Originally posted Friday, March 15, 2019 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Within a matter of a few months, he more than doubled Graham’s ratings and quickly built a loyal following.
Unfortunately, Atlanta-based Cumulus Media recently announced it was selling several stations to Christian broadcasters Education Media Foundation. Assuming the deal clears the Federal Communications Commission with no complications, what is now called Talk 106.7 will become a K-Love Christian music syndicated station by the summer.
In the meantime, Cumulus is keeping the talk format at 106.7 for at least the next two to three months. That means the pending end of jobs for Burke, Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson and relative newcomers Shelley Wynter and Mike Brooks. Yet they keep doing their shows every day while simultaneously hunting for new jobs.
“I’m feeling a little stress,” said Burke over lunch earlier this week at Uncle Julio’s. And he also feels wistful about what might have been.
“I really wanted to see this station succeed,” he said. “We gave WSB a run for its money.” (WSB never appeared to be threatened by Talk 106.7/WYAY during its six-year run. In January, WSB was No. 1 with a 7.9 share while Talk 106.7 ranked 23rd with a 1.2)
On the bright side, he is still under contract and will receive a decent severance. Plus, if he finds a job in Atlanta, Cumulus will not enforce his non-compete clause.
He conveyed no bitterness. He knows this was purely a business move, that it was nothing personal.
Kara Stockton, his sidekick, said she’d love to stick with Burke but hopes he can stay local since she has family here.
Burke said he has some possible bites in other markets and a streaming opportunity that would keep him in Atlanta. But he said he has done his own streaming operation before and it’s a lot of work. “We have a studio. We have a platform,” he said. “It’s whether we are ready to bite the bullet.”
The advantage of working for a company such as Cumulus is Burke doesn’t have to worry about infrastructure, sales, HR, payroll, engineering or IT. He just has to focus on creating a great show.
“I prefer to go to work, do my best show, see ya and go home,” he said. “That’s the way it is now.”
He has an agent Eric Weiss helping him hunt for a job. “It’s all timing,” Stockton said.
Burke said his kids are now in school. “I can go where the work is,” he said. “If the work is in Alpharetta and we’re streaming, so be it.”
And while his show is quite different from that of the Kimmer, they became good friends. “We went to Medieval Times last weekend,” he said. “He’s old and funny. Totally anti technology. He doesn’t even know how to use his phone!”
Burke said there is one advantage to the fact he knows there’s an end to the show coming soon: “I can push the envelope more than ever.”
To him, that means “getting further away from innuendo to the real thing you’re trying to say.”
“Reverse innuendo,” Stockton cracked.
What Burke notices lately that they will address a serious topic and get no calls but when they discuss something silly or relatively inconsequential, the listeners call in in droves.
“We’re ‘Seinfeld’ on radio,” Stockton mused. “It’s about nothing.”
“I think there’s a real Trump fatigue or political fatigue setting in,” Burke said. “I love talking politics but even I don’t want to sometimes.”
Burke, who was a successful radio host in Florida before coming to Atlanta, is happy that he will get to say goodbye to his listeners, something that he has never had a chance to do in the past on other radio stations. “I am not putting my career to bed,” he said. “I hope people who listen to us now will find us wherever we go.”
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