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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Gary Burbank Signing Off

To quote Earl Pitts: You know what makes me sick?
The thought of not hearing Gary Burbank on the airwaves after this year. Burbank, who turns 66 in July, says he's definitely retiring when his contract four-year contract expires Dec. 31.
Yes, several times before, I've written stories saying Burbank planned to retire. But this time he's not fooling. Or as he put it: "Dis time I'm being honest wit you," in the words of the Big Fat Balding Guy, one of his characters.
Here's the link to my story:

So here's my question today: Who is your favorite Burbank character and why? What's your favorite Burbank bit? There are so many to choose from: Earl Pitts, Gilbert Gnarley, All My Bengals, Sports or Consequences, The Synonymous Bengal, Reds & The Restless, Dan Buckles, Eunice & Bernice, Big Fat Balding Guy, Senseless Surveys, Blues Break with Howlin' Blind Muddy Slim, etc.


at 3/07/2007 12:53 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, can you please rename the blog as "Media" or "Local Media"?

There are so many comments about off-topic posts, but this entire blog seems to have gone off topic.

The title is "Television," but you post radio threads about 75% of the time lately.

Back on topic, I wonder if Burbank is really retiring or if CheapChannel didn't want to pay for him anymore.

at 3/07/2007 1:03 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

FWIW, I thought one of the all time funniest Burbank moments was the day he explained how he was actually getting credit card apps at the station addressed to Gilbert, so he went out and used a few of them to charge it up, then called the credit card company to try as Gilbert to explain that he was a fictional character. He spent the call alternating between Gilbert and Gary, and it was hilarious.

Another Gilbert, the time he called Poison control to tell them that Milan flatts had switched nitroglycerin for his B Vitamins, and told him he would explode if he made any sdden moves. Of course the guy told him that wouldn't happen, so in typical Gilbert fashion, he starts jumping up and down, and all of a sudden, BOOM! followed by Mialn flatts in the background saying "Uh-Oh!". You could then hear the guy talking to his supervisor telling him Gilbert just exploded! I remember he actually had to call the poor guy back and assure him that it was a gag and nothing happened.
One of my favorite Earl Pitts had to be the one where he was talking about race car drivers, and how Mario Andretti was doing two hundred mph coming out of turn four at Indy, holding the wheel with one knee while he had a cup of 7-Eleven coffe in one hand and was finding a good song on the radio with the other.
Last one, anyone remember Tad Gnarley, Gilbert's gay nephew? Remember when he called the truck driving school to ask about whether there were many gay truck drivers? The person on the other end asked him how was his driving record, and he responded without missing a beat "I've had a few REAR-ENDERS!"
Garish will truly be missed in this community. He is one of the last links to the hey day of radio and today's generation doesn't have a clue how good the good old days really were.

at 3/07/2007 1:29 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I so agree with the poster who says most have no idea about the heyday of radio and what a gift Burbank is to the community. Sure things changed when DOC left, but if you have listened to what radio has become, putrid mean spirited junk on BOTH sides of the political arena, Gary is a WONDERFUL DISTRACTION.

I loved so many Gilbert bits..the KY jelly...the one where he called somebody about 15 years ago and the person answering the phone knew it was "Gary" and he was many funny Gilbers.

The God and Lawn Care story. PRICELESS and needs to be on his website 24/7.

After 20 some years, I still love SPORTS or Consequences and when working would try to catch it on a late lunch or after work...That show STILL makes me smile just hearing the theme song.

I also LOVE TAD GNARLEY! Needs to bring him back more often.

I LOVE Marge calling from Heaven although Duke has almost ruined that bit with too much grotesque coughing from Marge...other than that, that's a terrific bit and I loved the Marge bits when she was here on earth as well.

I love it when Gary gets so tickled over something Duke or somebody says, he can't stop giggling (or is he hitting his cough switch ! :-) )

HEYWOOD BANKS is a great pop in guest as well.

I love how they have added freshness to the show with "TOP SIX" and the theme song written by one of his staff is a catchy tune.

I almost cry when I think of NO MORE GARY and some other angry right winged or left winged guy, to take over.

I am not a fan of the bathroom,sex, adolescent humor of syndicated shows like Bob and Tom...Gary goes there sometimes but is usually more creative then the cheapness of such shows.

It makes me sad and I wonder too if he would like to stay part time or cut back or if indeed, Clear Channel is cleaning house. They have certainly let go of enough people.

Gary, some of us really love you and will miss you and after 20 some years can NOT imagine how I shall fill the hours from 3-6 without your dulcet tones and laughter in the background.


