If you lived in the Bay Area for the past 15 years and owned a radio, you’ve probably heard of Gene Burns, a longtime talk show host for KGO 810.
Burns passed away on Sunday at the age of 72, according to KGO Radio, and he will be missed. He spent more than 15 years at the station before being let go around the end of 2011.
Many a times have I tuned in to listen to The Gene Burns Program while in the car, and I always enjoyed his distinct voice and opinion. He was never afraid to tackle any issue, no matter how controversial, and would always argue with callers who opposed his viewpoints.
Burns was ranked among the top 25 radio talk show hosts of all-time by Talkers Magazine, on a list that included Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, and Larry King, among other greats.
He was well-known for his libertarian views, and even ran for the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party in 1984.
“Free speech is an American parlor sport and intellectually based verbal combat is the essence of its exercise”, he said in his bio for KKSF 910, where he worked in his final years following his departure from KGO. “Citizen activism is at the very heart of democracy”.
Burns has undoubtedly left behind a lasting legacy on listeners and co-workers alike.
Here is what Charles Karel, who worked with Burns, had to say on his blog:
I met him at the height of KGO’s dominance, when he was top of the heap Monday through Friday and on weekends. He was enjoying his life. His body was betraying his will at times. Because Gene was an unstoppable force. His stamina, his desire to be behind that microphone out of the sheer JOY of it, was an incredible thing to see and an inspiration to all who got to share in it.
Rest in peace, Gene Burns. You will be missed.