Years later I found myself drawn to the business, helping to entertain and inform listeners in New England and have to thank them for introducing me to a delightful business. Its brings back many fond memories! have to say that there are few on the radio today with the intellegence and wit of Mr. Gambling and company!

  12. Emilio

    How is Peter Roberts? I am married to his nice Roxa And lost track of him over the years, would love to see him again, great guy!
    Emilio

  13. joe dupont

    Yes I grew up with the march around the breakfast table. Wor was truly something back then. Part of our family. John junior blossomed on WABC.. and did a far better job over there.
    Yes WOR is nothing compared to what it was.
    They do have Mike Savage and gave Bob gRANT ANOTHER CHANCE..
    THE OLD MAN WAS GOOD.. AND SERVED US WELL AS JOHN JR IS DOING NOW.

  14. PETER

    WOR WAS A PART OF OUR FAMILY TOO!..MY FAVORITES WERE BOB AND RAY..EASY GOING AND NOT OFFENSIVE..THE CHARACTERS THEY CREATED CAME TO LIFE AND SPREAD GOOD FEELINGS AND LAUGHTER..WEBLEY WEBSTER ,MARY BACKSTAGE,DEAN ARCHER ARMSTEAD..STILL MAKE ME LAUGH THRU THE CD COLLECTION I OWN…WHO NEEDS THE REAL WORLD OF THE NEWS WITH ALL THE DEPRESSING AND FRUSTRATING BLURBS THEY PRESENT 24/7…I GO TO BOB AND RAY FOR HUMOR,PEACE AND ESCAPE FROM THIS CRAZY WORLD…THANKYOU BOB AND RAY FOR ALL THE GOOD TIMES AND LAUGHS.

  15. Jack Peters

    I can’t think of John Gambling without thinking of my dad. John Gambling, Peter Roberts and Fred Feldman drove to work with Dad every week day morning. He would share some of the things that they did or discussed. He was a New York Metroplitan Area Institution.

  16. RENA D'ANDREA

    Just came across this blog. I am so happy to have a chance to offer my tribute to John B( I remember him!) and John A.My father had the radio on every AM to WOR and the Gamblings.They filled my life with decency, common sense, and mirth,and John R still does. A world without the Gamblings would be unthinkable.
    Rena D’Andrea
    Chelsea, NY

  17. Sena Stein

    I also grew up with Rambling with Gambling and was quite upset when John Jr.left WOR. I have since left the NY area. My day is not the same without them and WOR.

  18. charles hennebeul

    My Dad worked for WOR and was good friends with Bernie Meltzer, Ralph Snodsmith and John Gambling. The Gamblings were boaters as was my Dad. He told me the story of how John and his boss were in an argument about a boating fact..and they went to my Dad..my Dad went against John on the boating dispute(my Dad was an expert navigator and used charts and compass..no GPS back then)…John the next day said to my Dad he respected my Dad’s honesty as everyone was a yes man to John..that’s how they became good friends..I still have the book of John on the 710 chopper as well as other priceless memorabilia…even though I was a little kid in the 80s I was a fan of Bernie’s “What’s Your Problem” and met Bernie and Ralph and Joan. I did not meet John but my father, being sick now comes to life when I on purpose bring up WOR. My Dad was top sales man in the 1970s at WOR, then he went on with the RKO merger and then the United Staions merger, and his new boss was Dick Clark..THE Mr. Clark….we used to get the Countdown America records adn demos from Dad when the new bands came out….Madonna, Cindy Lauper, duran duran, and a wonderful singer named Tina Turner….sadly I only have one left that I hid from Mom’s house cleaning!!!!

  19. walter degroot

    personal info
    we listened to Rambling with Gambling when I was a kid 1946 on with the old man and the studio band.
    Later in the 1960’s we could pick up WOR on the radio of my pontiac star chief in Mid town harrisburg at noon. I heard the last transmission from frank Mc dermott
    and the night in 1963? with the great blackout and how a man came to the studio with a can of gasoline. wor and the gamblings were the only program we listened to
    the others were to lound and boysterous.
    We knew friends of John A in glern ridge.
    and the grandmother complained that john a “did not have as good a voice” as the father.
    It reperesnted that things don’t change, but they do. Now we are in the PA hills and things are different.

