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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

Neal Boortz announces retirement after more than four decades in radio, replaced by Herman Cain

Herman Cain (left) and Neal Boortz yuk it up before cameras in WSB radio studios Monday, June 4, 2012. Cain replaces Boortz in January , 2013. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Herman Cain (left) and Neal Boortz yuk it up before cameras in WSB radio studios Monday, June 4, 2012. Cain replaces Boortz in January , 2013. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

After more than four decades on the airwaves in Atlanta, Neal Boortz this morning announced that he is ending his syndicated talk show on January 21, 2013, replaced by former presidential candidate Herman Cain.

Cain will cohost the day the president elect  is officially inaugurated and then takes over solo on Tuesday, January 22.

“I’m going to miss everything associated with doing a talk show,” Boortz said on air as his producer Belinda Skelton teared up.

He said he is not doing this for health reasons. “I am not doing  this because I’m fixing to die,” he said. “I have absolutely no health problems period.” Rather, he wants to travel with his wife Donna, something he said is difficult to do as a full-time talk-show host. He even purchased a tour bus to rove the country.

“We’re going to call this Neal’s happy ending,” he added later with a glint in his eye.

After his first break, post announcement, associate producer Christina Gonzalez popped the champagne. Cain ambled in a few minutes later and grabbed a glass. “Mr. Boortz,” he said. “Your announcement was pure Boortz.”

Neal Boortz takes in some champagne during a break after announcing his pending retirement in January 2013. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Neal Boortz takes in some champagne during a break after announcing his pending retirement in January 2013. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Boortz, 67, has been the longest running talk show host on Atlanta radio. He is now heard locally on 95.5FM and AM750 News/Talk WSB from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays.

On December 5, 2012, he said he’s going to take the month off. After New Year’s, he will work until January 21.

“Neal is my brother from another mother,” Cain said on air. “Congratulations on the retirement. Congratulations on 42 years in this business.”

Boortz said he will do daily commentaries for Cain and will be a fill in for Cain and Erick Erickson, who is heard on WSB from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights. Currently, Cain has been the primary fill in for Boortz.

Boortz estimated since he started in radio, he has taken 280,000 phone calls. “And 260,000 got cut off,” he said.

During a break, Skelton said Boortz intimated to her two years ago that he wanted to retired in early 2013. “It always seemed so far away,” she said. “For the past year, my stomach has been in absolute knots. It was hard for him. He loves what he does.”

Program Director Pete Spriggs said he was aware of Boortz’s intentions but they agreed to make this announcement relatively early. “He wanted it off his chest,” Spriggs said. At the same time, Spriggs wanted to have a successor ready to go so he was glad to convince Cain to take over.

“I feel great,” Boortz said on air at 11:18 a.m. when fellow syndicated host Clark Howard stopped by. “Last week, I felt really down. Right now, I’m feeling great. I don’t know how I will feel tomorrow. But I have no doubt I made the right decision.”

In 1970, on what was then called 680/WRNG-AM in Atlanta, Boortz took over for a morning host who had just committed suicide – a story he loves to tell.

He earned a law degree and juggled radio and a private practice from 1977 to 1992.

Boortz joined WSB in 1993 when it was just on the AM side. He’s a workaholic who spends four and a half hours on air every day, longer than most hosts, and Tweets several times a day.

A self-proclaimed Libertarian, Boortz usually supports Republican policies and candidates but isn’t always in line with them on social issues such as abortion, gay marriage and drug enforcement. He espouses smaller government but has been more hawkish about terrorism after 9/11 than many Libertarians.

He portrays himself as an entertainer and castigates people who merely echo what he says and don’t think for themselves. His daily line about himself: “Home of the high priest of the Church of the Painful Truth.”

Herman Cain will take over for Neal Boortz. Here they are from a 2008 event at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Herman Cain will take over for Neal Boortz. Here they are from a 2008 event at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre which also featured Sean Hannity. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Boortz has written four books. The most impactful was 2005’s “The Fair Tax Book,” which advocates dropping the federal income tax in favor of a national sales tax. In a press conference early Monday afternoon, Boortz said he is working on another book about stories as a radio host and plans to release it as an e-book.

He demurred when asked about a future in politics after he retires but didn’t say no. He did acknowledge his wife Donna is highly active in the Mitt Romney campaign.

Although Boortz still has a home in Atlanta, he now spends most of his time in Naples, Fla. He grew up in several different places, including Florida, attended Texas A&M and spent several years in various professions before radio such as jewelry and carpet buyer, insurance salesman and a speech writer.

He has been lauded by radio groups across the nation over the years, entering the national Radio Hall of Fame in 2009.

Cain, a 66-year-old former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, joined WSB in 2008 as an evening talk show host until early 2011, when he decided to run for president. His bid ended in December. Since January, he has provided daily commentaries on Boortz’s show and has continued to sub in for Boortz.

