He’s back! Johnny Burke, the longtime morning radio personality, is returning to Mid-Michigan radios with 103.9 The Fox. Burke has been webcasting his morning show, along with his partner for the last 15 years, Blondie, ever since they were unexpectedly fired from their #1 morning radio show 14 months ago.
Burke commented that he was ecstatic about the opportunity to work with such a great crew of radio veterans, who “get what local radio is all about”. “They serve the community in real significant ways, and bring live local voices to the air all day long, and on weekends. Promoting local business and events is at the core of their mission.” Corporate ownership has ruined local radio, he claims, and The Fox is “zigging, when they zag”.
Burke’s new show will premiere March 27th, and will also include longtime news veteran, Hal Maas. Maas and Burke worked together for many years at WHNN. Cumulus Broadcasting, owner of the station, released Maas a year after Burke & Blondie were let go.
When the show gets underway, Mark Torregrossa, Mlive chief meteorologist, will provide the morning forecasts. Art Neil will be featured as a “Monday Morning Quarterback”, Norm Stulz will join the show on Fridays, for the popular ‘Are You Smarter Than a Standup Comedian’, and astrologer Maria Shaw will provide her unique insight weekly, as well. Other cast members will be added over time, and may also include members of the cast from the internet show. “It’s a process,” said Burke, “it’ll take some time to take full form.”
The Facebook Live, and Periscope.TV webcasts have garnered an internet reach of up to 1.25 million, weekly. Burke is planning on taking those statewide, nationwide, and worldwide viewers, with him into the studio for the entire show, every morning. “It’s a connected, social media, multi-platform world, now, and we’re just figuring out how to take advantage of it’s full potential,” he said. One of the things we will be exploring is having cast members doing video webcasting from outside the studio, and offering that to the audience as an additional source of morning fun. “People will be able to hear the audio from the cast members on their radio, but they can also add to the experience by viewing on their smartphones, laptops, tablets or computers.” Another way the video will be used will be to expose local, original talent to the audience, through a feature Burke calls “Homegrown”. Burke stated,“We are looking for professional sounding recordings of original music, by new artists. From time to time, we may have those artists in the studio, performing live, and you’ll have the opportunity to watch them. Yeah, I get it, we invented TV! Hopefully, we’re more portable, and entertaining.” He went on to say,
“The original talent, both musical and comical, we have in this area is spectacular, and local corporate-owned radio rarely offers them exposure. The medium that made Elvis a superstar, won’t take a chance on talent in their own back yard! It’s really sad to see what corporate radio ownership has done to ‘the goose that laid the golden egg’.”