EVERYONE DESERVES A SECOND CHANCE IN RADIO. RIGHT?

April 7th, 2011 by Staff

www.radioink.com — Shannon Burke was a man on the rise with Clear Channel back in 2009. He had an afternoon shift on one of the coolest stations in Orlando called Real Radio. It was an FM Talker with an edge and Burke played the role perfectly. He had a strong following, arms loaded with tattoos, and enjoyed riding motorcycles. He came to Orlando from Texas where he leaned liberal. The Real Radio crew had more of a conservative twist to it so Burke switched teams. No biggie. Radio is show biz baby.
Burke was coming to the end of a contract with Clear Channel and says he had a new one sitting on his desk ready to go. Then his world came crashing down on him. And on his wife. And their dog. Burke gets into a domestic dispute with his wife while holding the dog….and a gun. He says the gun went off accidentally. The bullet hit the dog and grazed his now ex-wife in the forehead. Since the incident, the dog has had two litters and Burke says his ex-wife is also OK.

In most counties across America, that kind of behavior will get you in trouble. And it did. April 30th was Burke’s last day with Real Radio as Clear Channel sent him packing. A newspaper report at the time said Clear Channel removed Burke from the Real Radio website, however, not from the walls of the station. “Burke’s photo was posted throughout the radio station, along with a warning to call security if he is seen in the building.”
Being without a job was the least of Burke’s concerns at the time. Having fired a gun in anger was bad enough. However, it turned out Burke was already on probation for an alcohol related driving incident. When it was all said and done Burke spent 4 1/2 months in jail including 35 days in solitary confinement.
While in the Seminole County Jail Burke made a collect phone call to Carmine Tutera. Tutera and his father Cal Como Tutera have been in the radio business for a long time. In fact, Cal is celebrating 50 years in the business, having been on the programming side for a decade followed by managing several major market radio station for Bartell Communications, a driving force in radio in the late 60′s and 70′s. He was a V.P. & General Managers at two Bartell Stations in Miami and Detroit. Carl also worked for the Bartell family as an on the air talent ending his stint as a D.J. in 1970.

The father and son team applied to the FCC for authority to operate a brand new Radio Station licensed to Orlovista, Florida. The License was granted and the station was built on a 40 acre parcel in the heart of the city at Mercy and Princeton in Orlando. The Station, WEUS, 810 on the AM dial, covers all of Central Florida with a daytime power of 10 Thousand Watts (The Real Radio signal is 100,000 Watts). Burke says Carmine was trying to get in touch with him to discuss employment. “Carmine reached out to an old producer of mine while I was in jail. I actually called Carmine collect from the Seminole County Jail and worked out a deal.” Tutera told Radio Ink last night “my father and I believe that if a man has shown contrition and paid his debt why should he not get a second chance? How many chances would we want?”

The deal was struck and since July 5th of this year, Burke is back on terrestrial radio from 3PM to 6PM. “I own a little more than half the commercial inventory on my show. 810 owns the rest. That’s how my deal works.” But that’s not where the story ends for Burke. Recently he heard from another former employee of Clear Channel. This one having spent only one day in jail, an incident concerning a pig. Starting tonight, Burke will have a 2-hour show (8PM-10PM) on RadioIO with a helping hand from Bubba The Love Sponge.
Burke talks about the show. “I expect it to be pretty much the same thing I was doing at Real Radio only uncensored. I am going to talk current events, news stuff, lifestyle, all of it uncensored and truly just being myself. I also expect that IO listeners will want to talk about the past 2 years of my life, the incident, getting fired, jail, my ex wife. All of it. I welcome it. I am an open book. I accepted complete responsibility for my actions from the start. I own my mistakes, my behavior, all of it. I don’t mind talking about it either. Bring it on.”
Burke says he’s still friends with the management at Clear Channel in Orlando. “I have regular lunches with the OM. We are good friends.” And, he’s working hard to find the right job in Radio. “810 is good for now, but career-wise it’s not a long term option for me. I love political talk. I think the “AM News-Talk” format needs a kick in the ass! It needs to be more edgy, funnier. Local hosts try too much to be like the 3 leading syndicated guys that follow them.” A second chance for Shannon Burke. Time will tell how he does with it.
Reach out to Burke via e-mail at eshannonburke@gmail.com
On Twitter @TheShannonBurke


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