Cain’s radio footprint will now be national. Boortz is heard on about 240 radio stations. Talkers magazine, which tracks talk radio, estimates Boortz draws more than six million listeners a week, tied with Laura Ingraham for seventh.

“For all practical purposes,” Cain said on the air, “I am done with politics. Essentially, I wanted to continue to express my views and help educate people on what’s going on in this country.”

Cain will do his show each day from 9 a.m. to noon. “That is still a significant commitment a day,” he said during a press conference Monday afternoon. “When I subbed in for his four and a half hours, it was exhausting!”

Dan Kearney, market manager for Cox Radio Atlanta, said WSB will decide later what it will do with the noon to 1 p.m. slot, as well as 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. He also noted that Cain has huge name recognition, even better than Boortz, thanks to his presidential run.

Cain said he had other offers, including TV and radio gigs. But this syndication deal was the most enticing.  It will allow him to make TV appearances and do speeches across the country. He declined to say how long his deal will last.

Want more photos from the day? John Spink of the AJC posted a photo gallery.


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By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

423 comments Add your comment

Wink

June 4th, 2012
10:12 am

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Michelle

June 4th, 2012
10:13 am

Of course Belinda is crying…there goes her gravy train.

Allison Wonderland

June 4th, 2012
10:15 am

This is news?

Diana

June 4th, 2012
10:15 am

So he’ll take over when “the president is officially inaugurated for the next four-year term.” So I guess we won’t have to vote.

lss

June 4th, 2012
10:16 am

Can’t stand Herman Cain. Boortz will be missed.

Tex

June 4th, 2012
10:17 am

THis is funny. This rag doesnt allow comments on their liberal journalism (since they would be run out of town at this fish wrapper) They do allow comments on conservative causes.

Pukes.

Alabamastan

June 4th, 2012
10:18 am

It’s time. Past time.

Karen

June 4th, 2012
10:18 am

I, for one, will miss Boortz. Hopefully Belinda will be able to stay on, she is great. I agree with MOST of what Boortz says, but not all. He is definitely a good entertainer.

K-Ster

June 4th, 2012
10:19 am

I wonder how Herman Cain ’skirted’ his way into this gig ;-)

AJ

June 4th, 2012
10:20 am

@Allison Wonderland – No, it’s not news; that’s why it’s in the BLOG section. It’s information that some people may find interesting.

BubByeNeal

June 4th, 2012
10:20 am

Didn’t (still don’t) agree with Neal much. Definitely love/hate relationship. But he mastered one thing: he provoked an emotion, that’s what is necessary in that kind of job. Herman, nice guy, but doesn’t have the chops. Course, they won’t be paying him 5mil+/yr.

Repubtallygirl

June 4th, 2012
10:21 am

You will be missed Talkmaster!

Kyle

June 4th, 2012
10:21 am

Boortz was entertaining – He was our very own Eric Cartman. As for Belinda, she will be alright – She’s got personal injury lawsuit bucks.

Phil Lunney

June 4th, 2012
10:22 am

Herman Cain? Do you think we are stupid?
A once great radio station descends to become a Tea Party naysayer. Elmo Ellis and Royal T will find a new frequency to listen to in the afterlife. I will find a new frequency to listen to here on earth.

Matt

June 4th, 2012
10:23 am

He will be missed…

Porter Wagner

June 4th, 2012
10:23 am

I started to write something.

SalyB

June 4th, 2012
10:23 am

“advocates dropping the federal sales tax in favor of a national sales tax.”
Don’t you mean the Federal INCOME TAX?

Atlanta Allen

June 4th, 2012
10:24 am

Cain is just more Hannity, Erikson, etc. Lots of talk about freedom, lots of desire to control others’ lives. Give the show to Mark Arum. His presentation is more polished than Cains’ and he is as Libertarian as Boortz. The religious right and the lunatic left are rejoicing. Thanks for a lot of good years Mr. Boortz.

Joey

June 4th, 2012
10:24 am

I will miss Boortz. Polically incorrect, angry, persistent, Neil said a great deal of things that need to be said without apologizing to the nannies and the thought police of the left.

Mark

June 4th, 2012
10:25 am

Herman Cain! Time to switch the station. He is so obnoxious to listen too.

Buckeye

June 4th, 2012
10:25 am

The end of yet another Atlanta legend. Enjoy, Neil.

marc

June 4th, 2012
10:25 am

I did’nt agree with Boortz much…..but he was entertaining and a good reminder that freedom of speech means more when you dislike what is said. Happy retirement.

Now, about Herman’s 9-9-9- plan…..is that 9 jives, 9 wives, and 9 lives???

OTP

June 4th, 2012
10:25 am

Another reason to try the other “news” station at 106.7. Cain will not last.

dork

June 4th, 2012
10:26 am

thank god! i hate him. really and im not a liberal

Sluggo

June 4th, 2012
10:26 am

Cain enjoys the sound of his own voice too much.

