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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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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Gary Burbank's Replacement

Why haven't we heard who will replace Gary Burbank on WLW-AM? Because the station won't announce it until January, after he's long gone.

"I don't want to do anything to overshadow what Gary has done at this station, and his career. I want Gary to go out on top," says Darryl Parks, his boss, Clear Channel's AM operations director here.

Parks won't hint who will get the gig. When Burbank told me about his retirement last spring, Parks said the station would replace Burbank with an "entertainment" show. But to WLW, Bill Cunningham and Scott Sloan are entertainers, so we'll see what happens. (My guess is that WLW won't have a comedy show, or the station would have announced that sidekicks Duke Sinatra, Rob Ervin and Slim Tempo would be sticking around, and there would be some sort of crossover/hand-off late this month. A comedy show just doesn't fit in with the rest of WLW's white male talk hosts. )

Burbank says he's "not really planning anything out of the ordinary" for his last original show, 3-6 p.m. Dec. 21. Reruns will air through Dec. 31, including the Earl Pitts Christmas show on Dec. 24. (By the way, he's trying to track down Joey, the original "cute kid" who called in years ago. He thinks his name was Joey Mastrullo/Mastrello. If you know Joey, email the show at

He's sincere about asking callers this week about their favorite bits – because they haven't locked in the tracks for his last CDs – a two-CD "Best of Gilbert Gnarley" (with at least 40 bits), and a one-CD "Adios Muchachos" compilation of his best stuff over the years. They're still scrambling to get them done. Burbank doesn't know when they'll be available, or how much they'll cost – but you can place a reservation (order?) by calling 1-800-327-5748.

Burbank also has agreed to tape several CET interview shows looking back on his career, to air early next year. And by this time next year, bookstores should be selling a Burbank biography with Greg Hoard, Cincinnati Gentleman magazine editor and author of Joe Nuxhall's "Joe: Rounding Third & Heading For Home."

He will keep doing Earl Pitts, heard on 160 radio stations. WLW plans to keep Pitts, Burbank says, but he doesn't know when or where.

Guess we'll find out more in three weeks or so. Who do you think will replace Burbank, if they don't do a comedy show?


at 12/06/2007 2:00 PM Blogger Aggrazel said...

Burbank is irreplaceable, no matter who follows him will be a disappointment, especially if they move Scott Sloan into that timeslot (which is kindof what I suspect).

Personally, I currently toggle between Burbank and Lance (on 1530 homer) at this time slot, and unless the person they get is really really good, I'll switch to Lance full time.

I hope whoever comes in keeps sports or consequences though, it makes the drive home much more bearable in the Cincinnati traffic.

at 12/06/2007 2:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

My guess comes from knowing the "frugal" history of Clear Channel.

Do you really think that company will lay out large $$$$$ to bring in a heavyweight to only do WLW? (Remember, they just hired a newspaper columnist to work "part-time/no benefits" on the top sports talk show in the midwest).

CC will either share the 3-6 slot with somebody also on in another city (ala McConnel) or Darryl Parks will do it. Either way it's a big salary saved for Clear Channel.

The reason they will wait until Burbank is gone, is to not humiliate him by being replaced by NO ONE.

at 12/06/2007 2:51 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

With Burbank leaving, I'm officially making the full-time switch to Satellite Radio. I've had Sirius for over a year now and there is nothing like it. The one thing that turned me off to "Free" radio was the amount of commercials. I know, I know, they pay the bills.

But it seemed like everytime a talk show host really gets a good back and forth going they have to break for 10-12 minutes for commercials. Good lord those breaks on 1530 and 700 are long.

Satellite radio is the best purchase I've made in the last 5 years.

at 12/06/2007 2:56 PM Blogger Toddy-O said...

