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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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Friday, December 21, 2007

Gary Burbank: I Must Be Off

Don't forget to tune in WLW-AM on the way home to hear Gary Burbank's last show 3-6 p.m. It won't be a typical show, with Andy Mac, Doc Wolfe and lots of special guests. And stick around until 6 p.m. for the epilogue, instead of the Marvin Lewis show.

And as a Butler County resident, I'm proud to say today has been proclaimed Gary Burbank and Gilbert G-N-A-R-L-E-Y Day in Butler County. Here's the official proclamation: Okay? Okay? Okay!

Whereas the Board of Butler County Commissioners conducted a senseless survey of all Butler County citizens; and

Whereas the results of the Butler County senseless survey were "synonymous" except for one guy named Earl Pitts (he was just jealous); and

Whereas it is the "unintentional" desire of the Butler County Commissioners to bestow Co-Citizens of the Day honor on Gilbert Gnarley G-N-A-R-L-E-Y... and Gary Burbank; and

Whereas Gilbert Gnarley G-N-A-R-L-E-Y is a Butler County citizen and an elderly member of St. Pia Zadora Golden Buckeye Retirement Community in Pisgah, Butler County, Ohio, and has brought countless hours of rip roaring enjoyment to the citizens of Butler County; and

Whereas, Gary Burbank has won several major awards, including back-to-back Marconi Awards as large market personality of the year in 1990 and 1991;

Now therefore be it resolved that Gregory V. Jolivette, Charles R. Furmon and Donald L. Dixon do hereby proclaim Friday, Dec. 21, as: Co-Citzens Gilbert Gnarley G-N-A-R--L-E-Y and Gary Burbank Day.

And we, along with the citizens of Butler County, Ohio, wish to congratulate and express our gratitude to Gary Burbank and his many characters for the many years of enjoyable listening. Okay? Okay? Okay? Okay!

PS: And to that guy named Earl, we have on this to say: "Pitts Off!"

Photos: Burbank in the studio

Audio: Listen to Burbank favorites: Earl Pitts, Gilbert Gnarley and more

Read Kiesewetter's front-page story


at 12/21/2007 9:45 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last night on News 5, Sheree did a story on Burbank. She mentioned several of his characters, like "Gilbert Farley." I wasn't sure if I heard her correctly so I replayed it (thanks, DVR) and sure enough she said "Farley." I could, perhaps, understand if it happened live, but this was on tape. Embarrassing. Pathetic.

John Burroughs
Hyde Park

at 12/21/2007 10:02 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

To John Burroughs. Hey John you are fogetting we live in Mayberry, so what do you expect.

at 12/21/2007 10:20 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never listened to the show, and don't plan on tuning in to the last one either.

at 12/21/2007 10:48 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shouldn't that be Saint Pia Zadora Golden Buckeye Home and Retirement Community in Pisgah, Ohio.

at 12/21/2007 11:05 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought I heard her say Farley, but then I thought...noooo, she's from here and wouldn't make such a blatant mistake.

Then I's of COURSE she made that mistake.

at 12/21/2007 11:10 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 10:20:

Uhhh. So why comment on the story, other than for attention?

at 12/21/2007 11:34 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's okay, anonymous at 10:20--no one plans on ever listening to you, either.

at 12/21/2007 11:39 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm amazed that there are people who think that he's funny. I've tried to listen to his show a few times and it wasn't very entertaining at all. It was just Burbank acting silly and TRYING to be funny. He could make my Grandma laugh, but then again she liked Hee Haw back in the day.

at 12/21/2007 11:46 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What was the point of posting "Never listened to the show, and don't plan on tuning in to the last one either"? Are you that negative all the time?

at 12/21/2007 11:52 AM Blogger sledge said...

What Burbank has done all these years is nothing short of amazing.

I think he's still funny, and it's a sad day to see him retire.

As for you anonymous folks... get a backbone and put a name behind your posts.

at 12/21/2007 11:56 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gary will be missed. He is a unique comedic talent, and very few people can pull off anymore what he has managed to do everyday for so many years.

