Neal Boortz

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Neal Boortz
NealBoortz.jpg
Neal Boortz at a FairTax Rally in February 2008
Born (1945-04-06) April 6, 1945 (age 69)
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
Education Pensacola High School
Texas A&M University
John Marshall Law School
Occupation Radio host, author, attorney
Religion Episcopalian
Spouse(s) Donna Boortz
Children Laura
Website
boortz.com

Neal A Boortz, Jr. (born April 6, 1945) is an American author, attorney, and former radio host.[1] His nationally syndicated talk show, The Neal Boortz Show, which ended in 2013, was carried throughout the United States. It was ranked seventh in overall listeners, with more than 4.25 million per week.[2] The content of the show included politics, current events, social issues, and topics of interest, which Boortz discussed with callers, correspondents and guests. Boortz touched on many controversial topics and referred to himself as an "equal opportunity offender."

Boortz's first involvement with radio was in the 1960s, while he was a student at Texas A&M University, working as a local on-air personality at WTAW-AM. After moving to Georgia, he became an avid listener of Atlanta’s first talk radio station. Boortz became a regular caller to the morning talk show. When the show's host died, it created a job opening, which Boortz actively pursued. He was initially hired on a two-week "trial run", and later offered the permanent position. Boortz attended night law school, earning a law degree in 1977. For some years he worked as both an attorney and as a talk show host. He eventually closed his law practice in order to concentrate on his work in radio.

Boortz has received many industry accolades. He was named as one of the "25 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America" by Talkers magazine, and one of "Georgia's 100 Most Influential People" by Georgia Trend. In 2009, Boortz was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.

Boortz's first book was The Commencement Speech You Need To Hear in 1997,[3] followed by The Terrible Truth About Liberals, in 1998.[4] In 2005, he co-wrote The FairTax Book with Congressman John Linder, proposing to implement a variant of a national retail sales tax in lieu of other federal taxes. Boortz's involvement with the FairTax is covered in the documentary film An Inconvenient Tax.

Biography[edit]

Early life and education[edit]

Boortz was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, which was his mother's home. His father was a World War II pilot in the Marine Corps and later served in the Korean War and Vietnam War. Describing himself as a "military brat", Boortz lived in many locations throughout the country (including the small community of Thrall, Texas).[5] Boortz spent his first two years of High School at Tustin Union High School in Tustin, California. The family then moved to Florida. Boortz graduated from Pensacola High School, in 1963. He attended Texas A&M University, but did not graduate. Boortz states "I was in the Corps of Cadets. Fighting Seagram's Seven, to be exact"[6] Boortz then attended John Marshall Law School, in Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated in 1977 and subsequently passed the Georgia bar exam.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Neal Boortz makes his permanent home in Naples, Florida, spending a few months in Atlanta, Georgia. He lives with his wife, Donna, whom he calls "The Queen", and "My Bride." They have one married daughter, and a granddaughter. Boortz is an avid pilot and enjoys spending his free time playing golf or flying. He has said that "There's nothing like flying upside down to clear your mind ... among other things." Boortz owns a Mooney Ovation3 and a Super Decathlon.[8] He is also a motorcycle enthusiast.

Career path[edit]

Boortz began his radio career in College Station, Texas in the 1960s at WTAW-AM, under the name of Randy Neal, while attending Texas A&M University.[9][10] In 1967, after leaving Texas, Boortz moved to Atlanta and landed a sales job. For two years he worked at Rich's Department Store, where he sold jewelry and carpeting. He later recollected that one of his customers was Martin Luther King, Jr. During that time, Boortz was an avid listener of WRNG-AM, which called itself "Ring Radio", Atlanta's first talk radio station. He listened to their morning talk show host, Herb Elfman, and soon became a devotee. "Boortz bombarded Elfman with calls, reading him little scripts he'd scribbled."[11] While watching the news one evening, he heard that Elfman had committed suicide. The next morning, Boortz showed up at the front door of WRNG and announced that he was ready to take Elfman's place. Even though the management told him that "they were going to search for a 'qualified' host to take his place", Boortz was offered to be a temporary two-week replacement. In the interim, the evening host was moved to mornings and Boortz hosted the evening. Two weeks later, Boortz was moved to the morning show, embarking on an Atlanta talk radio career that spanned more than forty years.[7] Boortz honed his skills at the tiny 1,000-watt station, and even wrote a few speeches for then Georgia Governor Lester Maddox. He continued working at the station until 1974, when WRNG "dumped him". He worked briefly at a radio station in Schenectady, New York, but soon returned to Atlanta.[11]

