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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Radio's Mr. Fabulous Bill Burton Dies at 85

It's a sad day for the radio industry. Radio?s number one ambassador has passed away at the age of 85. Burton died as a result of head injuries suffered from a fall at home on Tuesday. Bill Burton will be missed by too many people to count and by an entire industry that appreciated him as its number one cheerleader. Bill Burton was everybody?s friend. He was always positive. He was radio?s biggest advocate. He was fabulous. Radio Ink Publisher Eric Rhoads said, ?Bill embraced me as a friend and gave me constant encouragement over decades. He?s been a great mentor, taught us all vital lessons like ?Never take no from someone who can?t say yes,? and he was always positive in spite of numerous back surgeries and pain. He is probably responsible for more auto billing to radio than anyone in history. He is a radio legend, and there is a big hole in my heart over his loss.?

Bill Burton started his radio career at the then-independent rep firm Eastman Radio and was President/Chairman when Jacor bought Eastman in 1987. He's headed DRAG since 1995, and consistently traveled the country giving "Why Radio" presentations to top decisionmakers in the advertising community. Burton estimates that, during his 30-year-plus career, he's contributed to about $300 million in radio sales.

Burton was given the Radio Ink Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009

For over 40 years, Bill Burton was my mentor and friend. He was never too busy to answer a question, offer advice or listen to a concern. He was one of the most positive influences on my career and leaves a legacy from which the industry can continue to benefit if we all take a page from his play book and "Be Fabulous!"
Radio Ink General Manager Deborah Parenti

"For the whole of his career, Bill Burton has been Radio's greatest promoter rivaling the greatest promoters of all time: P.T. Barnum, Wild Bill Hickok, Don King, Muhammad Ali, Vince McMahon, Bill Veeck, Bill Graham, David Merrick, Norman Granz, and Walt Disney. In point of fact, Bill?s fingerprints are on every automobile order you ever got out of Detroit, going so far has to arrange for the University of Michigan band to strike up the band under the office window of a motor city decision maker whom Bill discovered was a U of M graduate. Top that if you can."
Dave "Giff" Gifford

"There was nobody I was closer to in the business than Bill. He was always up energetic and positive about life. He has carried lots of pain the last 5 years and never complained. He was always there and could not have been a better friend"
Bob Liggett

(12/20/2014 10:12:01 PM)
I am so sad hearing this news. Bill was a friend to all of us in the radio industry, and will be sorely missed. We have lost so many good radio professionals in the past few years. Bill was someone who made you proud to say "I'm a salesman". RIP, Bill

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