Longtime Nashville TV sports anchor and radio personality Mark Howard dies at 65

Longtime Nashville, Tennessee, sportscaster and radio personality Mark Howard died at his home Sunday, according to his wife Debra. He was 65.

In 2018, The Tennessean included Howard, whose real name was Howard Mark Levenson, in its top 60 over 60 list of sports figures who were still working.

Howard, a native of West Hartford, Connecticut, became one of the most popular sports anchors in Nashville during the 20-plus years he spent at NewsChannel 5.

"My heart's broken," said retired NewsChannel 5 sports director Hope Hines. "I've lost one of my best and dearest friends. He was more like a son to me and he felt the same way, I was a father-like figure in many ways to him. I'm heartbroken for Jack his son, and Debra. He was a great, great talent."

SPORTS NEWSLETTER: Sign up now for daily updates sent to your inbox

Howard transitioned to radio in the early 2000s as host of a local political talk show.

In 2004, Howard returned to sports when he became co-host of the "Wake Up Zone" on The Zone 104.5-FM along with Kevin Ingram and former Tennessee Titan Frank Wycheck.

The show eventually became the No. 1-rated show in Nashville and among the top in the country and dominated morning drive for many years.

Howard and Ingram left the show in 2020. Howard spent a total of 21 years employed by The Zone.

“It’s been a great run. The (Wake Up Zone) show ran for 16 years with me and Kevin,” Howard said at the time. “They were some of the best years of my life. I’ve got nothing really but good things to say about my experiences there.”

Ingram said Howard was influential in bringing him to The Zone.

"I loved working with Mark, but the thing about Mark was that he was a great friend," Ingram said. "There weren't many people who were more supportive of me or my career than Mark. He was always very encouraging and gave good advice. There aren't too many people you'll find who were more knowledgeable about sports than Mark. It was almost scary how much he knew, especially about baseball."

This past year Howard worked as a part-time host at The Game 102.5-FM.

Howard also spent many years as host of a Tennessee Titans postgame show and as co-host of the Predators pregame and postgame shows.

Reach Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 or on Twitter @MikeOrganWriter.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Nashville sports anchor and radio personality Mark Howard dies at 65