In 1974, Boortz enrolled in then-unaccredited John Marshall Law School (Atlanta) going to class in his spare time, while he and his wife Donna worked full-time loading mail trucks. Boortz credits his wife with providing "the money to keep me in law school".[11] After graduating from law school in 1977, Boortz practiced law in a solo law firm from 1977 through 1993.[6] During that period, he divided his time between his law practice and work in radio. One of Boortz's clients was boxer Evander Holyfield. Holyfield later sued Boortz and other members of his management team in the aftermath of a failed Subaru dealership investment. Boortz told Atlanta Magazine "It had nothing to do with representing him as a boxer. It was settled and disappeared."[11] Some time later, in a heated on-air exchange between Atlanta mayor Bill Campbell and Boortz, Campbell remarked on the Holyfield relationship: Campbell (sarcastically): By the way, Neal, Evander Holyfield sends his regards ... We talked a little about how good he's doing now and the fact he's getting ready to open up his 57,000 square-foot, $20 million home. How he's fighting for $35 million a fight. I was sorta thinking about when you were representing him. He was living in an apartment over on Lenox Road. He was fighting for about $20,000 a fight. It's sort of interesting how your great legal skills have transferred into financial well-being for Evander ....[11] Boortz responded by calling mayor Campbell an "unethical son of a bitch". Boortz later remarked "It's the only time I've ever been on the air that I lost control."[11] In 1993, Boortz closed his law practice and devoted his full-time to his radio career.

Radio career[edit]

While in law school, Boortz returned to work at WRNG. In 1983 he moved to the larger news and talk radio station WGST. He later recounted how he would often go into work at his law office at 5:00am, work there for several hours, then go to WGST, and finally back to the law office until 11:00pm.[11] In 1992, Boortz asked WGST for a raise; a salary equal to his combined income as an attorney and a radio host. When WGST refused, Boortz left. He got his raise when he signed an exclusive contract with WSB to host a daily radio show. Shortly after that, he closed his law office. In 1995, Talkers Magazine named Boortz one of the "25 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America". That same year, Georgia Trend magazine added Boortz to its list of the "100 Most Powerful & Influential People in Georgia".[12][13]

"Don't believe anything you read on [the Neal Boortz] web page or, for that matter, anything you hear on The Neal Boortz Show unless it is consistent with what you already know to be true, or unless you have taken the time to research the matter to prove its accuracy to your own satisfaction."[7]

Neal Boortz

In 1999, his show became nationally syndicated through WSB's owner Cox Radio. The show originated in Atlanta. The Neal Boortz Show featured Boortz, producer Belinda Skelton, interviewees, and callers. On the air and on his website Boortz admonished his listeners to take no heed nor place any credence in anything he said, presenting himself as merely an "entertainer."[7] As an entertainer, Boortz was a 2002 NAB Marconi Radio Awards finalist and Radio & Records NewsTalk Personality of the Year for 2002.[14] NewsMax.com Magazine's "Top 25 Talk Radio Host" list selected Boortz as the ninth most influential host in the nation.[15]

In 2007, Boortz and his radio show were awarded "Best Radio On-Air Personality" and "Best Radio Program, Any Type" by The Georgia Association of Broadcasters. He was also a recipient of the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame 2007 Career Achievement Award.[16] The Neal Boortz Show originated from the nation's ninth (9th) largest radio market[17] and was ranked the sixth overall most listened to radio program in the country.[2] In 2008, Boortz was a finalist for the National Association of Broadcaster's "Marconi Award" as the nation's best syndicated radio personality (the award went to Glenn Beck).[18]

Boortz was inducted in the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2009.[19]

Author[edit]

Boortz on a book tour for Somebody's Gotta Say It

Boortz's first foray into authorship was in 1997 with The Commencement Speech You Need To Hear, in which he delivers his opinions on various topics in the form of a commencement speech he would give to new college graduates, if ever invited to do so.[3] His second book, entitled The Terrible Truth About Liberals, was published in 1998, and contains reprinted material from his first book, along with a significant amount of new material.[4]

His third book (co-authored by Georgia Congressman John Linder) entitled The FairTax Book, explains the proposal to implement a national retail sales tax in lieu of the federal income taxes, payroll taxes, estate tax, etc.[20] The hardcover version held the #1 non-fiction spot on the New York Times bestseller list for the last two weeks of August 2005 and remained in the top ten for seven weeks.[21] The paperback released in May 2006 contains additional information, an afterword and several revisions of misstatements made in the hardcover edition. It also spent several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.[21] Boortz claims to have donated 100% of his royalties from the FairTax book to charity and has commented on his radio show that he has not made one cent from the book.[22] As of July 2006, Boortz claims his charitable donations from book proceeds exceed one hundred thousand US dollars.[22] The book is one of his most frequent topics of discussion.