It's Joey Mastrullo. His parents lived in Delhi. Joey was part of the Kids TV News Network program (1983-85), that had some existence on WXIX (pre-Michael Flannery?) and on WLWT (which won an Emmy). I think Joey did some desk work with Jerry and Norma.

at 12/06/2007 2:58 PM Blogger Toddy-O said...

As for a replacement, I would think either move the Dawn Patrol (Eddie Fingers and Bob Lewis) to the shift and make it the "Dusk Patrol" or bring back Kevin Wolf, or all of the above.

Or find Boris Butkovich.

at 12/06/2007 3:26 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm guessing Scott Sloan...they apparently like him there, yet he only works about 1/2 a year due to Reds games, so why not get him more airtime and either syndicate or part-time the winter nighttime slot.

at 12/06/2007 4:23 PM Blogger SophiaZ123 said...

Scott Sloan is TERRIBLE! IMO. YIKES. how does he KEEP his show..he talks too fast and thinks he is smarter than McConnell (and shares the same HUGE EGO)

I am guessing Willie will get the prime slot as he is Park's fave and has good ratings.

Why would they give a backmarker like SLOAN a top prime gig?

Just my three cents but Gary IS IRREPLACEABLE.
After 23 years of listening and 17 years daily due to medical limits, I shall miss him terribly.

To me, it's like another local "death" only he will be alive in his real life but OUR Burbank that came into our homes daily, will no longer exist. The show will go over the rainbow to see dorothy and toto and fun, nice satire/parody will be gone forever.

I LOVE YOU GARY and you will be missed.

But you were too good for CC who in recent years has jumped the shark.

McConnell continues to tank with his lowbrow callers. It was good to hear him local again with the passing of Joe Nuxhall.

at 12/06/2007 5:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard the name Tom Sussi. TV's former big-mouth consumer guy now in Orlando?

I know he was talking with Parks before he left town nd Darryl seemed to like him.

at 12/06/2007 6:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give me 40 lashes, but I just never found Burbank funny. I thought his bits and his comedy were more annoying and irritating than anything. Am I alone in this emotion??
Not trying to be cruel, but for the life of me I don't know what the big deal is... Any good talk host will do it for me.

at 12/06/2007 9:58 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about shifting gears and bringing Andy Furman
back for afternoon sports talk, maybe with a 'female' counterpart who would be a first for WLW, and bring a few ladies calling in. There are times when Burbank got a bit raunchy, and he was ready to retire tho. Think about it.

at 12/06/2007 11:35 PM Blogger Antonio said...

Give me Heywood Banks! He could still tour on the weekends and do the odd weeknight show within driving distance, and has connections to comics all over the country.

at 12/07/2007 1:12 AM Anonymous AMY said...

I vote for Duke!!

Sloan is ok...but it's the same old shtick(not as bad as Daryl Parks, sure as hell hope they don't put him on, he's aweful.)

Duke and Rob and Eddie Fingers and Mojo Nixon and Doc Wolf and maybe even Nurse Leah Burns would be great, but since its WLW, they'll probably screw it up.

Good luck in retirement, Gary!!! There won't be another show like yours again!!!

at 12/07/2007 7:33 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know they will blow this upcoming replacement deal. Check the morning show with Jim Scott, who also needs to retire. If he says "huh" one time at the end of a sentence, he says it hundreds of times. It feels like he does the show while jogging down the street. Everything in high speed and those dubbed interviews are useless!!!! So I am sure slick Darryl Parks will screw up the afternoon show too.

at 12/07/2007 7:44 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

a little off the main subject, but I notice something in local radio.
WFTK 96.5 radio at 6am alot of times have taped weather and news from the night before. Wow they sure are on top of things. Cincinnati radio - can it get any worse?

at 12/07/2007 8:31 AM Anonymous Dave said...

