Why We Give – Bob ’81 and Ginger Burns

Why do you give to Kentucky Wesleyan?

“When I moved from Owensboro to Lexington in 2003, I really lost touch with Kentucky Wesleyan.  I kind of “fell off the grid” in terms of any communication with the College.  About three years ago, it became evident that Ginger and I would be moving back to Owensboro, and we began to figure out a way to make it happen.

“About that same time, Wesleyan representative Blake Harrison contacted me, along with Ryan Lemond ’89, a fellow Wesleyan alum and co-worker with iHeartMedia in Lexington.  Blake was intentional about finding “lost” Wesleyan graduates and informing us about everything that was happening with the College since Bart Darrell became president.  Bart’s father, Dr. Darrell, was one of my favorite professors, so I was really interested to hear what Blake had to say.

“After we moved back in 2016, one of our goals was to get re-connected with the College and support the vision Bart and his team has for the future.”

Why do you encourage others to give to the College?

We realize our financial support helps pay bills today, but we primarily give to help Kentucky Wesleyan College build a firm foundation for the future.  And, we encourage others to do the same.

Why did you choose Wesleyan?

“Being from central Kentucky, local folks get caught up in the so-called Bluegrass triangle of Louisville, Lexington, and NKY/Cincinnati markets.  We knew Kentucky extended to the far western Paducah area, but didn’t really know much about life beyond I-65.  I had several athletic scholarship offers from schools in the central Kentucky region, but, for some reason, Kentucky Wesleyan just felt like the place where I needed to go to play basketball and continue my education.  I made the right decision and have never regretted it.”

What are special memories of your years as a student?

“Of course, there are lots of memories on the court at the Sportscenter, as well as, playing in some great places like the Checkerdome in St. Louis, Mid-State Coliseum in Memphis, and yes, Bellarmine’s Knight’s Hall in Louisville.  But, being inducted into the Order of Oak and Ivy and earning Wesleyan’s All-American Award meant a lot to me because both awards recognized character and strength beyond athletic and academic achievements.”

How did Wesleyan prepare you for your life and career?

“It’s often said that a college diploma is your ticket to learn . . . to really learn what it’s like to begin a career and earn a living in your chosen profession.  And, it’s true.  I learned more about advertising sales by peddling ads on the streets for six months than from attaining a tele-communications degree.  But, I learned more about community, relationships, discipline and teamwork during my time at Wesleyan that allowed me to be successful in a career of advertising.”

What was your degree/major?


Tell us about your career.

“I began right across the street at WBKR/WOMI selling radio advertising two weeks after graduating in May 1981.  Tele-communications department head Gary Drum gave us great advice when he drilled in us that unless you’re really good as an announcer or reporter, the real money to be made in media is in the advertising sales department. And he was right. I didn’t have the voice for on-air work, so began my career in ad sales.  After 22 years with WBKR/WOMI, I moved to Lexington and worked for Cumulus Media, the second largest radio company in the United States. After two years there, I joined the largest radio company in the U.S., Clear Channel Radio . . . which is now known as iHeartMedia and iHeartRadio.  I retired from iHeartMedia in May 2018.  But I have plenty to keep me busy, as Ginger and I own and operate LifeSong Advertising, a full-service advertising agency.  Plus, we have invested in several commercial properties, mostly around Owensboro, including the All About You Salon & Spa.

Tell us about your family.

Wife:  Ginger Ann.

Three step-daughters and seven grandchildren.