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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Catching up with… Crash Clark (formerly of 99X, now at Dave FM)

Christopher "Crash" Clark, Jimmy Baron, Yvonne  Monet. CREDIT: Dave FM

Christopher "Crash" Clark, Jimmy Baron, Yvonne Monet. CREDIT: Dave FM

Dave FM traffic reporter Christopher “Crash” Clark was feeling frustrated during the winter storm earlier this month that crippled the city for days.

When Clark got on the air with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on air, Clark dug into him as if he were Mike Wallace of ”60 Minutes.”

“I was all fired up,” Clark admitted the day after. “I was speaking on behalf of all the Southerners as a former Northerner. It just boiled over.”

Normally, Clark is known for his happy-go-lucky demeanor, the dude you’d hang out with at the bar and throw back a beer or three. He was an integral part of the 99X Morning X team back in the 1990s into the early 2000s. After four years in Boston working with two other 99X alums Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb, he was let go for budgetary reasons last year.

Dave FM, which already employs former 99X jocks such as morning hosts Jimmy Baron and Yvonne Monet, hired him last September, returning him to Atlanta radio. (He also does traffic for sister stations V-103 and WAOK-AM.)

“I felt Crash brought a strong element of energy and enthusiasm and gave the daypart a kick in the keister,” wrote Dave FM Program Director Scott Jameson.

Clark started his radio career by pure happenstance. A high school dropout, he was struggling in Miami as a waiter at a kosher restaurant. “I was a complete loser,” he said. “I had no direction.”

His older brother Tom, a jock at then-top 40 station Power 99 in 1989, invited Crash to Walt Disney World for a radio promotion as a photographer. On day, the inebriated pair grabbed two Chinese swords and spontaneously “battled” in front of other tourists at Epcot Center. People thought they were actors.

A Power 99 executive spied these shenanigans and was mesmerized.

“You’re crazier than your brother,” the executive said. “Do you want a job in radio?”

Clark moved to Atlanta and began doing traffic for Power 99.

While there, he became “Crash” Clark, courtesy of Vikki Locke, now at B98.5 and fan of “Bull Durham” actor Kevin Costner, whose film character name was Crash.

He eventually got a night jock job, spinning Color Me Badd and Milli Vanilli records. In October, 1992, with grunge getting hot, Power 99 became 99X. Clark was soon fired. Clark acknowledged he was immature and let the fame go to his head. “I was staying out too late and not showing up on time,” he said. “I was showing up at Rupert’s in company-paid limos.”

Around 1995, he got a job at Metro Traffic, which provided traffic services for radio stations including 99X and the new hip-hop station Hot 97.5. At Hot, the jocks teased him for sounding too “white.” So he created a new persona, “Crash D.” “It was a running joke,” he said. “A majority of people at Hot thought I was black.” (He did his traffic in a different building. so they did not see him in person.)

99X loved Clark’s unbridled goofiness and eventually brought him into the studio, where he became an effective fourth player on the team, usually talking about his drunken revelry the night before. “Little by little,” he said, “I developed a character.”

Those, Clark said, were his salad days. His reputation as a big beer consumer built into legendary proportions. “The first time you’re hung over, it’s magnified by 100,” he said. “I had friends who’d call in and say Crash is hung over. I wasn’t! It was a no-win situation. So ten beers became 20. It was funnier.”

Management, he said, encouraged him to act crazy – until he went too far. He was suspended a few times, fired a couple more, over the years. In 2005, 99X let him go one final time after he let two strangers get a bit too friendly in a bar bathroom to win concert tickets. “It was two in the morning,” he said. “The main client thought I was hysterical. I guess it was the bar owner who wasn’t happy.”

He loved his time in Boston with Toucher and Shertenlieb. “The show was a success from day one. It was just one fun time after another,” he said. “The audience up there was frighteningly loyal. They hooked on to us. Our first party, 1,500 people showed up at a bar.”

Clark came back to Atlanta after the Boston gig, where he has shown signs he has matured. Happily married a second time, he has found new life at a station geared to rock fans who now have families and kids.

“He’s mellowed, but he’s still Crash,” Baron said. “He’s not at home watching ‘Masterpiece Theatre.’ But we get the best parts of his personality put in a litte more adult environment. I think it encourages him to rely on humor other than just the drunken frat-boy thing of the past.”

