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 firstname.lastname@example.org)
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?