‘Rock School’ wins its 7th award in radio

Professor of Communication Dr. Joe Burns and his wife Tammy Burnsco host a radio show called “Rock School.” The show has been going on for over 10 years and has recently received a golden statue in the 23rd annual Communicator Awards.
Courtesy of Dr. Joe Burns

KSLU radio show, “Rock School,” won its seventh statue in the 23rd annual Communicator Awards for the episode “Jackson/McCartney and the ATV Catalogue.” This is the third golden statue “Rock School” has received.

“The award is given once a year,” said Joe Burns, professor of communication and host of “Rock School.” “Everybody submits, and then there’s a group of about 600 media professionals from all around the world to vote on these things. What’s so wonderful is we’ve won a little thing here and there in the past, but this year was amazing. We won the gold statue over three categories, which was astounding to me because that doesn’t happen. Apparently this one struck a nerve with people.”

The show is co-hosted by Burns’ wife Tammy and airs Thursdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m.




“‘Rock School’ is a weekly one-hour lecture on something in music,” said Burns. “This week we’re only talking about when fans sued rock stars. Last week was all about Alexa. My wife and I are recording two this weekend. We always do two at a time to get ahead in case something happens. We’re doing distortion, and the other one we’re doing is musicians that are not on stage with the band. That’s what ‘Rock School’ is. It’s a lecture once a week. We have a social media presence, not much of one. I’m not a big social media guy.”

The show began in 2006 as part of a KSLU fundraiser when Burns made a proposition to station General Manager Todd Delaney.

“It’s 10 years on now,” said Burns. “We’ve passed the 10-year mark. The radio station, KSLU, used to have a fundraiser. I said to Delaney, ‘I’ll give you 50 bucks for the fundraiser, but you’ve got to let me on the air, you’ve got to let me play anything I please.’ I went on the air with another disc jockey named Chad Pierce who went by Chad P. In that one hour, we raised more money than any other time span during the whole thing. We came back the next time, and we did it again, and we raised more money than anybody else. I said to Chad, ‘Why don’t we try doing a show that’s exactly this hour that we’re doing?’”

Burns originally planned to leave the show after 10 years but now finds himself without reason to let go.

“My wife allowed me to spend about $3500 to put a music and voice studio in our house,” said Burns. “Since I have the studio in my house, I was gonna quit at 10 years. Things keep happening. There’s always things to talk about in music. The only way I’d quit, is if I turned into someone who could not find one more thing to talk about. If the topics start becoming dumb, I would probably walk away. I don’t ever see that happening because there’s always a Taylor Swift who’s suing somebody, there’s always a musician that passed away.”

Burns feels students should listen to his show because it is a topic they will enjoy.

“It’s a topic that they like,” said Burns. “It’s music. It’s not like I’m trying to teach you something you absolutely can’t stand. It’s a hell of a lot of fun, and there’s this thing about music. It covers absolutely every part of the music industry, and I think kids would absolutely adore it. They just have to go and grab some podcasts, and they’re all free. I don’t charge for any of this stuff.”