Brouhaha Over Billboards For Burke In Orlando
February 4, 2011 at 3:57 AM (PT)
A billboard promoting STAR OVER ORLANDO Talk WEUS-A (THE BIG 810 AM)/ORLANDO afternoon host SHANNON BURKE's show has been removed by the billboard's owner, CLEAR CHANNEL OUTDOOR. The ad's design showed BURKE with a smoking gun and the slogan "Listen or Else."
The ORLANDO SENTINEL reports that BURKE said on the air that CLEAR CHANNEL, his former employer when he worked at crosstown Talk WTKS (REAL RADIO 104.1), was trying to marginalize him and did not want a former employee taking away listeners. WTKS PD CHRIS KAMPMEIER said that he did not have anything to do with the billboard's removal and would be surprised if anyone in the broadcast division of CLEAR CHANNEL did, but WEUS owner CARL COMO TUTERA told the SENTINEL that a sales representative from CLEAR CHANNEL OUTDOOR called the billboard "in bad taste" and said it had to come down.
On its website, the station posted a note saying that after the billboards went up, "almost immediately certain people started getting bent out of shape. 'News' reporters began jabbering wildly about 'insensitivity' and boorishness, while the rest of us ... you know, the ones with common sense ... saw the billboards for what they are ... Hot Talk leaves a smoking microphone and if you can't handle the heat, you're gonna miss out on some great radio."
BURKE was fired by CLEAR CHANNEL two years ago after the incident in which he accidentally shot his dog and the bullet grazed his then-wife; he served six months in jail and went through rehab and treatment. He returned to the air on JULY 5th, 2010. The station said that the gun imagery was not intended to refer to the incident.