Armstrong Williams
Born (1962-02-05) February 5, 1962 (age 62)
EducationSouth Carolina State University, (B.S.)
Occupation(s)TV host, nationally syndicated columnist, political activist, and entrepreneur
Political partyRepublican Edit this at Wikidata

Armstrong Williams (born February 5, 1962) is an American political commentator, entrepreneur, author, and talk show host. Williams writes a nationally syndicated conservative newspaper column, has hosted a daily radio show, and hosts a nationally syndicated television program called The Armstrong Williams Show. He is the owner of Howard Stirk Holdings, a media company affiliated with Sinclair Broadcasting that has purchased numerous television stations. Williams is a longtime associate of former HUD Secretary and 2016 presidential candidate Ben Carson. With David D. Smith, he is part-owner of The Baltimore Sun.

Early life and career

One of ten children, Armstrong Williams was born on February 5, 1962, to Thelma Howard Williams and James Williams, in Marion, South Carolina. Williams was reared on the family's 200-acre tobacco farm. Graduating in 1981 from South Carolina State University, he received his BA in Political Science and English. He is a life member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.[1]

Williams served as a confidential assistant to the chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (and future Supreme Court Justice) Clarence Thomas,[citation needed] a presidential appointee to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and a legislative aide and advisor to U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond.[2]

Williams is the cousin of South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney, who was a victim of the Charleston church shooting.[3]

Media career


In 1998, Williams united with The Salem Radio Network, which syndicated his national radio show to 26 of the top radio markets in the country. In 2002, he reunited with the Newark-based Talk America Radio Network. Williams joined the lineup at WWRL 1600 AM in March 2005 as co-host with Sam Greenfield on Drive Time Dialogue.[4]

Williams began hosting a nightly talk show in 2008 on XM Satellite Radio Power 128 (now SiriusXM Urban View) called The Armstrong Williams Show.[5]


Williams was hired as a political analyst by Sinclair Broadcasting Group for its News Central program.[6]

From 2002 to 2005, Williams hosted On Point with Armstrong Williams on cable network TVOne.[citation needed]

Williams hosts a syndicated television show called The Armstrong Williams Show.[7] Previous shows hosted by Williams include The Right Side Forum[8] and The Right Side with Armstrong Williams.[9][10]

Syndicated column

Williams writes a syndicated column.[11]

Howard Stirk Holdings

Howard Stirk Holdings, LLC
Company typePrivate
IndustryBroadcast media
FoundedApril 11, 2013; 11 years ago (2013-04-11)
FounderArmstrong Williams
Washington D.C.
OwnerArmstrong Williams
ParentSinclair Broadcast Group

On November 25, 2013, Williams was involved in the purchase of two television stations as part of a larger $370 million acquisition of Barrington Broadcasting by Sinclair Broadcast Group. Howard Stirk Holdings, which Williams owns, was given ownership over NBC affiliate WEYI-TV in FlintSaginawBay City, Michigan, and CW affiliate WWMB in Myrtle BeachFlorence, South Carolina. The name of the company came from Williams's mother's middle name (Howard), and his father's middle name (Stirk).[12] Both stations remain operated by Sinclair under a local marketing agreement, which resulted in allegations that the company was simply acting as a "sidecar" of Sinclair to skirt FCC ownership rules. Williams defended the allegations, noting that he had full control over the stations' programming and received the majority of their revenue.[13]

On December 4, 2014, the FCC approved the transfer of station licenses for WMMP, Charleston, South Carolina, WCFT-TV, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and WJSU-TV, Anniston, Alabama, from Sinclair to Howard Stirk Holdings. Under the arrangement, HSH would operate their future acquisitions as an independent broadcaster, forgoing agreements with third parties.[13][14][15] On January 28, 2015, Intermountain West Communications Company filed to sell KVMY to Howard Stirk Holdings.[16] The transaction was finalized on October 30.[17] Howard Stirk Holdings revealed in its January 2015 application to purchase Las Vegas station KVMY that it again planned to acquire the WLYH-TV license from Nexstar Broadcasting Group; that sale was completed on November 12, 2015.[18] These transactions made Williams the largest African-American owner of television stations in the United States at the time.[13] In 2019, Byron Allen surpassed Williams with his purchase of most of the assets of Heartland Media.[19]

On April 24, 2018, Sinclair announced that as part of its merger with Tribune Media, Howard Stirk Holdings would acquire the Sinclair-owned KUNS-TV in Seattle and KMYU in St. George, Utah, as well as the Tribune-owned KAUT-TV in Oklahoma City.[20] This transaction was canceled once the Tribune deal collapsed in August 2018.[citation needed]

Stations currently owned by Howard Stirk Holdings
City of license / market Station
  • Owned
  • since
Primary network affiliation
AnnistonTuscaloosaBirmingham, Alabama WGWW 40 (9) 2015 H&I
WSES 33 (33) 2015 H&I
SaginawFlint, Michigan WEYI-TV 1 25 (30) 2013 NBC
Las Vegas, Nevada KHSV 21 (2) 2015 MeTV
LebanonLancasterYorkHarrisburg, Pennsylvania WXBU 15 (23) 2015 TBD
Charleston, South Carolina WGWG 4 (34) 2015 MeTV
FlorenceMyrtle Beach, South Carolina WWMB 1 21 (21) 2013 Dabl

'No Child Left Behind' controversy

In January 2005, USA Today reported that documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that Williams had been paid $240,000 to promote the controversial No Child Left Behind Act. USA Today reported that Williams was hired "to promote the law on his nationally syndicated television show and to urge other black journalists to do the same."[21] As part of the agreement, Williams was required "to regularly comment on NCLB during the course of his broadcasts", and to interview Education Secretary Rod Paige for TV and radio spots that aired during the show in 2004.[22] The contract with Williams was part of a $950,000 contract between the U.S. Department of Education and the public relations company Ketchum Inc.[23]