As far as his sense of humor, it ran hot and cold for me many days, but I attribute that to the sheer volume of material he had to come up with. At his best, he was truly inspired, had incredible vocal talents and lampooned public targets in our area in ways that will never be forgotten.

It always seems especially sad when a comedian bids us goodbye. Enjoy your retirement, Gary!

at 12/21/2007 12:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bad week at Channel 5, where the news comes ___________.

They don't send a reporter to follow team Lachey, now Gilbert Farley.

Isn't Sheree the same anchor we see on a promo boasting about growing up here. Maybe she was just too busy to listen in sometime over the past 27 years.

at 12/21/2007 12:07 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gees, the guy has been a drive time institution for decades and the best some of you can do is talk about a mis-pronounced name on a news story? While some of his material is not as fresh as it once was, he is a comic genious and will be missed. Why don't you relax and give the guy a break, and give him a POSITIVE send off.

at 12/21/2007 12:14 PM Blogger SophiaZ123 said...

It is a sad day in radio indeed...too bad John let's the misanthropes posts, too.

I made a point to watch 5 News as I knew they were doing a bit..that stupid girl saying Gilber FARLEY was so IGNORANT.

You can tell she had no clue about Gary and she cared not one whit about getting the facts right.

Way to go Channel 5.

at 12/21/2007 12:16 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm setting here eating my bisquits with kentucky jelly (KY) and wondering how they get the diet in diet coke. thinking I'll miss Gilbert Gnarley, Earl Pitts and Urinal Bates next week when Gary's gone because his head is empty. Farewell Gary! Hope Mama and them keep doing fine. Thanks for the laughs and the BBQ.

at 12/21/2007 12:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gary Burbank was the light in a media market (radio) where everyone is serious. It was The Gary Burbank show that brought smiles and break from the news.
Anyone who doesn't understand the genuis of Gary Burbank are those who are sullen and have no sense of humor!
Fine be bored with your lives, but to the rest of us He will be missed!

at 12/21/2007 12:56 PM Blogger SophiaZ123 said...

There were SO MANY funny bits and so many great Gilbert Gnarleys but the one that had me laughing the LOUDEST was the one where he accidentally took Nitro glycerin, was afraid to move for fear he would explode!!

He called the pharmacist to see if this was true. . . .

Best to you Gary.

You are much loved by MANY of us.



at 12/21/2007 1:02 PM Anonymous Terd Ferguson said...

If you do not think Burbank is funny then you are obviously a retard and you should have your mom hit you in the forehead with a ballpeen hammer, if she can get you away from your computer in the basement. Now go back to playing Warcraft and let the grownups talk.

at 12/21/2007 1:09 PM Anonymous My other brother Daryl said...

I'd like to hope it was a clever ch 5 send-off to Garrish. After all, how do you get a name wrong that is actually spelled out for you every time it's said ?

at 12/21/2007 1:56 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is Gary's fault that I have a copy of "Rusty Chevrolet" in my Xmas CD collection --- one of my favorite songs of the season...

CBD from Anderson

at 12/21/2007 2:26 PM Anonymous Skip said...

It's hard to imagine what it took to generate dialog for the repetitive characters Gary put out for all of these years. Not withstanding the off the cuff political and celebrity stuff. "All my Bengals" was the best. How many remember Mr. Dad Sir and Mikey Boy? Enjoy your retirement Gary, you gave more than you got!

at 12/21/2007 2:30 PM Anonymous elder43 said...

What an absolute embarrassment for the "so-called" anchor, aka teleprompter readerette, to mis-pronounce one of the signature characters of the radio legend that is Gary Burbank. To make matters worse, he spells his name at several times throughout each episode...G-N-A-R-L-E-Y!!!!!!!