Buck Necked

June 4th, 2012
10:27 am

Damn! I like Neal. Herman is an idiot though.

Mike

June 4th, 2012
10:27 am

I’m a little confused by the line “…which advocates dropping the federal SALES tax in favor of a national sales tax”. I was under the impression that the Fair Tax sought to eliminate the federal INCOME tax.

steve

June 4th, 2012
10:27 am

This is not good!!!! I listen to Boortz everyday and I am a mixed race moderate who voted for W and then Obama. Would have voted for Boortz for President!! Will be missed for sure!! I’m voting for JEFF JOHNSON “the man you know”this year.

Rev Al

June 4th, 2012
10:28 am

His schtick is way past it’s prime…..tired of hearing him blather on and on about his “stuff”….good riddance…..

Just 1

June 4th, 2012
10:28 am

Finally. One more jerk with no contribution to the human race will be gone from the airwaves. Ding dong the witch is dead!! When he does finally shed this mortal coil I will personally rejoice even further.

Steve

June 4th, 2012
10:29 am

This is a pile of “yak squeeze”
!

hold on playa

June 4th, 2012
10:29 am

Celebrate good times…come on
sing it with me now.

Celebrate good times come on……

Thank You for Old Age!!

June 4th, 2012
10:29 am

Who Cares!!!!!…

John Boener's Tanning Bed

June 4th, 2012
10:31 am

The real reason 19 million run candidates run for President in the Repub primary. So they can make $! Newt will probably get a show on Fox so he can pay off his 4.5 million dollard debt.

hold on playa

June 4th, 2012
10:31 am

one moron replacing another moron….

999…look it up it aint about taxation or health care..maybe the end of ….well just look it up….
there is symbolism in everything….

Maura

June 4th, 2012
10:31 am

Neal will be missed. I am happy for him, but sad for the people of Atlanta. Enjoy your time with your friends, family and your wife and know that you will be missed.

Rick James

June 4th, 2012
10:31 am

Good for Neal…Enjoy your retirement and your family.

Chris

June 4th, 2012
10:32 am

Diana the President will be sworn into office Jan.21 2013 be it Barak Obama or Mitt Romney one of them will be inaugurated on that day. Yes there is still a need to vote.

Jimmy

June 4th, 2012
10:33 am

Lots of know nothing liberal haters on here. Oh yeah, this is the AJC. Good luck Mr. Boortz, and I hope you haunt the moochers and takers for eternity.

Dondee

June 4th, 2012
10:34 am

I have been dreading this day for years! I have been listening to Neal since I was 12 years old and value his insight. He can be infuriating, but he often nails it and talk radio will not be the same for me. Good luck, Neal!

SuzeC

June 4th, 2012
10:34 am

I used to love listening to Boortz, although I often disagreed with him. But the past few years have just been painful – nothing but constant anti-Obama bitterness and hostility. (And I’m NOT an Obama supporter, either.) In recent years the only thing that kept me listening to the show at all was a longtime fondness for Royal (RIP) and Jamie Dupree’s commentaries. But there’s no way I’ll be able to listen to Cain – time to pony up for some XM.

Robocop5626

June 4th, 2012
10:35 am

What exactly is this article sentence trying to say? “Boortz has written four books. The most impactful was 2005’s “The Fair Tax Book,” which advocates dropping the federal sales tax in favor of a national sales tax.” It advocates dropping federal sales tax in favor of national sales tax? These items are identical. Does anyone bother to read this stuff before posting it?

Atlantan

June 4th, 2012
10:35 am

Hate to see him go – he is an outstanding entertainer. Also enjoy seeing him get the dummies fired up….

Nik

June 4th, 2012
10:35 am

What a big relief for the LIBERAL bed wetters! No more mental toture for them.

JOSEPH FLIPPIN

June 4th, 2012
10:35 am

Neal Boortz. You are the TALK MASTER. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

Rickster

June 4th, 2012
10:36 am

The Fair Tax doesn’t just eliminate the federal income tax. It eliminates the FICA tax, inheritance tax, estate/death tax, and corporate income taxes and replaces it with a 23% national sales tax on new (not used) goods & services.

odk1

June 4th, 2012
10:37 am

as a democrat i think Neal Boortz have a real hate for president Obama, but i do not consider him as racist, now i listen to him all the time, he is funny for one thing, and i was holding my breath on how he will reacts when Obama beats Romney coming November, i guess am not going to see that after-all. what a looser.

The Truth

June 4th, 2012
10:37 am

One good thing about Rush and the others they don’t let their call screeners talk on air.

Hamad Meander

June 4th, 2012
10:37 am

Atlanta will lose a legend on January 21st, 2013. Neal – we have enjoyed listening to you for a long time. Hope you enjoy your travels. I don’t blame you one bit for wanting to go out and see the world.

Bertie Allen

June 4th, 2012
10:37 am

Thank God , but I’d rather listen to him instead of his replacment OMG