After the USA Today revelations, Tribune Media Services (TMS) terminated its syndication agreement with Williams. In a statement to Editor & Publisher (E&P), TMS stated: "[A]ccepting compensation in any form from an entity that serves as a subject of his weekly newspaper columns creates, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Under these circumstances, readers may well ask themselves if the views expressed in his columns are his own, or whether they have been purchased by a third party."[24] In response, Williams initially told E&P that he intended self-syndicate his column.[25] E&P contacted 10 newspapers listed as clients on Williams's website to ask if they would continue to carry the column; the majority stated that they would not.[25] Williams later told the Associated Press the following: "Even though I'm not a journalist—I'm a commentator—I feel I should be held to the media ethics standard. My judgment was not the best. I wouldn't do it again, and I learned from it."[26]

On September 30, 2005, the Government Accountability Office released a report concluding that the Department of Education had acted illegally in making the payments because the government's role in the public relations effort was not disclosed.[27]

Sexual harassment settlements

Williams has settled sexual harassment lawsuits, one in 1997[28] and another in 2017.[29]

Political, business, and charitable activities

Williams is a longtime associate of HUD Secretary Ben Carson[30] and was an influential surrogate during Carson's 2016 presidential campaign.[31]

He is a national board member of the Carson Scholars Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization.[32][better source needed]

In 2004, Williams was appointed by President George W. Bush to the President's Commission on White House Fellows, which chooses White House Fellows.[33]

In 2021, Williams received an honorary doctorate degree from South Carolina State University.[34]

Williams is also founder and CEO of the Graham Williams Group, an international marketing, advertising, and media public relations consulting firm.[35]

See also

Books by Williams

In 2022, Armstrong Williams co-authored a book titled Crisis in the Classroom. [36]


  1. ^ "ΦΒΣ Brother & Commentator Armstrong Williams acquires TV station".
  2. ^ "Equal Employment Opportunity Commission". Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  3. ^ "Mass killings of Americans backfire on evil, hate, fear". The Washington Times. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  4. ^ "WNEW PROGRAMMER: WE'VE FOUND OUR NICHE". March 14, 2005. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  5. ^ "Urban View - African-American Talk". Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  6. ^ Boehlert, Eric (January 12, 2005). "No pundit left behind". Salon. Salon Media Group, Inc. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  7. ^ "Conservative Channel 8 Host Armstrong Williams Talks Mayoral Politics, Race, Gentrification, and Guns". Washington City Paper. September 13, 2017.
  8. ^ "'The Right Side Forum' with Armstrong Williams visits with journalists Judy Woodruff and Al Hunt". The Washington Times.
  9. ^ "Armstrong Williams - Author". PBS NewsHour.
  10. ^ "Armstrong Williams: Giving Back to the Industry He Loves - Business - NewsUSA Copyright-Free Articles".
  11. ^ Gonzales, Nathan L. (December 3, 2014). "Draft Ben Carson Group Complicates Potential Presidential Campaign" – via
  12. ^ "Howard Stirk Holdings". Armstrong Williams. Archived from the original on December 6, 2017. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  13. ^ a b c "Armstrong Williams becomes largest black owner of TV stations in America". The Washington Times. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  14. ^ "Making Good on the Promise of Independent Minority Ownership of Television Stations". Federal Communications Commission (FCC). December 4, 2014. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  15. ^ "FCC Broadcast Actions". Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  16. ^ "Application For Consent To Assignment Of Broadcast Station Construction Permit Or License". CDBS Public Access. Federal Communications Commission. January 28, 2015. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  17. ^ Consummation Notice CDBS Public Access, Federal Communications Commission, Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  18. ^ "Consummation Notice - Federal Communications Commission". Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  19. ^ Cynthia Littleton (October 1, 2019). "Byron Allen Buys 11 TV Stations for $290 Million". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  20. ^ Eggerton, John (April 24, 2018). "Sinclair Boosts Spin-Offs in Re-Filed Deal". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  21. ^ " - Education Dept. paid commentator to promote law". Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  22. ^ " - Education Dept. paid commentator to promote law".
  23. ^ O'Brien, Timothy L. (February 13, 2005). "Spinning Frenzy: P.R.'s Bad Press". The New York Times.
  24. ^ Astor, Dave (January 7, 2005). "Armstrong Williams' Column Axed by TMS". Editor & Publisher. Archived from the original on January 13, 2005. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
  25. ^ a b Astor, Dave (January 10, 2005). "Several Papers Nix Self-Syndicated Armstrong Williams Column". Editor & Publisher. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
  26. ^ "Journalist was paid to push Bush education plan". January 8, 2005. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  27. ^ "CNN coverage". Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  28. ^ Wemple, Erik (October 2, 2016). "In court filing, Armstrong Williams admits to lurid sexual comments". Washington Post. Retrieved November 5, 2021.
  29. ^ Wemple, Erik. "Armstrong Williams sexual harassment case ends in settlement". Washington Post. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  30. ^ Schwartz, Jason (June 13, 2018). "Armstrong Williams got 'sweetheart' deal from Sinclair". POLITICO.
  31. ^ Segal, Cheryl (August 17, 2015). "The man behind Ben Carson". TheHill.
  32. ^ "Our People". Carson Scholars Fund.
  33. ^ "White House Fellowships: Commission Members". Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  34. ^ "NBC25 owner Armstrong Williams receives honorary degree from SC State University". May 10, 2021.
  35. ^ "THE GRAHAM WILLIAMS GROUP | Right Side Wire". Archived from the original on May 3, 2013. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  36. ^ "Crisis in the Classroom: Crisis in Education".

Further reading