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San Francisco talk radio icon Gene Burns dies

Talk radio host Gene Burns, far right, with two listeners (Flickr: PR Magic)
Talk radio host Gene Burns, far right, with two listeners (Flickr: PR Magic)

Talk show host Gene Burns, who hosted the political commentary program The Gene Burns Show in San Francisco as well as a local dining program, died over the weekend according to his former employer KGO Radio.

Burns was 72 and had suffered from health impairments that caused him to retire from radio. The cause of death wasn’t reported.

Burns had a lucrative career in radio, first behind the scene and then in front of the microphone. For much of his early career, Burns was found on radio airwaves in the northeast portion of the country. During a stint at WCBM in Baltimore, Burns reported from Vietnam and the Middle East.

The Orlando Sentinel reported Burns had been the host of a talk show at station WKIS-AM in the 1980s.

Eventually, Burns found himself in the Big Apple, hosting a nationally-syndicated news program produced by New York station WOR-AM. The program was short lived, and in 1995, Burns made his way out west to San Francisco’s KGO-AM where he remained until health issues forced him to retire.

Burns’ fellow colleagues and former listeners took to the station’s Facebook page to express their grief and leave condolences for the talk show host.

KGO-AM reporter Kim McCallister credited Burns with raising the level of discussion on radio, the station said Saturday, while listener Megan Cresci said Burns had “reasoned, thought out, rational debates” on his program.

The station plans a tribute broadcast for Burns on May 25th at 10:00am local time.

KGO Radio: Former radio show host Gene Burns dies
Orlando Sentinel: Long time radio show host dies at 72

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).