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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Friends, fans fete Neal Boortz at sold-out Fox Theatre

Here are photos from last night’s sold-out Fox Theatre farewell “Happy Ending” party for Neal Boortz, who is retiring January 18 after more than four decades as a radio talk-show host:

Neal Boortz was sentimental, sardonic and sweet at his farewell party Saturday night. PHOTO CREDITS: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Neal Boortz was sentimental, sardonic and sweet at his farewell party Saturday night. PHOTO CREDITS: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Boortz performed “Prime the Pump’ with his friends and favorite band Banks & Shane. “I remembered all the words!” he said afterwards.

Neal Boortz didn’t delve into politics Saturday at his sold-out farewell party at the Fox Theatre, his topic of choice for more than four decades on the radio, from the Vietnam War to the current gun-control debate.

Rather, he absorbed gentle ribbing and kind words from his friends, reminisced about his favorite pranks and jokes he played on his colleagues and thanked his staff and late sidekick Royal Marshall, who died unexpectedly two years ago.

“I loved that man more than anybody I’m not related to,” Boortz said. “I would sit in a room with him in the studio during a news break. He’d be carrying on and raising hell. I’d look at him and think, ‘Damn, I just love him.’ I never said it. You know how much I’d like to be able to say that to him now.”

He received a surprise video tribute from talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, a video tribute to the tune of OneRepublic’s “Good Life” (including photos of him with hair) and a song about him from the Atlanta band Banks & Shane.

Boortz retires from his syndicated radio show (heard locally on AM 750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB) on Friday, January 18. He will be replaced by former presidential candidate Herman Cain. (He said the original departure date was January 21 but he decided to just call into Cain’s show on Inauguration Day.)

Boortz told Cain on stage that “I would not have retired if you were going up there to do that job – unless I was to work for you.”

“I can’t retire because you didn’t get the job,” Jeff Foxworthy cracked on stage.

Monica Pearson, who worked at Channel 2 Action News for 37 years until last year, said Boortz convinced his radio audience over the years that she had a hot tub in her office. “I didn’t even have an office!” she said. “I had a cubbyhole!”

Fox News personality and fellow syndicated radio host Sean Hannity said when he competed against Boortz as a host on WGST-AM in the early 1990s, he remembered hearing Boortz teasing his 9 a.m. show on Scott Slade’s show at 6:15 a.m. “I realized I had to get into work earlier,” he said.

But he also realized Boortz was giving Hannity a blueprint for his upcoming show so he’d use that as a guide for his own show. One time, he gleefully poached a guest, O.J. Simpson’s attorney Robert Shapiro – much to Boortz’s chagrin.

On stage, Boortz said Hannity did the smartest thing by moving to New York after his stint at WGST. He said as a Southerner, he faced difficulty getting stations outside of the region to take his show. (Boortz’ program is now heard on more than 230 stations, though he continues to get more love from the South.)

Slade said Boortz’s work ethic was unquenchable. He typically arrived to work three to four hours early to prepare for the day.

“He doesn’t suffer fools gladly,” said Slade. “But if he likes you, he sets you up to look good. He always lifts you up.”

Foxworthy used to sub in for Boortz on his show but said he was “too nice.” Foxworthy did a 20-minute comedy set that with a few light zingers toward Boortz, who over the past three years has worked more from his home studio in Naples than Atlanta.

“I don’t know why Neal is retiring,” Foxworthy told the audience. “He sits in his house drinking coffee and talking on the phone for four hours every morning. You throw on a robe and a pack of Virginia Slims and he’s my mother-in-law!”

Anyone going on stage was asked to wear black-tie formal outfits for the event. Boortz, ever the rebel, came to the theater in a Hawaiian shirt but eventually donned a tux (minus a tie.)

Surprisingly, consumer advocate and self-proclaimed “cheapskate” Clark Howard showed up in a tuxedo, but he didn’t break the bank: he said he paid $79 at K&G Formalwear for a polyester Sean Jean.

At the end of the show, Boortz told the producers he was going to ignore their five-minute time limit and gave a 15-minute speech, which included a loving tribute to his late dog Coco and touching words about his wife Donna, who tearfully watched from the front row.

