How Real Is Your Favorite Radio Personality?

Posted by | May 29, 2009 15:06 | Filed under: Top Stories

Shannon Burke is the Florida radio personality charged with shooting his wife and dog.  The Orlando Sentinel has a fascinating look at just what went wrong.  He has just been released from a Seminole County Jail after posting $25,000 bail, accused of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and animal cruelty, after allegedly shooting his wife and dog on April 30. What I found of particular interest was this:

Burke was a free-wheeling, left-wing talk-show host in Austin, Texas, when Clear Channel brought him to Orlando in 2001. Three years later, after Burke cultivated a local following as a staunchly conservative – though not highly rated – host on 540 AM, the company promoted him. Burke moved down the hall to Real Radio 104.1 FM, a popular blue-collar show that did well in the ratings.


Burke assumed the role of a conservative “bad boy,” riding his bike around town and getting tattoos.  He worked for a radio station that imaged itself as a bunch of tough guy outlaws, doing gigs in bars to play up those roles.  He is described by at least one friend as someone who loved animals and, again, he was at one time a liberal radio host.

We all have our on-air personas; our job is to entertain to the best of our abilities and attract audiences on behalf of our radio stations and our sponsors.  You hear rumors about this host or that one, and whether he or she truly believes the things that are put out over the air. You hear whispers that one host or other isn’t really liberal as portrayed, or isn’t really such a staunch conservative but the act works, and it’s good for ratings.  I just can’t imagine how someone can flip from left to right, from right to left, from decent, law-abiding citizen to crazed shooter of wives and animals.

Michael Hood at Blatherwatch asks a good question:

How many more talk hosts are out there, hollow and seared inside because they took up a political, attitudinal stance alien to their natures because market management demands it.


Easy to see how it might make a man drink hard into the night and crave the taste of gun oil.


How much of what we hear on radio is really an act? Does Rush really want Obama to fail, and isn’t he really laughing all the way to the bank at the Republicans who take him so seriously?  Is the hate spewed by some hosts a way to appease the far reaches of the personalities of those attracted to talk radio?  And when does one trade a good buck and a great gig for one’s soul?

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Copyright 2009 Liberaland
By: Alan

Alan Colmes is the publisher of Liberaland.

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