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By Rodney Ho, rho@ajc.com, AJCRadioTV blog

20 comments Add your comment

Brock

January 24th, 2011
1:34 pm

I like Crash, Jimmy and Yvonne, however, they definitely have faces for radio. Ouch!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Atlanta Rio , Rodney Ho. Rodney Ho said: Catching up with… Crash Clark (formerly of 99X, now at Dave FM) http://bit.ly/gfwbfn [...]

Rob

January 24th, 2011
2:39 pm

Crash may be in Atlanta now, but he’ll always be Boston’s adopted son!

john

January 24th, 2011
3:44 pm

I love crash!! All his listeners honestly miss him here in Boston. Totally cool guy.

Yvonne Monet Fan

January 24th, 2011
3:50 pm

I’ve been a big fan of Yvonne Monet for 15-20 years now, but I never realized she had such a wonderful chest.

Needless to say, I’m becoming an even bigger fan of hers at this very moment.

What a Beauty!

JASon

January 24th, 2011
4:08 pm

Uncle Crash- tell us the one about the strawberry daiquiri in the hotel. Or the one about the eggs you threw on that fateful morning…

John J.

January 24th, 2011
7:35 pm

If Toucher and Rich’s show was so successful, why did they fire Crash for “budgetary reasons” per Rodney’s article above? The guy couldn’t have been making more then $50K a year.

Scott

January 24th, 2011
9:41 pm

Crash was “let go” from the T+R show because the station flipped to an all sports format and they brought in a new guy for third chair who also does the sports updates every 20 minutes. I guess there just wasnt enough money or seats to go around. The show was better with Crash, back in the WBCN days, but its still the best show in Boston. We miss Crash very much up here but glad to here that he’s back up to his old tricks.

Dave

January 24th, 2011
9:50 pm

Count me in as another Boston-area listener who misses “Crash” on the Toucher and Rich show, glad to hear that he’s doing well!

Joe

January 24th, 2011
10:05 pm

Boston misses ya dude!!!! R.I.P. WBCN

MF

January 24th, 2011
10:27 pm

Now just bring back Toucher and Rich! Get them out of Boston!

Eric

January 24th, 2011
11:13 pm

Toucher and Rich on WBCN was amazing! I loved it, and I loved Crash! We miss ya buddy. Wallach is alright, but Crash was the real deal! I always loved “Ask Crash” ahhhh too bad BCN had to go under.

JimmyDudeKid

January 24th, 2011
11:27 pm

Boston fans are frighteningly loyal cuz we’re real, not like those atlanta fans who need to get coaxed into going to games. WE miss you CRASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Krystal

January 25th, 2011
6:30 am

I stopped listening to Toucher&Rich b/c they are so boring w/o Crash. I am jealous of you, Atlanta–but just for Crash, nothing else, TRUST ME

Ray Polnacheck

January 25th, 2011
2:48 pm

JimmyDudeKid you know nothing about Atlanta. The city is very transient meaning in terms you might understand everyone is from somewhere else. I’m pretty sure the population in your area is declining while in Atlanta it is growing. So everyone roots for another team and has not lived in this city very long. So don’t say Atlanta fans are not loyal because in reality it is really hard to find someone who has lived in Atlanta or the Atlanta area all there lives. Enjoy your winter because Spring is right around the corner for us and 70 degree weather.

rod

January 25th, 2011
4:10 pm

O met Crash years ago at the Snowball Open. He was in a group with Tom and some other guy. They caught us waiting on the par 3 group ahead of us. Both Crash and Tom were nice and flat out funny. I have been a fan of his since.

jarvis

January 25th, 2011
11:33 pm

I went to Boston in June. The high was 58 every f’ing day.
You can keep it.

brian

January 26th, 2011
9:26 am

BCN is all sports now? That was the best station in the country in the 1980’s. I have missed their music and personalities since I moved here in 1987, The Big Mattress was the best with Charles and Ken. I loved Mrk Parenteau too. They had the best mix of all kinds of music back then. It is sad when you see what FM radio has become. I don’t even listen to it anymore.

Joe

January 26th, 2011
7:34 pm

So he did get his name from Bull Durham. How gay!

Rusty

February 2nd, 2011
11:13 am

A high school dropout, he was struggling in Miami as a waiter at a kosher restaurant. “I was a complete loser,” he said. “I had no direction.”

I’ve said it a zillion times, so why not again: Crash Clark = loser