EXCLUSIVE: Clark Howard ending his syndicated radio show after 23 years

Clark Howard on-air during his Clark's Kids toy drive for foster kids in 2017. Credit: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com
Caption
Clark Howard on-air during his Clark's Kids toy drive for foster kids in 2017. Credit: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Credit: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Credit: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

His websites and local contributions to AJC, WSB-TV and WSB radio will continue.

Veteran Atlanta consumer guru Clark Howard is shuttering his nationally syndicated radio show at the end of this year.

“Not being under the gun every week with how much content I have to generate for radio is something I’m so relieved not to do anymore,” said Howard, who has been on the radio for about 33 years, in an exclusive interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’m at a point in my life I don’t need the money.”

Howard, now 65, is known for his frugality and his finances are just fine, he said. He decided he would stop doing radio when it stopped being fun, and while he enjoyed being on the air, all the work surrounding the show was getting to be too much.

“It feels cool to walk away from the show on my own,” said Howard, who noted that most radio hosts stick with it until their bosses no longer want them anymore as opposed to the other way around.

“The Clark Howard Show” is syndicated on about 250 stations nationwide with Westwood One, home to Mark Levin, Michael Savage and Ben Shapiro, among others. The show is heard locally from 10 p.m. to midnight weekdays on WSB, which is at 750AM and 95.5.FM as well as online at wsbradio.com.

Howard will continue to do daily morning and afternoon commentaries on WSB Radio, along with breaking news and charities such as his annual Clark’s Kids toy drive where his listeners provide gifts to every foster child in Georgia.

Drew Andersson, WSB radio program director, said the station does not know yet what show will replace Howard at the 10 p.m. slot but he’s thrilled to still have Howard contribute daily.

This move also won’t change his daily contributions to Channel 2 Action News on WSB-TV and a weekly Thursday column with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“Clark is a great partner to WSB radio and TV and will remain a crucial part of our news and community service,” Andersson said.

Howard said his websites, Clark.com and ClarkDeals.com, now generate far more revenue than his radio show does. He has 18 full-time employees in Atlanta and many others who work remotely nationwide.

Howard also hosts a podcast, and that will enable him to scratch his radio itch without the comparable level of responsibility and time as his radio show. “It will be radio lite,” he said.

He said the pandemic hurt radio across the board and impacted his show as well. Revenues sharply fell in the spring and have since climbed to about 85 percent of what they were before March, he said.

Still, Howard said he will miss interacting regularly with the listeners because he genuinely likes tackling their problems.

Christa DiBiase, his former radio producer, who is now chief operating officer for Clark Howard Inc., said in a statement that “the syndicated radio show has been an incredible vehicle for Clark to spread his message, but I understand and support Clark’s decision to remove that obligation from his life.”

She noted that his free Consumer Action Center, which provides helps answer consumer questions directly, will continue to field calls and emails.

Howard started his radio career more or less by accident. He had finished a successful run owning a travel agency and was a millionaire by age 33. He decided to provide travel advice on the then-popular news/talk radio station WGST-AM and was so popular, they gave him a show. In 1991, WSB hired him away, and he has been with them ever since. He has also been contributing columns to the AJC for three decades.

He spent his first 21 years in afternoons at WSB, but when the station picked up Rush Limbaugh in 2012, it moved Howard’s show into the evenings.

Howard was inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame in 2007 and the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2015.

“The biggest mark he made was on the people who listened to him,” said Eric Seidel, who hired him at WSGT. “He’s proving it now with his website. It’s a digitized world, and he moved over to that world.”

>>RELATED: My Clark Howard profile in The Wall Street Journal from 1991

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