Hi, it's Sheila.
You may have seen the story this week in the news about radio legend Gary Burbank bringing his Earl Pitts character to WGN America. When I heard about it, I called Gary to find out more.
Talking to Gary is a little like watching a stand-up routine, only you're not sitting in a crowd with a bunch of people in a theatre or a bar swigging beer.
When I was a kid, my family spent a lot of time with my aunt and uncle in Columbus. My brother, cousins, and I would pile into my Uncle John's car and get so peeved when he turned on talk radio. But before long, we would be laughing our heads off at one Gary Burbank, usually doing a Gilbert Gnarley routine in which he called some unsuspecting person and asked ridiculous questions.
Fast forward to a few years ago, and I got to know Gary as a friend, a much older friend. (Sorry Gary!) He is one of the funniest people I know, and I, like thousands of his fans, was sad to see him leave his afternoon radio show.
However, Earl Pitts has lived on in radio syndication. He's on about 125 radio stations across the U.S., still making listeners laugh with his redneck take on, well, just about anything. Gary tells me new radio stations are signing on all the time.
Burbank recently shot 8 mini pilots to air on WGN America. He told me the folks in charge there were first thinking of running them as commentaries on WGN News. Gary says he thought, "the journalists will love that! There goes all credibility!" Instead, Sean Comptom of WGN is considering running the ninety second bits between TV shows. Gary told me he re-worked Pitts radio commentaries to fit into the TV windows, including a bit about vegetarians. Earl doesn't like vegetarians and says he'd like to open a hot dog stand at a PETA convention. Pitts believes says the best way to alleviate the methane problem cows cause is cutting them up and eating them.
The air date for Pitts' appearances is not set yet, and Gary says he doesn't know how it will all play out, but I know this. Somebody's gonna get a laugh......the good, deep down gut busting kind.