WLW will try but they will never replace Gary Burbank, the BBC, Gilbert or Earl. Of course they will fill the timeslot and I will probably listen but it will take some time to adjust to Gary leaving. I work in Columbus and Gary entertained me all the way home during my hour and a half drive. It will be like losing a best friend when he leaves next week. His daily show kept me listening and laughing, helping me forget traffic jams, my work problems and sometimes my exit. I guess I will have to see a shrink now. Gary Burbank, Thanks for the many years you made me laugh and I wish you a happy and safe retirement.

at 12/07/2007 8:41 AM Blogger liz said...

Count me in as one who won't miss Burbank. He was funny the first year but after that it was the same ole stuff. Does he have a son? Jerry Thomas' son replaced him. The Truckin' Bozo's son replaced him. And doesn't Jim Scott's son fill in for him? I for one will be glad to hear someone else on WLW in the afternoon.

at 12/07/2007 9:46 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Top Burbank; Gilbert Gnarley applying for a translator job at the UN; Riley Gurt talking to the old lady who rips into strippers; Gilbert wanting to bring the crew from the retirement home to visit the grave of the country singer (Cole Porter??) who hadn't died yet; AND the Gilbert/KY jelly on toast bit.....

The replacement....I thought it was a done deal, Toria Tolley!!!

at 12/07/2007 10:01 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw norma rashid walking around the halls of clear channel the other day. She would make a great host.

at 12/07/2007 10:01 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good bye Gary. You need to go. You are very funny but your act is quite tired.

at 12/07/2007 10:40 AM Anonymous RedlegDave said...

The calls from Marge and Paul Harvey are what I will miss the most.

I agree with everyone who says Darryl Parks is an idiot. Just listen to him on the air to confirm it. I'm sure he'll screw it up.

Sloan is the same old same old, "Willie Lite". Bring back Furman and see if Gary's crew (duke rob and slim) will stick around.

at 12/07/2007 11:21 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Other than the Reds games, there's nothing on WLW that isn't tired, dated, stale or trite. Burbank is from days gone by, so his schtick won't be missed...Cunningham is a mere caricature of his former self...Jim Scott is merely a voice between traffic and weather updates...McConnell lost relevance years ago when he got old and cranky, but it was aggrivated by going national...Sloan is ADHD and hard to bear for more than a few minutes

at 12/07/2007 11:47 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

700 will keep the replacement in house. That is the only people who are willing to work at that zoo. 700 died years ago. In the morning dont you just love the "aviation expert". Lovely, I cant believe anyone is on the edge of the seat waiting for this guy to come on for his 23 second gig on airports around the us and Scott hurrying off to the next commercial. Here is a novel concept-- sell the station, fire everyone and start over!!

at 12/07/2007 12:34 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear tell it's the return of WCKY's legendary...

Bailey and LaBarbara.

at 12/07/2007 2:49 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darryl Parks is the worst thing to ever happen to Cincinnati radio. How does this guy still have a job? Wake up and smell the coffee Clear Channel.

at 12/07/2007 4:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Bill Whyte? He does the comedy songs. I wonder if CC has tried to get him away from the B?

at 12/08/2007 2:23 PM Blogger Michael A. Banks said...

Well, they lost their chance to get Don Imus (ha!)

Seriously, I hope it's someone entertaining, and not just another call-in show with political screaming.

at 12/09/2007 11:24 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hire Kent Voss who used to do afternoons on 1290 WHIO back in the mid 90s!!!

at 12/11/2007 4:09 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...



at 12/12/2007 12:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


Just saw this on the KUSA website:
DENVER- Joseph "Jocky Joe" Rateau died on Saturday, December 8 2007 of complications of Diabetes. He was 68.

If you lived in Denver during the late 70's through the early 90's you may have heard his name, and his voice.

Joseph "Jockey Joe" Rateau worked at 56KLZ and KYGO during his 15-year stay on Denver's airwaves and his show topped the rating chart.

He entertained listeners with humor and style from 6:00am to 10:00am weekdays.

Jockey Joe's career began in the 1950's when, at the age of 15, he got his first DJ job with WHBC in Canton Ohio.

