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Radio Row INTERVIEW: Peter Burns scored his dream gig but the Press Box will remain in good hands

Colin D. | July 30, 2014

“The Press Box is my baby.” Burns told me. “I am not looking forward to leaving it but I know it’s in good hands.”

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Peter Burns was probably never long for the Denver market, although he arrived here at the perfect time for a sports talk radio honk. Transplanted from San Antonio, he entered the mountain time zone to cover the biggest stories in Denver history, starting with Tebowmania. “I literally got here in June of 2010,” Burns told me via telephone, “Right before Tebow’s first training camp.” He then went on to witness the signing of Peyton Manning and the frenzy it created. “I knew then how it felt in Miami when they signed Lebron,” Burns says.  

Thanks to the Broncos, Denver has been in the national spot light every year since Burns’ arrival. The stories surrounding the team provided him with numerous opportunities to gain national exposure. He never declined to do “phoners” in any market to talk about the team. He told me, “You never know who is listening, you never know who is going to hear your name.”

In addition to gaining recognition through media outlets in every region of the country, Burns has built his personal brand with the use of social media. He is a master of Twitter. “Social media allows me to be “on air” 24 / 7,” Burns says, “whether I am discussing a 16 inning Rockies loss or Sharknado it gives me a place to show my creativity.” Twitter also allows Burns a means to build relationships. “I have used it to become virtual friends with a great many people,” he says, “and then they have asked others “do you follow @peterburnsradio?” and it just snowballs.”

Peter Burns’ local popularity has developed thanks to his popular sports talk radio show the Press Box. It is simulcast on Mile High Sports radio and at DenverPost.com. The concept of involving the local newspaper in the production of the show was something Burns developed that is completely unique. He, along with columnist Mark Kiszla, his co-host, convinced the Post that hosts were using the paper’s content as fodder for shows every day and that they might as well step into the fray. The results have been favorable both for the Denver Post and for the Press Box show.

“The Press Box is my baby.” Burns told me. “I am not looking forward to leaving it but I know it’s in good hands.”  With Burns’ departure the Press Box will continue on. Mark Kiszla will remain along with co-hosts Oren Lomena and Brandon Krizstal, whom Burns has been molding to be his replacement on the show. “Brandon is a good producer,” he said, “and he can really book the show. The guy knows everybody”. The challenge for the verbose Krisztal will simply be to let others get a word in edgewise. Burns told me “Brandon has been working on letting the show “breathe” and I think he will do very well.”

The Press Box was a key component in Burns’ landing his dream job. According to him his new bosses were “fascinated by my non-traditional approach”. This approach is largely a product of the brokered radio model at Mile High Sports radio. Hosts essentially lease their time on air but own their content. “There is no Program Director to tell you what you can or cannot talk about,” Burns explains, “I think the model works well. But you only get out of it what you put into it.” I think it’s the future of radio, the next big thing.”

For the purpose of this article Burns asked that I not disclose specifically where he is going. That we will reveal here soon enough. But suffice it to say that Peter Burns will be covering a sport that he loves for a network he will be proud to be a part of based in a region of the country he is familiar with. He will be on TV as well as on the radio. He is going to badly miss Denver. “The sports media here is so friendly and helpful compared to other places.” he said. “Denver just has this vibe like it’s all one big family”.

Peter Burns truly became a part of Colorado’s family in the wake of the theater shooting in Aurora. His friend Jessica Redfield-Ghawi was among the victims who died on that tragic night. Burns claims that her death “changed literally everything in my life”. “Jessica lived her life with ten times the confidence of anyone I have ever known.”, Burns said, “She still encourages me to do things outside my comfort zone. I won’t ever be afraid to fail.”

By departing the Denver market Peter Burns joins personalities like Adam Schefter, Lauren Gardner, Lindsay Jones and Joel Klatt, all of whom have used the market as a launching pad to a national career.

Written by Colin D.

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