It reminds me of her horrible performance during the WEBN fireworks, take away the teleprompter and script and she is absolutely clueless. Al Schottelkotte once again is flopping and twitching.

at 12/21/2007 3:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favorite Burbank moments were "Top Six" and "Stump the band".But they were alway on when I was driving home.(Dont use the Cell while Driving!)
from the neighborhood

at 12/21/2007 5:26 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was once a very regular listener but then I stopped commuting and therefore listening, but today on my way home from shopping I tuned in and What did I hear? Retiring? Leaving? No kidding? Hugh? Can't be.

It is.

Good Luck to Gilbert, Howlin Blind Muddy Slim, Reverend what's his name and there can naver be a "Sports or Consequences" with out Gary and the gang.

at 12/21/2007 5:29 PM Anonymous Kathy Bryan said...

So many good times. We have been lucky to have the Burbank show all these years. My commute is too short these days, but I usually found a way to tune in Howlin Blind Muddy Slim on Fridays.

The characters I'll never forget, the call ins and the musical guests. And then of course Sports or Consequences. My daughter refers to her market managers as sales gerbils because of Garish.

I listened to Gary on WAKY out of Louisville when we were both much younger. The Gary who grew out of Alexandria KY has just been a treasure and I hope to hell his wife can put up with him retired. Thanks for everything from the Snow Dance song to John Phillips chasing down miscreants on air. Charlie Luken, private mayor, Norma's super powered shoulder pads, Budinoh (sp) Montana, the world's richest man.

Time to clean off the tables and make some spiders.

at 12/21/2007 5:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I've never been a Burbank fan, but I've listened all week, and all day today, Friday, and it has been MOVING!! Especially this last hour...
My God, what a decent man.....

at 12/21/2007 5:50 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gary is a genius!! Let's see...serious talk radio with a bunch of angry white guys, then Gary Burbank. What a welcome change everyday. He will be missed and never replaced. THANK YOU GARY!!

at 12/21/2007 5:58 PM Blogger Linda Parker said...

Just listened to the show by my friend Tracy Burbank Songer's dad (a perk of working at is that we're S'POSED to listen to stuff online at work). It was great. Enjoy the next 50 years, Gary.

at 12/21/2007 6:07 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It figures that WLW streaming kicked me off right at 5:54pm--right before the end of the show. I imagine everyone signed on to hear that and overloaded the server. Hopefully the podcast will be up to hear it later. Does anyone find the digitized noise in the stream overly annoying?

at 12/21/2007 6:09 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a great show today. Gary leaving with such class, it had me in tears and I am 22 years old and have listened to him for 14 years.

Kiese are you going to be appering on any other radio shows now that burbank is retired.

at 12/21/2007 7:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad day. Ranks right up there with listening to the last WNOP broadcast with Ray Scott.

We've lost three this year, Joe Nuxhall, Gary Burbank and the
Cincinnati Post.

The only thing you can rely on, if you come back in 200 years is the
backup between Paddock and the Norwood Lateral.

I'm a radio guy and I know we are
just hitting a bump in the road here. Somebody will wake up to the
amazing loyalty that people feel
to their local personalities. The pendulum will swing back, local radio is too good to disappear.

at 12/21/2007 10:58 PM Blogger SophiaZ123 said...

I am sorry to the person that got kicked off line listening a few minutes before six.

Just to let you know, Gary said his good bye during the SONG and after Gilbert bit, it ran to the top of the hour and no more voices from the gang. Seemed abrupt...but I was sobbing so much by then, didn't matter.

hard to believe I have heard that voice for almost half my life...the old guy Jerry getting choked up on the phone set me off really bad, as did a lot of the show. But the singing really had me going.

TRULY as somebody lucky enough to have met him over the years, used to be in the studio, was there for Doc's official retirement (When he retired the first time to write books) and spoke to him about stuff I sent in to use on the air, it was super knowing him.

The saddest thing is, for those of us who LOVED his voice and "those voices", the radio is dead for us.

at 12/21/2007 11:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good riddance to a very unfunny person.

at 12/22/2007 9:58 AM Anonymous Rhymin' said...

