November 24, 2015
Radio is known for its unexpected shocks and abrupt changes, who would have ever imagined a significant bombshell would rock internet radio. Monday, May 20, 2013 internet talk radio host Mike O’Meara of the famed The Mike O’Meara Show (TMOS) announced that twenty plus year veteran Buzz Burbank, aka Michael Elston, has left the show. Making Friday May 17 his final appearance on the internet radio podcast that’s also rebroadcast on 102.9FM WTNT Washington DC & 1630 KCJJ.
Michael Elston, now to be referred to as his radio name Buzz Burbank, was a long standing member of the Mike O’Meara Show. With over twenty years of being the news man with the velvet voice, Buzz possessed a radio gift that young broadcasters like myself aspire for. Burbank often referred to on the show as the “crotchety old man”, was the wisest and most intriguing man of the group. Buzz coined the phrase “thank you Florida” when he concluded a news story about some off the wall Floridians. When on broadcast radio, most recently with the former WJFK, Buzz had his clan of sexy women referred to as Buzz-babes.
In mid 2012 Burbank revealed plans to branch out from TMOS but backed off the plans after some loving nudging from his radio counterparts host Mike O’Meara, Robb Spewak, Oscar Santana and on air business manager Mark Ronick. To the delight of millions Burbank remained on the show. However, never to be the same. It seemed at times after Burbanks initial announcement, then the persuaded change of mind, Burbank began drifting away from the rhythm of the show or some would say host Mike O’Meara began drifting or pushing away from Burbank in a silent displeasure of Burbanks attempt to leave the show.
One example dates to January 2013 when TMOS announced its agreement with WTNT for the re-airing of the show during evening drive resulting in better time management of the show. In that show, like every show, the news with Buzz closed out every show. With the new time constraints host Mike O’Meara in the middle of Buzz doing his news played Buzz off. Burbanks irritation from that stunt was palpable for weeks. Even as a listener I was uncomfortable. The reason Buzz rushed through his news was due to the over-run of other segments. This is just one example of how the wheels of Burbank began loosening from the axels of TMOS.
Burbank; not only being known for having a radio voice of god, he’s synonymous for his near death medical battle in late 2011. This battle was chronicled in detail on TMOS which consisted of Oscar Santana breaking down emotionally and believing that he just said his last goodbyes to Burbank as he laid in a medically induced comma at a local Washington DC hospital. Though the other cast members of the show continued on entertaining the underlying irrefutable concern for Buzz was evident in every show until Buzz’s return.
Who will ever know the real reason behind Burbanks departure after three years on the internet incarnation of TMOS and over thirty years in broadcast radio. We wish him all the best in success and we know that TMOS will never be quite the same. No one can replace the one and only, the man the myth, Buzz Burbank. It’s a sad day for many radio fans across the nation and throughout the world.