Gary Burbank

Gary Burbank

Gary Burbank (born Billy Purser, July 1941, in Memphis, Tennessee) is an American radio personality. He was heard daily on WLW in Cincinnati, Ohio, until December 21, 2007, when he signed off for the last time.

Career in Radio

Burbank began his radio career in his hometown at WMPS in the mid 1960s, where he was known on the air as Johnny Apollo. In 1968 he moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where he became an instant hit on WAKY-AM. It was at WAKY that Billy Purser officially became Gary Burbank, a name taken from radio and television legend Gary Owens, who as a regular on "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" would announce that he was broadcasting from "beautiful downtown Burbank." (Burbank's natural voice is remarkably similar to Owens' on-air voice.)

Burbank left WAKY in 1973; his final program there was an elaborate prank in which he pretended to be fatally shot by a disgruntled listener. [ [ Gary Burbank air checks] ] At that point, he moved to New Orleans for a brief stint as program director of WNOE. From New Orleans, Burbank went on to CKLW in Detroit/Windsor, and then back to Louisville for a successful, lengthy afternoon gig on WHAS-AM.

Burbank left Louisville again for a brief spell in Tampa, Florida at WDAE, but returned to the Ohio Valley in 1981 when he signed with WLW, originally doing morning drive time but later moving to afternoons. It is there that he has enjoyed his greatest success, developing his best-known characters:

* Earl Pitts Uhmerikun, a full-blooded redneck who makes daily commentary on everything from politics to family to friends.
* Gilbert Gnarley, a senior citizen who made crank calls to various businesses and people.
* Howlin' Blind Muddy Slim, Your 60-Minute Jelly-Belly Toejam Man (a/k/a Blues Break 201), a Friday afternoon music show which featured blues artists as guest stars.
* Eunice and Bernice, the "Siamese twins joined at the telephone" ("turr-a-bull, turr-a-bull, turr-a-bull")
* The Right Rev. Deuteronomy Skaggs, radio preacher who encouraged listeners to "dig in them jeans and pull out them greens" (money). Skaggs and Eunice and Bernice carried over from Burbank's WHAS days.
* Ranger Bob, children's show host.
* Lars Peavey, talk show host (tribute to the comedy team of Bob and Ray)
* Dan Buckles, newscaster (takeoff of Dan Rather)
* Ludlow Bromley, the "richest dude in the world" (named after Northern Kentucky cities)
* Bass Ackwards, news commentator
* Thelma Hooch, helpful hints
* Maw Hirishi, advice columnist
* Bruiser LaRue, fey football player
* Big Fat, AKA, The Big Fat Balding Guy With the Cigar in His Mouth and His Pants Half-Zipped, pushy con man seller of a wide variety of worthless junk. Often joined by his mascot, Timmy the Termite who would endorse the product or pretend to be a famous celebrity endorsing the junk. Sign off line was always "And dis time I'm being honest wit' youse."

Burbank regularly satirized former Cincinnati mayor Jerry Springer, along with other local politicians, newscasters, and celebrities, such as former Cincinnati Reds owner "Saint CEO" Marge Schott. Satirical radio serials were also used to lampoon the (often struggling) Reds baseball team during the postseason playoffs ("The Hunt for the Reds' October") and the Cincinnati Bengals ("All My Bengals").

Before moving to afternoons, he started in the morning drive time slot.

Burbank often did his show from a home in north central Florida, while the rest of his show's cast and crew was in the WLW studios in Cincinnati.

Burbank's Earl Pitts daily "commentaries" are syndicated throughout the country on about 200 stations. Burbank's show is also heard, along with the rest of WLW's programming, on XM Satellite Radio Channel 173.

Burbank has won several major awards, including back-to-back Marconi Awards as Large Market Personality of the Year in 1990 and 1991.


Burbank founded and owns Burbank's Real Bar-B-Q and Ribs restaurant in Sharonville, Ohio. The restaurant features real pit barbecue, live blues music, and menus that include commentaries from Earl Pitts Uhmerikun.


On March 7, 2007, Burbank announced that he would retire on December 31, at the expiration of his contract. [cite news |first=John|last=Kiesewetter|title=WLW's Burbank will retire|url=|work=The Cincinnati Enquirer|date=2007-03-07|accessdate=2007-03-07] The last show was broadcast on Friday, December 21, 2007. Despite Burbank's retirement, Earl Pitts' commentaries will continue to broadcast on its network of affiliates including WLW.


External links

* [ Gary Burbank's page at]
* [ Earl Pitts Uhmerikun official site]
* [ Gary Burbank at WAKY retrospective site]
* [ Burbank's BBQ official site]
* [ Pirate BBC, all about The show]

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