Gary is a super cool guy. I was lucky enought to be able to write and do on air stuff for him as well. Rob, Duke, and J.D., were always easy to work with, and open to pretty much anything. Like or dislike the show, it is still amazing how Gary survived all these years doing it his way, and you have to respect that. I will really miss the show, but hope to be working with some of those guys in the future. I don't think we've heard the last from Gary : )
Rhymin' Brian Farley F-A-R-L-E-Y

at 12/22/2007 1:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one will listen to me when I say I never listed to the program and don't plan to listen to the last one either? Then why did you and several others comment? Last time I checked this was an open blog and readers could post their thoughts. If I'm so irrelavent, just ignore me and move on!

I was simply reacting to John's gush over this radio personality that I truly believe not many people listen to anymore. Well, at all now. 700 WLW is unlistenable, hate radio for the conservative movement. Its not for me. I don't like it. The end.

If you like it, fine. Listen all you want. Just don't be offended when I say I don't like the station. I don't listen to it. I don't intend to ever listen to it. I don't want to support its advertisers.

And the more people the station fires, the less I bet you'll listen to it, too!

at 12/23/2007 8:36 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

So John K, when you and Burbank tying the knot? Feel like I need to light up a smoke now. Talk about over the top.

at 12/24/2007 11:21 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cringe for Sheree each time I see her phoney "I'm from here, so like me, REALLY like me ..." promo.
Because EVERYONE makes mistakes.
She made a big one.
I watched, and she never owned up, corrected it ... just keeps mugging for the camera and is WAY to in my face as a viewer.
I have to switch. I wanted to like what they're doing, but she is just way to over the top for me.
Kit, here I come.
Janice in West Chester

at 12/26/2007 1:37 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Janet in West Chester. Get over it you geek!

at 12/26/2007 4:14 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gary's "Jump The Shark" moment was either when he started incorporating non-sports into "Sports or Consequences" or when he started spewing his hate-filled political opinions and then claim to represent the party of tolerance and peace. I never heard such hatred this side of Air America. Stopped listening years ago because it infiltrated his act too much.

at 12/27/2007 1:33 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

OH No--early Wed 12/26--did I hear it will be Willie on from 1-6pm?
every day?'twill be the end of good sense by then
and who pays for that?
No more WLW for me...

at 12/27/2007 3:49 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks, you have the wrong impression of Sheree. I can assure you that she feels terrible about mistake made in the rush of a busy day. Before YOU rush to make the mistake of condemning one of the few journalists on local TV who are local, consider this:

Barack Obama was mistaken for “Osama” in two news reports by CNN, and in one by the New York Post. Meanwhile, the Houston Chronicle once referred to him as a Republican, and the Hartford Courant has misspelled his first name on six different occasions dating back to 2004, with two of those instances occurring this year.

Check out other news goofs here:

at 12/28/2007 12:49 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heard on WLW that Willie
Cunningham may be offered daily 1-6, or all afternoon, and I think I will hang up right now, could not stand that=ALL DAY?whew

at 1/01/2008 2:02 PM Anonymous djlouey said...

Gary Burbank is a brilliant talent. He is funny without having to resort to shock or blue humor. That takes a lot of work and preparation and he worked hard to become what he is.

I do radio today because of what I heard from Gary when I was a kid. About 25 years ago when I was around 8 or 9 my dad took me to a WLW Coors All Star Game. (Remember those?) After the game as Gary walked by my dad called out to him and told him I was a huge fan.

He sat down on the bleachers next to me and talked to a snot nosed kids for 5 minutes about nothing that could have been interesting to him.

He is a classy guy and we could certainly benefit from a few more just like him.

at 1/03/2008 10:52 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure Sheree does feel terrible, she probably didn't even write the story. Someone else probably wrote it for her. But how hard is it to do your research? Simply irresponsible journalism, no matter who it is. Typical channel 5.

at 1/08/2008 8:52 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more about Burbank's hate filled Air Americaesque venom seeping into the show. No wonder a newspapaper liberal like JK worships him.

Of course his hatred wasn't just political. He'd always make snide comments about Phil Hendrie because he was jealous of anyone who actually made it in syndication.

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