April 5, 2009


Veteran broadcaster Howard Clark dies

By John Andrew Prime

Veteran broadcaster Howard Clark, who settled in Shreveport after a career that spanned from coast to coast, died early today after a sudden bout with lung cancer. He was 70.

"Howard was only diagnosed a week ago," said friend and fellow broadcaster Dani Coates, who until recently worked with Cumulus in Shreveport.

Stations Clark worked at in a career that covered the better part of five decades ranged from WKY in Oklahoma City, WTIX in New Orleans and KFRC and KYA in San Francisco to WWDJ in Hackensack, N.J. and a large handful of Shreveport stations, including KVKI, KEEL/KITT/KVKI, KSYR and KLKL.

Clark retired from broadcasting in 2006, telling friends "it was a fun ride but it's time to do nothing and enjoy Lake Highland in Louisiana."

Clark was one of the first broadcasters to put the new breed of psychedelic rock bands in San Francisco on the air, and at times acted more zany than some of the bands that were making names for themselves by doing "on the edge" things.

"I hate to admit it, but it was I who totally demolished the Jag XKE while working at KFRC San Francisco in 1967-68," he reminisced online to friends not too long ago.

"It was the one to be given away on the air. Afterwards, I was tortured by all the other jocks on the air. Mike Phillips even talked the engineers into running drops between Bill Drake’s intro and other recorded liners that 'shamed' me for my deed! Les Turpin had just replaced Tom Rounds and when he heard about me destroying the car, slammed his fist into a wall at his country club, breaking his wrist."

But Clark's antic made the daily papers, giving his slot and station good press, so he was forgive, kind of.

"If Herb Caen had not run it in his Monday morning column as the feature story, I might not have been able to get a job even now in Shreveport," Clark said.

"He was my mentor, and a true friend," said Gary Robinson, program director and promotions manager with Cumulus Media in Shreveport. "I miss hearing that booming voice on the other end of the phone already."

Clark is survived by a sister, Rachel Barmore and her husband, Leon; brother Tommy Clark and wife, Lynda; daughter Sonya Sales and her husband, Dean; daughter Geyna Hinds and husband, Allen; daughter Natalie Gill and husband, Bobby; daugher Shawn Butcher; and seven grandchildren.

Funeral and memorial services are pending, Coates said.