  20. monica sullivan

    The entire three generations of Gamblings are treasures, and many are stunned to lose John R. in his morning slot on ABC. What a wonderful, sane and decent man he is. Wherever he finds his new radio home will be my radio home (hopefully very soon; he is sorely missed).
    I remember his father’s show, Bob and Ray, the McCanns, Arlene Francis, Jack O’Brien and the dear old Fitzgeralds on WOR; they were wonderful radio years – intelligent and great fun.
    We want John R. Gambling back.
    Respectfully,
    Monica S.

  21. Joe A

    The firing of John A. Gambling WABC did was the last straw. I have quit listening to ” Corporation Radio ” that has commercials for Lawers, Money lenders , Dept Consolidation and Collection Agents” every 5 minutes. NPR Radio will be the way to go.Its a shame what the big corporations are changing the way good radio was. Maybe John A. will come to NPR. Take care John, It was a pleasure to listen to you and your Father.

  22. kathleen m smith

    What has happened toi John R.? I came back from
    vacation in Florida and he had disappeared from
    Radio WABC program. It is disconcerting to
    lose the time-honored people who were the pioneers
    of talk radio with sensible, informative,worthwhile discussion to stimulate
    one’s mind at the beginning of each day. Shame
    on you and WOR for pandering to the cheap commercial broadcasting that has taken over our
    airwaves. Wherever you are John R. PLEASE COME
    BACK TO YOUR LOYAL LISTENERS–those of us who
    prefer quality over quantity.

  23. Alexandra

    This is the Grand Daughter of John A Gambling and Niece of John R.
    They are truly wonderful men. I cant even begin to explain the pure amazement and joy that comes from reading this blog and how much it means to me to have my family members remembered with such high regards. Its really nice to hear how much everyone loved my grandfather as much as me. He was just so wonderful off the air as he was on. Most Amazing man in the world!

  24. Margaret in Bergen County

    I grew up on WOR radio. I am 41 now, and remember listening to Ed & Pegeen, Arlene Francis, Bernie Meltzer, Carlton Fredericks, and of course, the Gamblings! I was so disappointed when John R. wasn’t renewed at WOR because of changing demographics. What a crock! Now WOR is eating its words by hiring John R. back. It’s about time! They shouldn’t have let George Meade get away, either! He was the last of the original group that I remember. I am soooo glad John R. is back!!

  25. Jack Peters

    I found and am rereading parts of “Rambling with Gambling” by John A. Gambling (Copyright 1972, Prentice Hall). This book was given to my Dad from my Mom for Christmas 1972.
    I remember Dad telling us about John Gambling and Peter Roberts. He loved them both! I also got in the habit of listening from time to time.
    I’m thrilled to see that John R. is back where he belongs at WOR. If I were in the area, I would probably listen!
    There was a time when Peter Roberts was on WPAT in Paterson,NJ, after his WOR days.
    Great memories!

  26. Robert Craciun

    I can remember hearing Peter Roberts on Philadelphia, stations doing advertisements for Bell Telephone Of Pennsylvania in the 1940’s before he went on the Gambling’s programs.

  27. James Tuttle

    While I was a kid in Michigan, my dad always had Detroit’s WJR in the morning with J.P. McCarthy. In New York from 1968 until 1989, Rambling with Gambling was the natural continuation. I depended on Fearless Fred, George Meade, and Don Criqui, although I always switched to WABC for Speaking of Sports with Howard Cosell. My 1989 move to L.A. destroyed mornings for me; KNX, an all-news station similar to WCBS, just didn’t do it, so now I’m addicted to NPR.

  28. Terry Fischl

    I worked at WOR many years ago (50) and remember it was a wonderful place to work and special people to work with. The name Gambling will always bring back great memories of great radio men. Thanks to WOR we have another Gambling to listen to.

  29. ronny hickey

    I grew up listening to the Gamblings. I thought they must be part of the family. My father spent long months on foreign assignments leaving my mom at home in rural New Jersey with four young children. She was kept WOR on twenty four seven. I got an education from that station. I listened to Opera. plays. political and philosophical discussion, and heard books reviewed. There is nothing like it today. NPR doesn’t hold a candle to the old days of WOR . The Gambling family and Peter Roberts were gave us a quality broadcast, humor and the warmth of family.

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