He spent the next 40 years as a disc jockey for such notable stations as WLS in Chicago, WONE in Dayton, KLEI in Hawaii, , and WLW in Cincinnati.

Joseph Rateau was a Type I diabetic and supported the American Diabetes Association.

Joseph "Jockey Joe" Rateau died at home in Littleton, CO. He is survived by his wife Alice, his son Joey, his daughter Julie, and his sisters Darlene George and Sherry Young.

at 12/13/2007 9:31 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gary Burbank retiring is really a strange deal. He is VERTY VERY funny, but really when you think about it, his act is sooooooo tired it really is time to go. That show ran its course a long time ago. But then again 700 WLW is tired and they need to revamp the entire schedule starting with that motor mouth in the morning, Jim Scott. We need a slower talking softer voice in the morning. In the afternoon to replace Gary Burbank, here is a novel concept -- news/weather/sports/talk and bring in someone who has never been in this market. Come on Darryl Parks take that big step!

at 12/13/2007 9:41 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Several members of Burbank's shows from years past:

John Phillips
Mike Redden
Andy Mac
Don Webb
Cab with the limericks (who'd try to give out Gary's home phone number a few times)

at 12/13/2007 4:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anon 9:41 12/13,
John Phillips - shoot groundhogs from the air in a helicopter.
Mike Redden - Run out of gas in a helicopter and land on Interstate 275. Real brain power there I tell ya!!

at 12/13/2007 8:30 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those that miss it on the weekends....

Daryl and Sensible Don!

at 12/14/2007 9:06 PM Blogger bmurdock said...

Most people like Earl Pitts but by far my favorite charater is Gilbert Gnarley. I don't know how many times I've nearly run off the road laughing at some of his calls. I can even take credit for one of his calls. One time Gilbert called the company that makes Mrs. Buttersworth professing his love for her "protrubences." Well I noticed some time after that call that the Mrs. Buttersworth bottle not longer had those "protrubences" in the right plaes. Gary err Gilbert called back to complain about the missing curves.

I'm hoping I can be "the last caller."

at 12/18/2007 1:56 PM Anonymous Joey said...

Burbank's show died when Doc Wolf left. He was the sophisticated counter-balance to the grungy Duke. Gary was the funny guy in the middle, and it worked.

Parks is incompetent, and will certainly screw up the replacement. I say, bring back the Backyard BBQ!

at 12/19/2007 6:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Gary's schtick died a few years ago. His writing team left with Doc Wolfe and he rode the same horse a few years too long. I stopped listening so long ago that I didn't Gary was retiring until I happened to listen in this week.

Here a few quick suggestions; even though no one cares. I really think Andy Furman could do a good job. The yelling thing with Cunningham got old quick.

I'll give the new host a chance as long as it is not Scott Sloan. People turned off WLW in the evwening when Willie moved to days.

Daryl Parks obviously is a capable PM or CC wouldn't have them at one of their flagship station. But...Paul D. has to be the most pathetic sports talk host I have ever heard. Really, I can listened to syndicated sports programming and be better entertained. Bring back the Furball.

at 12/21/2007 11:32 PM Anonymous redsfan1966 said...

Let me call my shot....Andy Furman will make a triumphant return to the WLW airwaves on January 3rd to replace Garish....

at 12/22/2007 12:25 AM Anonymous Chris said...

Two Words - Lance McAllister

at 12/27/2007 8:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it's Sloan, that will be the last second that I listen to WLW. He is terrible! The computer generated voice on my answering machine is more enjoyable to listen to. They could get someone from SUPERTALK FM 96.5 that just switched formats. They should put Dave Ramsey on in his place!

at 1/02/2008 9:00 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rush? Rush? What the hell kind of replacement is that? Parks did just what an earlier poster said..... He screwed it up. I'll be listening to something else in the afternoon from now on.

/shakes head in confusion

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