“I don’t sound like this on the radio,” Boortz said, “but maybe that’s somebody else. She taught me the joy of giving, how great it feels to find somebody else in a desperate situation and helping them out… She’s the most amazing person I’ve ever known. I love you sweetie.”

Boortz said he couldn’t wait to hit the RV with her and travel the country.

His producer Belinda Skelton said afterwards that she sensed when Boortz was running out of steam on stage and voluntarily charged onto the stage, signaling the end of the show.

Producer Belinda Skelton mingle with fans before the concert.

Producer Belinda Skelton mingle with fans before the concert.

Boortz fans Kim and Sally Davis, of Avondale Estates, didn't get to meet him in person but did get a shot by his cardboard cut out.

Boortz fans Kim and Sally Davis, of Avondale Estates, didn't get to meet him in person but did get a shot by his cardboard cut out.

Clark Howard (gasp!) in a Sean John tuxedo he purchased from K&G FormalWear for $79 - or about 20 meals at Burger King.

Clark Howard (gasp!) in a Sean John tuxedo he purchased from K&G FormalWear for $79 - or about 20 meals at Burger King.

Clark Howard (right) with Jamie Dupree before the show.

Clark Howard (right) with Jamie Dupree before the show.

The logo showing Boortz on his RV traveling the country with his wife Donna after retirement.

The logo showing Boortz on his RV traveling the country with his wife Donna after retirement.

Sean Hannity gabs with Herman Cain in the green room.

Sean Hannity gabs with Herman Cain.

Sean Hannity mixes it up with Jeff Foxworthy in the green room .

Sean Hannity mixes it up with Jeff Foxworthy in the green room .

Boortz fan Laurie Weinstein gets her photo taken with Hannity before the show. "You are gorgeous," she told him. "Skinnier and younger, I hope!" he said.

Boortz fan Laurie Weinstein gets her photo taken with Hannity before the show. "You are gorgeous," she told him. "Skinnier and younger, I hope!" he said.

The Boortz crowd hung on his every word during the Saturday night event.

The Boortz crowd hung on his every word during the Saturday night event.

Neal Boortz's two key staffers Christina Gonzalez (right) and Belinda Skelton (left)

Neal Boortz's two key staffers Christina Gonzalez (right) and Belinda Skelton (left)

Captain Herb Emery and Scott Slade of WSB's morning news team.

Captain Herb Emery and Scott Slade of WSB's morning news team.

Sean Hannity enters the stage in triumphant fashion.

Sean Hannity enters the stage in triumphant fashion.

Neal and Belinda yuk it up on stage.

Neal and Belinda yuk it up on stage.

Neal Boortz with Jeff Foxworthy on the dais

Neal Boortz with Jeff Foxworthy on the dais

Foxworthy did a 20-minute stand-up act, which included reading lines from Larry the Cable Guy, who made lots of "old" jokes about Boortz.

Foxworthy did a 20-minute stand-up act, which included reading lines from Larry the Cable Guy, who made lots of "old" jokes about Boortz. Foxworthy did some "redneck"-like jokes but turned it into Boortz jokes: "If the residuals from your show's theme song is the primary source of income for Huey Lewis & the News, you might be Neal Boortz." ""If your airplane fantasy is being in the front of the plane instead of the back without your pants on, you must be Neal Boortz." "If you have been beloved by an audience and leaving a legacy that can never be duplicated, you might just be Neal Boortz."

Chuck Dowdle and Monica Pearson, former Channel 2 Action News icons, enjoy the festivities. Dowdle emceed.

Chuck Dowdle and Monica Pearson, former Channel 2 Action News icons, enjoy the festivities. Dowdle emceed.

Boortz performed with Shane and Banks, an Atlanta Americana/country band that opened and closed the show.

Boortz performed with Shane and Banks, an Atlanta Americana/country band that opened and closed the show.

Doug Franklin, president of Cox Media Group, gives the Donna Boortz Foundation $20,000, $1,000 for each year Boortz worked with Cox.