His fourth book entitled Somebody's Gotta Say It was released on February 20, 2007,[23] and debuted at #2 spot on the New York Times bestseller list, second only to Barack Obama's Audacity of Hope.[24] He occasionally writes columns on the Internet news/commentary site Townhall.com and other online magazines.

His latest book is titled FairTax: The Truth.[25] This book attempts to answer the critics of the Fair Tax proposal and claims to correct some of its myths and misrepresentations. It achieved #4 on the New York Times Best Seller list for the week of March 2, 2008 for paperback nonfiction.

Political beliefs[edit]

Neal Boortz speaks at a FairTax Rally in Orlando, Florida on July 28, 2006

Boortz is a self-described libertarian.[26][27] He advocates a complete overhaul of the U.S. tax system and the release of all non-violent drug offenders who are currently in prison. He has supported Republican candidates and Republican tax policy, though he occasionally clashes with Republicans on social issues.[26] Others describe his political views as being more in line with "republitarian" philosophy that embraces incrementalism domestically, and a generally interventionist foreign policy based on self-interest, national defense and the expansion of freedom.[20][28] Boortz disagrees with the Libertarian Party platform on several key issues including his firm support of the war in Iraq,[28] incremental tax reform,[20] and his opposition to the unrestricted immigration policy advocated by the Libertarian Party.

Boortz criticizes the major parties saying "I believe that the principal difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats just want to grow our Imperial Federal Government a bit faster than the Republicans do."[8] He sides with liberals on some social issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and civil liberties.[23] He agrees with fiscal conservatives in advocating less government spending and decreasing corporate regulation. He is an advocate for freedom of speech. In line with the traditional views of the Libertarian Party, Boortz supports eliminating the War on Drugs, and emphasizing personal responsibility.[23] He has repeatedly stated his belief that global climate change is not man-made. His stances on many of these issues make him popular among conservative Republicans, who, due to their larger numbers in comparison to Libertarians, make up the majority of his listeners and callers.[citation needed]

Boortz's post-9/11 platforms include support for the US-led War on Terror, a more aggressive foreign policy,[28] and the USA Patriot Act. He is also strongly in favor of a crackdown on illegal immigration, including harsh penalties for businesses who employ persons here illegally. These views occasionally put him in conflict with the Libertarian Party. Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com has called Boortz a "statist, not a libertarian" and a "liberventionist" and has urged the Libertarian Party to "Boot Boortz".[29]

Prior to the 2006 midterm elections, Boortz opined that perhaps it would be a good thing to have the Republicans lose power in Congress, forcing them to wake up and stop taking their base for granted. Boortz told one disgruntled caller:

I am happy about it [the defeat]. It's the only way to get these Republicans to wake themselves up and say, 'You have abandoned what you were put in office for.'[30]

Boortz creates controversy among conservatives for his support of abortion rights (on which Boortz does not allow calls), for his refusal to condemn homosexuality or gay marriage,[23][31] and for his negative comments regarding Baptists and the biblical story of creation. Although he calls himself a Christian, he keeps his religious views private.[23] He has also caused a stir among some Southerners, by coining the term "Flaggots" during his frequent jabs at them and at Confederate issues (such as governmental support of the Confederate flag).[32]

The Neal Boortz Show[edit]

The Neal Boortz Show
Genre Talk show
Running time 8:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Eastern Time
Monday–Friday
Country United States
Language(s) English
Home station News/Talk WSB / Atlanta, Ga
Syndicates Cox Radio Syndication / Dial Global
Host(s) Neal Boortz
Starring Neal Boortz
Producer(s) Cox Radio

The Neal Boortz Show was a nationally syndicated talk show, which ended in January 2013. It aired live from 8:30am to noon, weekdays.[9] Boortz routinely criticized politicians, Muslim extremism,[33] the homeless, public schools (which he called 'government schools'), liberals, opponents of the Iraq war, teachers, smokers, the obese, Chevrolet Camaro drivers, cats, and welfare recipients. On air, Boortz referred to himself as an "equal opportunity offender".