Sophia in Fairfield

p.s. I guess we can only imagine there will be more Howard Stern wannabe's taking over the radio after Gary is gone. He might have been satire but was NEVER CRUEL.

how many comedians OR talk radio guys can you say THAT about today.

at 3/07/2007 1:33 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 12:53, Geez, you are small-minded! John is the Television AND Radio critic for the Cincinnati Enquirer. Most of us have a high enough IQ to understand that the Television blog is John Kiesewetter's blog. For you and the rest of the single digit IQ mouth breathing knuckle draggers, that is why they splash John's picture on the top left side. Its kind of a clue that the blog you are on is John's, and therefore both radio and TV topics are likely to follow. Instead of crying about his blog title, why don't you go start one of your own, and you can post whatever you want on it.

at 3/07/2007 1:46 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 12:53.....who cares. Why would it bother you what the blog is called? You know and I know what the blog is about. Who cares what it is called.

As Earl would say....You know what makes me sick? People who worry about things that are so inconsequential that it ruins their day. I am doing it too.

God Speed Gary! You are a radio hall of famer to be and represent what is good about the business. Not many of you left. Jerry Thomas has signed off. When Jim Scott retires, that will pretty much about do it. Enjoy corporate radio...I am phasing it from my listening habits!

at 3/07/2007 2:22 PM Blogger Brad said...

I liked the Gilbert skit where he called the KY Jelly company to compliment them on their "Kentucky" jelly and how good it was on toast.

at 3/07/2007 3:00 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is it with the people on this blog with an ax to grind...I don't get it. Drink prune juice or take metamucil. Anyway, clearly in my mind:

1...Senseless Surveys
2...Gilbert Gnarley
3...All My Bengals
4...Reds & The Restless
5...Eunice & Bernice
6...Dan Buckles
7...The Synonymous Bengal
8...Earl Pitts
9...Big Fat Balding Guy
10...Sports or Consequences
11...Blues Break with Howlin'
Blind Muddy Slim

at 3/07/2007 3:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gary Burbank is my favorite "character".

at 3/07/2007 3:26 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

what about the Gilbert where he called the condom company saying he had gotten some of their product out of the bathroom at the gas station, and wanted to say it wasn't a very flavorful chewing gum. The girl tells him what he is really chewing on (you could hear a sound the whole time like someone chewing on a rubber band), and Gilbert says "Ugh! you mean I am chewing on a CONDOM!?!? I guess that explains why every time I blew a bubble, it was ribbed for her pleasure with a reservoir tip...."

at 3/07/2007 3:29 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a bit Gary used to do back during the First Gulf War, called the Kuwaiti Doon-Boonies. President Bush was "Mr. Bushdale", instead of Uncle Jed, we had "Uncle Ji-had", we had Ali-May instead of Ellie May, and Jethro Bedouin instead of Bodeen. That was a funny, funny bit.

at 3/07/2007 8:29 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the powers to be want to do this properly (and they probably won't-based on all past experiences), WLW should rehire J. Kevin Wolff. He's one of the few people who would be able carry on the ratings and popularity with that 3 hour time block.

I don't want another 3 hours of Bill Cunningham or Sportstalk.

I like Burbank's show because of Kevin's bits, variety in humor (without the blatant cigarette-smoke filled laughtrack from Bob & Tom), Sports or Consequences, Stump the Band (the only live music on a 50,000 watt station in town) and Gilbert.

How about it Darryl? Hire Kevin. Do we have to call Lowry and Mark (and not Helen)????

Or...maybe now is the time Randy needs to buy the cluster and reright the ship.

at 3/07/2007 8:55 PM Blogger BrianDammit said...

I interned on the Burbank Show back when I was in college. It all sounds off the cuff but Gary puts a lot of preparation into it. He was a great encouragement to this (then) lowly radio newbie and I'll echo those who say they don't know what they're missing with Gary hanging up the headphones.

at 3/08/2007 12:03 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the Christmas toys, Gilbert,
Marge and most of the others. Gary will be missed. For those of you who
like the old time radio check out a novel by Garrison Keiler which centered around a radio station. It was quite a fun read.

at 3/08/2007 12:43 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm incredibly sad, because I was RAISED on Gary Burbank and the BBC.

John, can you find out the plans of Rob and Duke? And I wonder who slides into the drivetime slot when this legend retires?

at 3/08/2007 12:49 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Anon 1:33, what a wonderful display of all the hate and hostility you have bottled up inside.

Geez, you are small-minded! John is the Television AND Radio critic for the Cincinnati Enquirer. Most of us have a high enough IQ to understand that the Television blog is John Kiesewetter's blog. For you and the rest of the single digit IQ mouth breathing knuckle draggers, that is why they splash John's picture on the top left side.