Doug Franklin, president of Cox Media Group, gives the Donna Boortz Foundation $20,000, $1,000 for each year Boortz worked with Cox.

Confetti flew at the end of the show.

Confetti flew at the end of the show.

Former Channel 2 Action News anchor Monica Pearson hugs Boortz after the show ended.

Former Channel 2 Action News anchor Monica Pearson hugs Boortz after the show ended.

Boortz, after teasing Dowdle about his hair, gives him a playful noogie after the show.

Boortz, after teasing Dowdle about his hair, gives him a playful noogie after the show.

The guys do a group shot backstage after the show ended.

The guys do a group shot backstage after the show ended: (L-R) Clark Howard, Herman Cain, Sean Hannity, Neal Boortz, Jeff Foxworthy, Jamie Dupree, Erick Erickson.

News/Talk WSB is owned by Cox Media Group, which includes the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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122 comments Add your comment

Mercedes S.

January 13th, 2013
11:43 am

I didn’t always agree with Neal’s opinions, but I’ll miss his show. He was a fun host. The new WSB line-up, with no Neal in the morning and no Clark in the afternoon… means no me as a listener as I drive around Atlanta (I only listen to radio when alone in my car).

Grasshopper

January 13th, 2013
11:57 am

I’m surprised there was room in the Fox for all of those bloated egos.

Jim G

January 13th, 2013
11:58 am

Same for me… the only reason I even listen to the radio rather than my ipod or satellite was to hear Boortz…I’ve tried to listen to the replacements (Cain, Erickson)…hardly worth listening to…sorry

CaribouRancher

January 13th, 2013
12:02 pm

Everything must change and personally, I’ll miss Neal but I look forward to what the future holds for Herman, Rush, Sean, Eric and Clark. Long live WSB!

Matt

January 13th, 2013
12:11 pm

Great show, had a good time there. Had a few slow parts but all in all had a good time there.

El Rushbo had a cameo via video to give Neal a farewell, and Larry the Cable Guy wrote some notes on paper plates that Jeff Foxworthy delivered that was classic Larry.

Best of luck Neal, I’ll miss listening to you.

Not a Neal Boortz Redneck

January 13th, 2013
12:38 pm

Good riddance.

From the rest of us "mirmedons"...

January 13th, 2013
12:52 pm

Adios, Mother Tucker…

Miss Manners

January 13th, 2013
1:04 pm

It’s “myrmidon” you troglodite. No wonder you didn’t appreciate Boortz. You’re not smart enough. Go back to your cave.

AU Liberal in ATL

January 13th, 2013
1:07 pm

Glad to be rid of that disgusting piece of white trash. I just wish he’d take all his stinkin’ celebrity supporters with him to what whatever corner of Hell he’s going to.

Mercedes S.

January 13th, 2013
1:32 pm

Not so fast, Manners… it’s troglodyte.

Charles

January 13th, 2013
1:59 pm

The only other radio host who can show the hypocrisy of the Left with humor is Rush. Hopefully, someone will come along with the same entertaining way of making us laugh at Liberals and Proggies.

Rick

January 13th, 2013
2:07 pm

AU LIBERAL IN ATL…..you are certainly a tolerant SOB

Bye bye, Boortzie

January 13th, 2013
2:08 pm

I didn’t always agree with him, but one thing you have to say about him: He never pandered for listeners, either you listened or didn’t. He never changed his views just to get listeners. You can’t say that about Maher, Matthews or any of the liberal, more government is better type talking heads.

Atlantan

January 13th, 2013
2:29 pm

I’ll miss Neal – weekday mornings in Atlanta won’t be the same without him. However, the year of talking dangerously has been a wonderful, entertaining and straight forward year in radio. AMF!

HappyDayzRHereAgain

January 13th, 2013
2:55 pm

Good riddance Boortz.

F’g jerk. I expect the airways will smell a bit fresher now.

racer

January 13th, 2013
3:20 pm

Thank God and Grayhound he’s gone

JWSt

January 13th, 2013
3:26 pm

Where are all you liberals that claim to be so tolerant? I guess not as tolerant as you thought you were, huh.. Neil’s radio program was just like your TV remote. You could simple change the channel. Better yet, not even tune to WSB until his show was over. Liberals always show their colors in the end, and I mean, in the end!

