Gene Burns

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Gene Burns
Radio talkshow host Gene Burns doing a remote from Napa California for Dining Around with Gene Burns in March 2006.
Born(1940-12-03)December 3, 1940
DiedMay 25, 2013(2013-05-25) (aged 72)
OccupationRadio host
Known forPolitical and social commentary; Food and wine expert

Gene Burns (December 3, 1940 – May 25, 2013) was an American talk radio host. He hosted Dining Around with Gene Burns, a wine and cheese program, which aired Saturdays on NewsTalk 810 AM in San Francisco. He was originally also scheduled to host The Gene Burns Program, a political and social commentary show, that was to air weekday afternoons on NewsTalk 810, but that time slot was taken over by Gil Gross.

He had previously broadcast both shows on KGO in San Francisco. On December 1, 2011, it was announced he was among the hosts cut by KGO as it shifted to more of a news format.[1] Burns was scheduled to continue his shows on the radio station KKSF 910 AM on January 3, 2012.[2][3] Instead, fill-in hosts took his place as he recovered from an unknown illness. On April 3, 2012, Burns disclosed on his KKSF blog that he was recovering from a stroke that had resulted in aphasia.[4] The time slot for the Gene Burns program has been taken over by the Gil Gross show.

Burns worked in several different major markets throughout his broadcasting career. In addition to San Francisco, he also hosted radio programs in Baltimore, Boston, New York City, Orlando and Philadelphia.

Early life[edit]

Burns was born and raised in Hornell, New York.[5][6] Following high school graduation, he attended Rutgers University before becoming involved in the local politics of Hornell, serving as chairman of a young citizens' committee.[7]

Radio career[edit]

In his early twenties, Burns was hired as news director for radio station WWHG in his hometown of Hornell, New York, before moving on to WSBA in York, Pennsylvania.[7][8] He began his career as talk radio host at WCBM in Baltimore in the mid-1960s. While at WCBM, Burns did two major international assignments, going to Vietnam[5][9] in 1968 and the Middle East in 1969.[8]

Following a brief stint with WEEI in Boston, Burns served as a talk show host as well as program director at WKIS-AM in Orlando, Florida, beginning in 1971. He would remain there until 1981, when he departed for WCAU in Philadelphia in 1981. He then returned to Orlando and WKIS in the early 1980s and was named the station's operations manager in 1984.[10] In 1985, Burns returned to Boston, hosting a talk show on WRKO for eight years.[8][11]

In 1993, Burns moved to New York City and began hosting a nationally syndicated talk program from the studios of WOR.[8][10]

In 1995, he resumed his broadcasting career at KGO-AM in San Francisco. He hosted a talk show of political and social commentary called The Gene Burns Program on weeknights, as well as a program that focused on wine and fine dining in the San Francisco Bay Area called Dining Around with Gene Burns which was broadcast weekly on Saturdays.[7][8][10]

Talkers magazine ranked Burns #24 on its list of The 25 Greatest Radio and Television Talk Show Hosts of All Time, in 2002.[5][12]


As a political commentator, Burns was known for his libertarian views.[7][8] He ran for the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party in 1984,[7][10][13] but withdrew his candidacy prior to the party's nominating convention citing a lack of financial support.[14][15] In 2008, Burns announced that he had "re-registered" as a member of the Democratic Party, which he had left in the late 1960s after having been a member for several years.[5][9]


Burns died May 25, 2013, in San Francisco. He had suffered two strokes and had other health problems. He was 72.[16][17]


  1. ^ "Four Hosts Out At KGO/San Francisco As Station Adds More News". December 1, 2011.
  2. ^ Lieberman, Rich (December 16, 2011). "Gene Burns headed back on the SF radio airwaves; starting KKSF-AM gig January 3". Rich Lieberman 415 Media.
  3. ^ Lucchesi, Paolo (December 19, 2011). "Gene Burns finds a new home, right up the dial". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  4. ^ "A message from Gene". April 3, 2012. Archived from the original on November 14, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d Bobbitt, Randy (2010). Us Against Them: The Political Culture of Talk Radio. Lexington Books. pp. 109–110. ISBN 9780739126394. Retrieved May 30, 2013.
  6. ^ "Gene Burns". San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition official site. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Radio Years – Who's Who: Gene Burns", Retrieved 2010-07-31. Archived July 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b c d e f (2002) "Talker Magazine Online: Radio#24: Gene Burns", Talkers Magazine Online. Retrieved 2010-07-31.
  9. ^ a b Burns, Gene (2008) "I Have Re-registered as a Democrat" Archived 2010-11-25 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved 2010-07-31.
  10. ^ a b c d Gene Burns biography and interview, Retrieved 2010-07-31.
  11. ^ Bickelhaupt, Susan (November 6, 1992) "Gene Burns Heads For The Big Time Taking a call from New York", The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-07-31.
  12. ^ (2002) "The 25 Greatest Radio and Television Talk Show Hosts of All Time", Talkers Magazine Online. Retrieved 2010-07-31.
  13. ^ Rothbard, Murray (February 1983) "For President: Gene Burns", The Libertarian Forum. Retrieved 2010-07-31.
  14. ^ "Candidate Withdraws From Race: Orlando Radio Host Shocks Libertarians". The Palm Beach Post. Associated Press. August 27, 1983. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  15. ^ Doherty, Brian "Libertarian Zionism, The Koch Bubble, and America's Third Largest Political Party". Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement. PublicAffairs. p. 420. ISBN 978-1-58648-572-6.
  16. ^ Stennett, Desiree (May 25, 2013). "Gene Burns: Longtime radio host dies at 72". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on June 30, 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  17. ^ Coté, John (May 26, 2013). "Longtime KGO host Gene Burns, 72, dies". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 31, 2013.

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