Mark Burley on Launching, Programming and Networking
Updated: Dec 11, 2019
Mark Burley has devoted his career to radio. He started out broadcasting in his teens and even built Canada’s largest College frequency radio station from the ground up, developing it into an integral “living lab” for the students of the Broadcasting Program at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario. He has enjoyed a successful run as an on-air personality, a production manager, a promotion manager and senior level program director.
Mark was the Group Program Director for Bell Media’s 22 radio stations in the BC Interior, where he received industry recognition with not one, not two, but six consecutive Program Director of the Year Awards and Station of the Year for Sun FM on 5 occasions. When asked about the secret to his success, he humbly maintains that it was the great people around him that made those wins possible, explaining that it is always a healthy combination of staff commitment to the community, while remaining visible and accessible in the industry at large, that makes it a station successful.
How he made time for it all, we'll probably never know (though he does give us some helpful tips during the interview!). While at Bell, Mark mentored 7 Program Directors across 5 formats, within 7 different clusters. He also led the Sun FM Network from Kelowna which consistently topped ratings in the Okanagan Valley.
In spite of his many successes, and not unlike countless radio professionals all over, Mark was unceremoniously relieved of his role at Bell in early 2017 -- as was his wife, Janet Burley, who was also shown the door after eleven years as a General Manager for Bell Media in Penticton. In our one-on-one, Mark reflects on the time since his termination and tells us that while it was a tough break, he received overwhelming support from his peers in he and his wife Janet. And today, Mark spends his time at the helm of his own Broadcast Consulting Company AMFM Media.
Mark offers some great advice in this week's episode; he tells us about the importance of staying nimble with responsive creative production so radio doesn't sound how television looks. As we say, the biggest opportunity for radio is in the live and the now. Mark explains the value that radio stations offers by serving their local communities. He even tells us about working with his favourite personalities, Kevin and Sonya; and how he was dubbed "Early" Mark Burley by the likes of Kurt Dixon and Derek Botton.
These days, Mark is weighing job offers from across Canada, deciding where he wants to land. He's loved radio and loved being on the air. We'd be willing to wager that there's another PD operations job in his future, but who knows where. For the moment, Mark is enjoying the freelance projects he is working on from his home office in Kelowna, between his regular phone calls and checking Milkman, of course.
Mark lets s us in on what makes the West coast the envy of western Canada, and its rise in the lifestyles of the rich and famous with exposure on TV shows like Hockey Wives with NHLers like Carey Price and Ryan Getzlav living there in the off-season. What's not to love... wine, water, and sunshine. When I worked in Edmonton, a number of my co-workers found their way there... and stayed. How does a once secluded part of the country adjust with the rise of digital? Listen to the episode and Mark will tell you all about it.