One Less Reich Winger

January 13th, 2013
4:03 pm

One less Reich wing clown spreading Goebbels like propaganda.

The Truth

January 13th, 2013
4:16 pm

Is it just us, or have you also noticed those DUI “public service” spots the DUI are Always males (white).
Is it just us, or have you also noticed those home security commercials,the guy breaking in is Always a male (white)..come on people….

david c

January 13th, 2013
4:24 pm

All of you talking liberal intolerance apparently don’t listen to Boortz and the rest . Hypocrites one and all of you.

david c

January 13th, 2013
4:24 pm

Oh, and good riddance!

snoopy

January 13th, 2013
4:35 pm

He’s brilliant and I will miss him.

Carole

January 13th, 2013
4:40 pm

Neal, will miss you on my late night radio I-pod listenting. However, hate to say this but I could never tolerate Belinda and her groveling.

oldfart

January 13th, 2013
4:49 pm

I can’t believe so many of you took his shtick seriously, he certainly didn’t. If they tell you up front that they are full of it and you believe them anyway who is the fool?

BitterEXdemocrackkk

January 13th, 2013
4:49 pm

Neal Boortz changed my whole political viewpoint from lieberal democrackkk to libertarian to UNaffiliated! He IS brilliant! Im so sad he’s leaving radio…

Ptc dawg

January 13th, 2013
4:53 pm

A great Libertarian…

And to some on here, you cannot hide class.

dmcnya

January 13th, 2013
4:58 pm

thank god this stupid racist is almost gone sure there will b another one to follow he s a idiot

Bill

January 13th, 2013
5:07 pm

Great American……..

Deedra

January 13th, 2013
5:11 pm

Lookin through the pics, except for Monica and the Hermanator I didn’t see all that much diversity.

Big D

January 13th, 2013
5:14 pm

I remember the bit on the dolphins taking over the submarine. People believed it. What’s up with that!

R Powers

January 13th, 2013
5:17 pm

Looks like the naasayers are out in force. Who unlocked their cages and le them lose?

Cant stand stupid

January 13th, 2013
5:19 pm

FAREWELL GRAND-DRAGON….AREWELL

Cant stand stupid

January 13th, 2013
5:20 pm

FAREWELL GRAND-DRAGON…FAREWELL

Rabun

January 13th, 2013
5:24 pm

for the poster that mentioned his 20th wife….way to slander…he ha never been accused of dishonesty…..he has been married for over 40 years to the same wife…not a partner…whioch is the Lord’s plan

Droc

January 13th, 2013
5:25 pm

I’ve listened to Neal for about 20 years, though I don’t agree with him on much. In recent years, his illogical and overwrought hatred for Obama has ruined his show. Retiring is for the best. His replacements, however, are boring as hell.

Nutmeg

January 13th, 2013
5:41 pm

The conservative movement is really losing something here–and I say this as an avowed liberal.

Unlike many of his peers, Boortz doesn’t participate in the war on women: he’s pro-choice, doesn’t offer anti-gay rhetoric, and recognizes creationists as anti-science. The whole party needs to take a page from his social libertarianism, and it’s shame he’s the one going while Limbaugh, Hannity, et al gibber on and on.

MeMe

January 13th, 2013
5:54 pm

Boortz’s bio says he “finished at A&M in 1967.” That’s Texas A&M. He “finished” by flunking out. Guess that means “graduated” in his terms, huh?

Boortz wants you to think he’d have done his part during the Vietnam War, but the military “wouldn’t have me.” He’s claimed that he couldn’t get into the military because of 1) vision problems, or 2) asthma.

The truth came out after Frank Kaner, a Vietnam vet from Atlanta. Boortz received a 1-D deferment in 1964. That deferment was given to those enrolled in programs such as ROTC. Trouble is, during most of the time Boortz had the deferment, he wasn’t in a military program and therefore was ineligible. In February 1968, he received a new deferment, 3-A, given to those with children or other dependents.

