NEWS & MEDIA

Southeastern radio program ‘Rock School’ wins top honors

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 Joe and Tammy Burns
by: Tonya Lowentritt

RADIO ROCKS - Southeastern Louisiana University’s 90.9FM KSLU’s “Rock School” radio show has earned top honors in this year’s Communicator Awards. The radio show, hosted by Southeastern Communication Professor Joe Burns, left, and co-hosted by his wife Tammy, picked up its seventh statue in the 23rd Annual Awards competition for the episode “Jackson/McCartney and the ATV Catalogue.”


     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University’s 90.9FM KSLU’s “Rock School” radio show has earned top honors again in this year’s Communicator Awards. The radio show, hosted by Southeastern Communication Professor Joe Burns, picked up its seventh statue in the 23rd Annual Awards competition for the episode “Jackson/McCartney and the ATV Catalogue.”
     The Communicator Awards are presented and voted on by The Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts, a group of 600 media professionals from all 50 states and 15 foreign countries.
     “This is our seventh time taking a Communicator Award but it’s only the third time Rock School has been awarded the gold statue,” said host Burns. “It’s also our biggest win because we took top honors in the Production, Programs and News Program categories.”
     Rock School aired its 521st episode this year on April 9, passing the 10-year mark. During that time, the radio show has never run a repeat. Every week, a brand new show aired on KSLU, was podcasted through iTunes, and posted to the PRX network to run on affiliate radio stations, Burns said.
     Rock School is currently syndicated in 17 markets, including Salamanca, Spain. Rock School’s Christmas and beginning of the year shows are often picked up as additional programming by radio stations across the country.  
     It is also listed on multiple “Best Rock Podcast” lists.   
     Just recently Joe and his wife and co-host Tammy Burns recorded the 550th Rock School Radio Show.
     After several previous co-hosts, Burns turned to his wife for assistance.
     “She allowed me to spend $3,500 to outfit a complete voice and music studio in an upstairs room of our house,” he said. “I don’t see us ever stopping production. Something is always happening in music, and I need to talk about it.”
     Rock School has interviewed celebrities, including Ben Stein, a fan who voiced the introduction of the show. Rock School has also interviewed multiple artists, including Greg Rich, a guitar designer at Gibson; Joey Sikes, guitarist with the Babys; Robert Scoville, audio technician for Tom Petty; and Noel Monk, road manager of Van Halen from 1978 to 1985.
     Although Burns has been a constant part of the show for the past decade, Rock School has had four co-hosts over its 10-year run: former Southeastern student Chad Pierce, Southeastern reference librarian Beth West, KSLU sales manager Monique Gregiore and now Tammy Burns.
The first person to sit in the co-host chair was Pierce, who went by the handle “Chap P.”
     “We went on the air together for the very first time back in 2001 when I was a radio student and Dr. Burns was my professor,” recalled Pierce. “That was the most fun I’ve ever had on the radio. That’s why when I joined the KSLU staff in 2006, I knew I wanted to repeat that gig again the first chance I got. Little did we both know that when we were given the chance to jump on together for the annual pledge drive, it would eventually become the weekly juggernaut that turned into one the most fun and rewarding experiences of my life. Doc is my radio brother, and I'll always cherish the time we spent together making Rock School episodes.”
     “Ten years of unique and interesting show topics takes dedication and talent. Rock School is a success because of Dr. Joe Burns,” said former co-host Gregoire. “His genuine love and immense knowledge for all music is what makes listeners tune in each week. Sitting in the chair to his left remains one of the best experiences in my life.”
     The Rock School radio show is made available to radio stations and listeners free of charge. To hear the latest episode, tune into 90.9 KSLU Thursdays at 5 p.m. or Sundays at 4 p.m.  Podcast downloads are also available by searching iTunes for “Rock School KSLU” or by visiting the show’s website: southeastern.edu/rockschool.




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