Updated:
Original:
Year
1984

A radio host is gunned down for his controversial views

Talk radio icon Alan Berg, the self-described “man you love to hate,” is gunned down and killed instantly in the driveway of his home in Denver, Colorado, on this day in 1984. The 50-year-old host, whose show on the station KOA gained a strong following in the early 1980s, stirred up controvesy with his outspoken personality, abrasive approach and liberal views. He had already been the target of a steady stream of death threats.

One of the suspects in Berg’s murder, Bruce Pierce—leader of a neo-Nazi organization called the Order—was arrested nearly a year later in Georgia, driving a van that contained machine guns, grenades, dynamite, and a crossbow. His right-wing extremist group had been linked to many armored-car robberies in the West.

David Lane and Richard Scutari, Pierce’s alleged accomplices, were caught a short time later. Authorities believed that Robert Matthews, the founder of the Order, was also involved, but he had died in a fire caused by a shootout with FBI agentsnear Seattle, Washington, in December 1984.

After Pierce, Lane, and Scutari were charged with violating Berg’s civil rights, a jury concluded that Pierce had been responsible for shooting Berg, while Lane had driven the getaway car. Scutari was acquitted.

Alan Berg’s story provided the loose inspiration for Oliver Stone and Eric Bogosian’s 1988 film “Talk Radio.” In the years since his murder, radio talk hosts have been known to be even more abrasive and controversial than Berg.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Napoleon defeated at Waterloo

At Waterloo in Belgium, Napoleon Bonaparte suffers defeat at the hands of the Duke of Wellington, bringing an end to the Napoleonic era of European history. The Corsica-born Napoleon, one of the greatest military strategists in history, rapidly rose in the ranks of the French ...read more

War of 1812 begins

The day after the Senate followed the House of Representatives in voting to declare war against Great Britain, President James Madison signs the declaration into law—and the War of 1812 begins. The American war declaration, opposed by a sizable minority in Congress, had been ...read more

Hitler and Mussolini meet in Munich

On this day in 1940, Benito Mussolini arrives in Munich with his foreign minister, Count Ciano, to discuss immediate plans with the Fuhrer, and doesn’t like what he hears. Embarrassed over the late entry of Italy in the war against the Allies, and its rather tepid performance ...read more

Arnold Palmer wins U.S. Open

On June 18, 1960, Arnold Palmer shoots a 65 to win the U.S. Open at Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver, Colorado. It was the best final round in U.S. Open history. Palmer, from Ligonier, Pennsylvania was the son of a golf pro at the Latrobe Country Club in nearby Latrobe. His ...read more

British abandon Philadelphia

On this day in 1778, after almost nine months of occupation, 15,000 British troops under General Sir Henry Clinton evacuate Philadelphia, the former U.S. capital. The British had captured Philadelphia on September 26, 1777, following General George Washington’s defeats at the ...read more