According to the records we turned up, Boortz never had a 4-F medical deferment for vision, asthma or anything else. Last week, Dan Amon, a spokesman for the Selective Service, reconfirmed that Boortz rated only the 1-D and 3-A classifications.

Hope you all enjoyed giving your money to this liar. Gotta give it to Neal; pimped you guys to the end.

tc

January 13th, 2013
6:10 pm

I am a Ga. liberal and have been listening to Boortz since 1971. I agree with him about 10% of the time, but the guy is entertaining. I have also met him and he is nothing like the hateful right winger he acts like on the air. He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. I will miss him, I wish WSB had a decent replacement, but Cain is not even close.

Senseofhumor

January 13th, 2013
6:19 pm

Funny how some people took Neal seriously on every topic and hung on every word. Did you consider he was an entertainer and made a great living as such A&M or not.

Buh Bye Boortz!

January 13th, 2013
6:20 pm

Now if only Boortz would do a “Charles Schultz” special and shuffle off the mortal coil the day after retiring. Alternatively, I wish him a long, slow, painful decline.

Bob

January 13th, 2013
6:31 pm

He has done a great job at making Americans wake up and value conservative principles.

Early Cuyler

January 13th, 2013
6:34 pm

Boretz claims he has 6 million devoted listeners but can’t get a few thousand to sign their names to a crumby online petition. He, like his buddy Hannity, is a phony whose time has passed. His “retirement” is his way of saving face.

UPGRAYEDD

January 13th, 2013
6:44 pm

Too cowardly to call himself a Republican. Too cowardly to speak his mind where his opinions ran afoul of the GOP talking points. Yes, he had a good sense of humor, which he often wielded after being skewered. But his lack of tolerance, his adherence to principles that we left behind in the 40’s…good riddance.

Damn, I miss Royal Marshall though. What a lovely man; the antithesis of Boortz.

Bert

January 13th, 2013
6:46 pm

About the best thing I can say about Boortz and the many others on the air doing the same thing is that they are irresponsible, at worst they are self serving cretins making bags of money off the unthinking population while doing considerable damage to the country and its institutions. They should be reviled and not honored and will judged harshly by history, people will change their names to avoid being recognised as their descendants.

TG

January 13th, 2013
6:51 pm

Was Monica Pearson the only Black there? It appears so from the pics and that wouldn’t surprise me to be honest. Re his retirement, I think it’s time but I know that Herman Cain will not last long. He does not have the wit of Neal Boortz and will not be able to sustain an audience. Honestly, I have not listened to Boortz in a while. Seems like when Obama ran for office, something turned and his show became so full of hate and over-the-top rhetoric (none of it based on fact because Obama has continued the Bush wars which Boortz so loved) and I couldn’t bear to listen. Pre Obama though, I have to admit, Boortz introduced more than anyone to me how to be an independent thinker. He was more tolerablel than racist Rush and true-believing Hannity because of his libertarian strain. He was a Republican (he always voted for Republicans) with a libertarian bent and I liked hearing his libertarian side. He will be missed, but it’s time to move on. I give Cain less than six months though. Ratings will likely tank and he will be replaced by racist Eric Ericson.

Martha Orlando

January 13th, 2013
6:53 pm

What wonderful photos and memories! Will miss you so much, Talkmaster! You did everything you could to keep America on track and informed. You have been the voice we have needed and the inspiration we will carry forward into this uncertain future.
May God bless the Queen and you in your retirement!

Raiderbeater

January 13th, 2013
7:01 pm

I love it! Boortz pissing off liberals to the end! All the ones on here burning up. So mad that Boortz had 42 years of fame and riches in his career achieving more than anyone with opposing ideas could imagine. They are mad and hate him for it…..but nothing they can do now.

kbfore

January 13th, 2013
7:02 pm

Been in GA 12 years. Going to be weird not listening to Neal.

Raiderbeater

January 13th, 2013
7:03 pm

He hated Obama ….racist!

I hope half the people on here are being sarcastic since this is laughed at by everyone but them.

I hate Obama….I guess I’m racist. Wait! I’m black!

kbfore

January 13th, 2013
7:03 pm

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