Boortz marketed his talk radio show as "insensitivity training", creating controversy which increased ratings. His stated "beliefs" included a claim that ADD and ADHD are "medical frauds" and a scam that teachers, parents, and drug companies use.[34][35] His attempts at controversy included referring to homeless people as "urban outdoorsmen" on air, [36][37][38] and called public education "taxpayer-funded child abuse".[38] Specific targets of criticism included Christian conservatives, Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Max Cleland, and Cynthia McKinney[39] He also expressed a negative opinion about the lack of Muslim outrage for the actions of Muslim terrorists and the riots that erupted in response to the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy.[40] Islamic extremism was a favorite topic.[41]

Some of his outlandish remarks got him in trouble. After the Virginia Tech shootings, Boortz criticized the media, saying, "When the history of this event is written, we will have 25 students standing meekly waiting for this guy to execute them."[42] When public outrage resulted from his comments, members of the Virginia Legislature tried to have Boortz's show removed from local radio stations.[43] In March 2008, Boortz attracted controversy by playing an audiotape of a nine-year-old where he repeatedly ridiculed the child’s speech,[44] leading to an unsuccessful FCC petition to deny Boortz’s employer the right to purchase five local radio stations.[45][46][47]

Boortz announced his retirement from radio on June 4, 2012. His last live show aired on January 18, 2013. Boortz's regular fill-in host, Herman Cain, replaced him on January 21, 2013, in what accounted to a swap of seats, as Boortz now is Cain's fill-in host.[48] Boortz stated he would host commentaries for WSB and national syndication, and also substitute for Sean Hannity, whose show airs on WSB in Atlanta, when needed in addition to being Cain's fill-in.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Neal Boortz". Townhall.com. 
  2. ^ a b "The Top Talk Radio Audiences". Talkers Magazine. 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2008-10-15. 
  3. ^ a b Boortz, Neal (1997). The Commencement Speech You Need To Hear (Hardcover ed.). Longstreet Press. ISBN 978-1-56352-434-9. 
  4. ^ a b Boortz, Neal (1998). The Terrible Truth About Liberals (Paperback ed.). Longstreet Press. ISBN 1-56352-685-9. 
  5. ^ Boortz, Neal (2003-03-23). "Thrall Volunteer Fire Department". Nealz Nuze. Cox Radio. Retrieved 2006-12-15. 
  6. ^ a b Boortz, Neal. "More Boortz FAQ". More Boortz. Cox Radio. Archived from the original on 2006-03-02. Retrieved 2006-03-08. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Neal Boortz Bio". Premiere Speakers Bureau. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  8. ^ a b "Neal Boortz". 580wdbo.com. Archived from the original on November 13, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  9. ^ a b Boortz, Neal. "More Boortz Bio". More Boortz. Cox Radio. Archived from the original on 2006-03-02. Retrieved 2006-03-08. 
  10. ^ "Neal Boortz Bio". Soylent Communications/nndb.com. Retrieved 2007-09-06. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g "Neal Boortz-Have Mouth Will Talk". Atlanta Magazine. July 1, 1998. Retrieved October 9, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Elder, Boortz, and McWilliams round out Convention '98 line-up". Archived from the original on July 3, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-04. 
  13. ^ "Chirac Appeals for Calm as Paris Suburbs Endure Sixth Night of Violence". Retrieved 2007-03-04. 
  14. ^ "Neal Boortz". Cox Radio Interactive & Cox Radio. Retrieved 2006-08-16. 
  15. ^ "25 Most Influential Talk Radio Hosts (2006)". NewsMax. 2006. Archived from the original on October 24, 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-16. 
  16. ^ "Neal Boortz accepts his award from Pete Spriggs, WSB Program Director", www.grhof.com. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