As you point out, John is tasked to write for television AND radio. There have also been numerous gripes (probably from people like you) about off-topic posts.

This blog, as currently titled, is about TELEVISION. When I log on, I expect to read about TELEVISION, not radio. Is it hard to grasp that possibly broadening it out to better reflect John's background might be a GOOD thing??

And seriously, dude, calm down. I wasn't rude in my suggestion, while you were downright disrespectful and nasty.

at 3/08/2007 8:36 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:49AM, you are like my high school English teacher. I wrote a very good research paper, but because I didn't chose to beat him over the head with my thesis statement (I generally go for allowing that the reader might actually have the intelligence enough to think a little outside the box) I had to rewrite it. So at the end of EVERY paragraph, I simply added the sentence stating this proves my such and such thesis statment. The idiot then changed my grade to an A. I guess you need John to beat you over the head with the obvious, so that is fine. Carry on. It probably would have inspired a little less ire on my part had you actually posted something related to the topic instead, especially since you were the first reply on the blog.

at 3/08/2007 9:23 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favorite Burbank character is "Url(earl) Pitts, Amurican"
and I also enjoy Top 6 and Stump the band! and on the last post, LIGHTEN UP! Kies has alway done both radio and TV!!!

at 3/08/2007 10:00 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happened to David Rose this morning? Some kind of meltdown on the air or somethig...

at 3/08/2007 10:36 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 8:36, perhaps you need to check your eye prescription or get your computer checked, because I did post a comment on topic in my first entry. Re-read it, please, and you will see I questioned whether Gary Burbank is indeed retiring or being forced out by budget cuts. Now I understand why your teacher made you redo your homework. Perhaps consider anger management classes, because there is no need for such aggressive attacks on a person's character such as you made against me.

at 3/08/2007 10:52 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Gilbert Gnarley bit about the turkey that had an ostomy bag...

at 3/08/2007 10:58 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Word on the street is that Rose was so out of it, he got pulled off the air and hasn't been back.

So, John, prove to us that you're not really a Channel 9 lackey in disguise.

Find out what the deal is, and treat this with the same prominence and outrage you do when 5, 12 or 19 has some minor indiscretion.

If what we're hearing is true, this is a big-time issue that deeply undermines his credibility.. and by extension, channel 9's.

I found it curious that when I went to their website to see for myself what happened... that newscast is mysteriously missing.

at 3/08/2007 11:20 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have to agree with the comments on "Marge from Heaven". The coughing is way too much(maybe I'm overly sensitive,since I lost my dad to complications from emphysema 11 year ago) Marge yes, cough no.
from the neigborhood

at 3/08/2007 11:35 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:36; nope, my 'scrip is fine. had you started your reply with that, and THEN went into your little tizz, I would have cut you some slack. See, usually, you put your most important poin first when trying to make it, not as a post script. And the proper thing for you to have done if you are so up in arms about what John titles his blog would be for you to e-mail him and make your point, not bog down a blog entry about something else with your own off-topic topic about John's off-topic blog topic. I'll agree to anger management, after you agree that critical thinking classes are in order for you.

at 3/08/2007 11:46 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Line up changes in the works......

Cunningham may option to switch to 3-6

Toria Tolley 12:30-3:00

or Sloan to afternoons and syndication at night

Pat Barry might be interested in coming back also

at 3/08/2007 11:58 AM Blogger Earl said...

That'll be a sad day. What's Gary going to do? Will he live at the St. Pia Zadora Golden Buckeye Retirement Home in Pisgah?

at 3/08/2007 12:19 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about Gary and company the day AFTER an election with the exploding political ads. Sadly, it seemed to get longer and longer each year with the constant mudslinging so prevelant in today's politics. Even though, pretty funny stuff from Gary!

And to the one person who not once but three times is defending his/her reasoning for complaining about the name of this blog, "GET OVER IT". Someone else posted that we know what to expect when we come to this blog, which is more than just television talk. I am quite certain you do too. So let it go!

Carry on JK! Thanks for the opportunity to vent.

at 3/08/2007 3:35 PM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

To Anon 10:58 a.m.:
Channel 9 GM Bill Fee says David Rose was sent home early Wednesday morning, after appearing briefly on Good Morning Tristate, because he was sick. I'm told others on the air mentioned that an illness had been going around the staion. Fee says he had worked Tuesday afternoon and didn't feel well, but came to work anyway. The producer sent him home.
Fee also says the Weds morning newscast was pulled off the web before noon as part of the station's behind-the-scenes efforts to relaunch its website. Said Fee: "We did not pull a newscast off the website because of anything David Rose did. Absolutely not!"

at 3/08/2007 4:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

kiese, if you believe that load of bull about david rose being "sick" than i have two things to say to you:

1. you obviously haven't seen the tape of david rose acting "sick".. never knew being sick would make you slur your words, act silly, have bleary eyes, and say things that make no sense.

