Gene Burns, longtime KGO-AM host who was fired by that station last November in a cost-cutting purge, said Tuesday he suffered a stroke three months ago that has affected the speech center of his brain.

“I am enthusiastic and thankful for the progress I have made,” he said on the NewsTalk910 website. “Most days, I have speech therapy and visits from great friends and colleagues.”

Clear Channel’s KKSF-AM 910 hired Burns, 71, to do the afternoon drive shift in January, but he never made it on the air. Instead, various KGO personalities who were fired on the same day as Burns (John Rothmann, Gil Gross, Bill Wattenburg) along with those who left KGO earlier (Rosie Allen and Ed Baxter), have been filling in for Burns.

“Although I do not have a specific date for my return to the air, I listen each day to NewsTalk 910, giving me motivation to re-join the conversation about the issues of the day,” Burns said.

Burns, who has done talk radio in Philadelphia (WCAU-AM), Boston (WRKO) and New York (WOR), arrived at KGO in 1994. Adding a Libertarian voice to KGO, he held down the 7-10 p.m. slot. Here’s his online bio.

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  1. You have to respect and admire Gene Burns. He's always raised the level of quality on the airwaves. Gene, I'm praying for sunny days ahead for you to enjoy in good health. All the best. Tony Gill

  2. I still miss Gene, he is one of the best talk show hosts in the US today. I loved both his knowledgeable news talk show and his thoughtful Dining Around show!

  3. Hope your recovery is going well. I miss your voice and style. Can't stand the repetitive new KGO format…Hope to hear you on 910 soon!

  4. I to miss the old KGO and I really miss Gene on Saturday mornings. My husband just suffered a stroke so I know what you are going through Gene.. I miss you and pray for you. P.S. Have you tried singing, it seems to work for my husband!

  5. Great fill-in hosts, but they aren't Gene Burns. I miss the old KGO-that's where I got my news, thought about opposing views, checked in to see how the Bay Area was thinking, but mostly to hear you moderate all of the above with logic, thoughtful opinion, and wit. I hope you are doing well.

  6. Dear Gene-i hope your recovery is going well, I still miss you on my evening drive homes and especially saturday mornings! Your fans all miss you.

  7. Hoping this finds you on the road to a complete
    recovery. We miss you in the Boston area. You
    are a true talk Master.

  8. Gene,

    Miss you much – please come back soon! While Gil and John are great substitutes, you are the best. Been listening to you since you arrived in San Francisco in 1994.

    Hoping for a speedy recovery.

  9. Good suggestion to hire talent of those who have been filling in for Gene. Let me add that John Rothmann is also a draw for me. In fact, the entire lineup has appeal for me.

    As for Gene, my very best wishes for his recovery. May I also suggest that any "voice vanity" of Mr. Burns, the radio station and others be set aside and that consideration be given to allowing Gene to restart on the air even with his speech disability — perhaps in 5-10 or 15 minute commentary segments. There should be any number of potential sponsors. As a society, we need to get a handle on this disability and, if Gene is willing to allow this insight into a condition that is typically private, there is also the potential of a great public service.

    Some great guests might be his speech therapists and doctors. It could be a component of the Dining Around program with focus on healthy dining.

    My step-mother died recently after spending three years in nursing home care following a stroke. There's a boomer generation out there in radio-land that is being touched by stroke or will be. It is high time for stroke to come out of the closet!

    How about getting the power of 910 increased?

  10. With all due respect to Gene Burns, I hope management of 910 hires some of the hosts who have been filling in for him, and gives them regular weekday time slots. How about Gil Gross for afternoon drive, Rosey and Ed mornings, Bill Wattenburg midday. Seems like a line up like that could be bringing in money in just a few ratings books.

  11. Gene, I wish you all the best in your recovery. You are a major talent in this town. You've always impressed me with your ability to sort through issues and analyze them with intellectual honesty. Your influence of the "issues of the day" will be sorely missed if you do not return to the air. Thanks also to the management of 910 for staying by your side when it would be easy to have replaced you. I hope the talent that has been subbing for you finds permanent homes on the new "news talk" station in the Bay Area.

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