  17. ^ "Atlanta Moves Ahead of DC in Fall 2007 Market Rankings". RADIO ONLINE and Arbitron. 2007-09-20. Retrieved 2007-09-21. [dead link]
  18. ^ "Glenn Beck Named Network/Syndicated Personality Of The Year", www.nab.org. Retrieved 2008-12-28.[dead link]
  19. ^ "Radio Hall of Fame inductees: Neal Boortz", www.radiohof.org/
  20. ^ a b c Boortz, Neal; Linder, John (2006). The FairTax Book: Saying Goodbye to the Income Tax and the IRS (Paperback ed.). Regan Books. ISBN 0-06-087549-6. 
  21. ^ a b Matt Kempner, "The FairTax Book author from Atlanta is pumping up volume on sales of book." Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 20, 2005.
  22. ^ a b Boortz, Neal (2005-09-07). "Nealz Nuze". Cox Radio. Retrieved 2006-08-07. 
  23. ^ a b c d e Boortz, Neal (2007). Somebody's Gotta Say It (Paperback ed.). Regan Books. ISBN 0-06-087820-7. 
  24. ^ Ho, Rodney (2005-09-07). "3/1: Boortz debuts at No. 2 (UPDATED)". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Archived from the original on March 2, 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-28. 
  25. ^ Boortz, Neal; Linder, John (2008). The FairTax: The Truth (Paperback ed.). Regan Books. ISBN 978-0-06-154046-2. 
  26. ^ a b Johnston, Joy. "Neal Boortz Atlanta Celebrity Profile". About.com. Retrieved 2007-09-14. [dead link]
  27. ^ Boortz, Neal (2006-10-04). "Following Up On Yesterday's Tirade". Nealz Nuze. Cox Radio. Retrieved 2006-10-05. 
  28. ^ a b c Boortz, Neal (2003-11-24). "Just What Is The Problem With Pre-Emptive Warfare". Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  29. ^ Raimondo, Justin (2003-11-26). "Boot Boortz!". Antiwar.com. Retrieved 2006-08-16. 
  30. ^ Bigg, Matthew (2006-11-09). "Talk radio hosts lick election wounds". Reuters. Retrieved 2006-11-09. [dead link]
  31. ^ Boortz, Neal (2006-06-05). "That Bush .. He's Really In Touch, Isn't He?". Cox Radio. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  32. ^ Scroggins, Steve. "Strange bedfellows:the ACLU, Neal Boortz & Cobb County police". GeorgiaHeritageCouncil.org. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  33. ^ Boortz, Neal (2003-10-21). "Democrats abandon America". World Net Daily. Retrieved 2007-08-03. 
  34. ^ Boortz, Neal (2003-05-29). "For Those Of You Who Are Drugging Your Kids". Nealz Nuze. Cox Radio. Retrieved 2006-12-15. 
  35. ^ Boortz, Neal (2003-07-18). "Ask Your Doctor About Stratteras". Nealz Nuze. Cox Radio. Retrieved 2006-12-15. 
  36. ^ Boortz, Neal. "The Neal Boortz Commencement Speech". More Boortz. Cox Radio. Archived from the original on 2006-11-11. Retrieved 2006-12-15. 
  37. ^ Boortz, Neal (2003-10-06). "California Hasn't Been Punished Enough". Nealz Nuze. Cox Radio. Retrieved 2006-12-15. 
  38. ^ a b Boortz, Neal. "Boortztionary: A Glossary of Terms Neal Uses". More Boortz. Cox Radio. Archived from the original on 2006-12-06. Retrieved 2006-12-15. 
  39. ^ Boortz, Neal (2006-04-03). "An Apology". Nealz Nuze. Cox Radio. Retrieved 2006-08-16. 
  40. ^ Boortz, Neal (2006-02-03). "Outraged Muslims! Oh My!". Nealz Nuze. Cox Radio. Retrieved 2006-08-16. 
  41. ^ "Boortz: Say the creed of Islam". MsUnderestimated. 2006-08-10. Retrieved 2006-10-02. 
  42. ^ Steinberg, Jacques. The New York Times. 2007/04/20. Talk Radio Tries for Humor and a Political Advantage Retrieved 2008/08/06
  43. ^ Gangloff, Mike. The Roanoke Times. 2007/05/02. Radio stations report little outcry about Boortz Retrieved 2008/08/06.
  44. ^ Burnett, Daniel.The Voice, Gainesville State College. [1] Boortz’s Morals Challenged by GSC Professor. Retrieved 2008/08/04
  45. ^ Nelson, Don. Athens Banner-Herald. 2008/06/12 [2] Feds sign off on sale of stations Retrieved 2008/08/06
  46. ^ Federal Communications Commission. 2008/06/10. Daily Report. Retrieved 2008/08/04
  47. ^ Federal Communications Commission. 2008/06/10. Complaint letter. Retrieved 2008/08/04
  48. ^ Poor, Jeff (June 4, 2012). Confirmed: Boortz to retire, Cain to take over radio show [AUDIO]. The Daily Caller. Retrieved June 4, 2012.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]