2. did you know "gullible" isn't in the dictionary? really, it's true! go look it up!

congratulations, john, duped again! (i'll bet if it was rob braun, dave wagner or jack atherton you'd have found the tape and asked some real questions instead of just taking the party line!)

at 3/08/2007 4:58 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


If David Rose was actually "sick" as their manager says...why would Katherine Nero look so uncomfortable throughout the time he was on set with her. I didn't get to see all of the newscast, but the part I did watch, she looked visibly upset at times, almost like she was begging someone in the studio to help her out.

Whoever was his supervisor should never have let him on the air in the first place, sick or otherwise. You'd think if they'd even spoken to him they'd have realized they had a big problem on their hands..Maybe it just took them until airtime until it boiled a bad train wreck.

As for the poster on John's objectivity...I'd have to agree, there's no way he's not in bed with that tv partnership

at 3/08/2007 5:00 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

How come the only broadcast removed from the following Channel 9 link was the Wednesday morning one??

From the website at 5:00 pm Thurs.......

"This Wednesday's Good Morning Tri-state (3/7/07) has been removed."

All others broadcasts appear and the website still looks the same to me....

at 3/08/2007 10:22 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...



Ok back to Burbank...I thought his Paul Harvey impersonation this afternoon was a scream. I laughed until I got tears in my eyes...I forget what word or name he used but he started to crack up 'in character' and struggled to remain his composure and even said "Paul Harvey likes pronouncing that word" or something. I love it when he does his bits LIVE like that.

My room mate and I thought it was a howl.

Oh, man are his funny bits going to be bitter sweet for his remaining time.

Which is no doubt left up to the power at SMEAR Channel.

Love you Gary for over two decades.

Sophia in Fairfield

at 3/09/2007 10:53 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anon 1:33, 8:56, 11:35:

Speaking of clogging up space with off-topic entries...

Thank you for pointing out how on-topic your first-post (1:33) was, including all that rich insight into Gary Burbank.

Your second post (8:56) also had meaningful insight into Gary Burbank, but I think it was your third post (11:35) on Gary Burbank that really drove it all home.

For someone so concerned about keeping entries on-topic, I really appreciate all your thoughts on Gary Burbank.

I think I will start my own blog about internet morons. I'll title it: "Local Radio."

at 3/09/2007 10:56 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody know how long David Rose was allowed to stay on-set in that state? What time did he get pulled?

at 3/09/2007 1:55 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

someone I know who works over there said it was before 545am. And BTW Kiese, how about you start your own thread on this one, at least that way, maybe the truth will come out.

at 3/09/2007 2:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sophia, I forgot all about his Paul Harvey bits. I remember the day he did the first one of those, someone came into my office while it was on, and actually thought for a few minutes that it was the real Paul Harvey.
sssssssssss SIT-ro-cal!!!!! good day!

at 3/10/2007 10:31 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...


I find it ironic that WCPO tattled on someone from a competing station. I don't think WLWT or WKRC made any mention of this person's DUI story.

However, they sweep one of their own "under the rug"!

at 3/11/2007 4:03 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I realize that Channel 9 is partnered with the enquirer with the Cin Weekly segement, but that dose not mean that you have to over look this issue with David.

at 3/12/2007 9:16 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


I find it ironic that WCPO tattled on someone from a competing station. I don't think WLWT or WKRC made any mention of this person's DUI story.

However, they sweep one of their own "under the rug"!

Huh? Who did WCPO tattle on? I missed that? Please tell. Thanks.


at 3/15/2007 12:17 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

i will miss him but i always loved his all my bengals with marge and paul

at 6/25/2007 3:17 PM Blogger jackscrow said...

Gilbert calling the Ford Company -- he'd heard that Taruses were being recalled and wanted to know where to turn himself in....

at 11/16/2007 5:12 PM Blogger Annie said...

My heart broke as I found out that Gary is leaving. I will miss Gilbert Gnarley, and the Senseless Survey's. I studied Social Work, and focused on Gereatrics, and was going to save Gilbert from himself. Oh, and I would often putt the Senseless Survey calls to other case workers in the building. They would hang up on me, or not pay attention and answer. Most would be in favor of locking their children in trunks of cars to avoid taking them into store.


at 12/16/2007 9:47 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

With Gary Burbank leaving I suppose im going to have to buy a CD player for my car. I cant stand listening to most of the other talk radio personalities Gary will be missed.

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