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Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016

Beverage, broadcasting family breaks ground on new building

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Burks Beverage and Burks Broadcasting family Natalie Burks, Eddie Burks and Mary Burks stand at the corner of Hoff and Huish roads in the South Dyersburg Industrial Park, where construction of a new building to house a beverage distribution warehouse and radio broadcasting office is under way.
The changing landscapes of the beverage industry and radio broadcast business have prompted the Dyersburg family with interest in both concerns to invest in a new building.

"It's really became a win, win, win situation for us," said Eddie Burks, owner of Burks Beverage and Burks Broadcasting. "There's a synergies we can realize under one roof that we can't now."

Construction of the 40,000-square-foot building, at the corner of Hoff and Huish roads in the south Dyersburg Industrial Park, is currently under way with earth-moving equipment flattening the land for the foundation.

The impetus for the project was spurred by the 2006 decision by Burks to remove the beverage company from the ever-increasing costs of mixing and distributing sodas like Pepsi and Dr. Pepper and join a cooperative.

Michigan-based Wis-Pak leads a consortium of 34 shareholders, who like Burks operated bottling operations, to reduce overhead, customize delivery and offer speedier transport to customers. Since Burks shifted the local bottling operation in favor of Wis-Park last year as the southernmost member, other bottlers further south joined. This put the Dyersburg operation as the ideal location for a distribution hub, said Burks.

Burks said as many as 40 people could be hired to work the two-shift days, in addition to local trucking firms benefiting from the firm's transport needs.

The broadcasting group -- WASL 100.1 FM and WTRO 1450 AM, and The Eagle 97.3 FM -- will benefit from sharing the facility with the warehouse distribution. A quarter of the building's floor space is to house the radio station.

Burks said the station was among the first in the nation to gain a repeater license for an AM station to be broadcast on FM. WTRO since November has also been heard at 101.7 FM.

"We will share a receptionist, conference rooms, things like that," said Burks. "That just makes a whole lot of sense to capture those synergies."

The current radio building, on Radio Road north of Dyersburg, is leased from Trimble investor Hamilton Parks. The 10,000-square-foot station at the new location will almost triple the space from the existing 3,300-square-foot office.

A 500-foot aerial tower will be sited at the Huish Road address.

Burks, who as head of the Dyersburg Regional Planning Commission in November recused himself from the vote to approve the plan, said tower height is a critical element in broadcasting.

"The higher you are, the farther away the signal can be heard," he said.

The warehouse is scheduled to open in May 2008, said Burks.

The broadcast group is expected to begin operating out the new building in fall 2008, he said.

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Thirty years ago, I assisted my stepfather, who drove a route truck for the bottling plant here in Dyersburg, during school spring break. The atmosphere was hard-working, friendly, and professional altogether - their standards of cleanliness and quality control were impressive, and I don't mind telling you, few things compare to a freshly-bottled Dr. Pepper right off the assembly line!

That said, I've enjoyed Burks Family Broadcasting as well, for many years - and of late, I can honestly say there isn't an "oldies station" in this nation to beat WTRO - great music around the clock, news, commentary, weather, and programs that really do support the community interest.

Best of luck in your new "digs!" And many thanks for the new FM simulcast on 107.7. Once again - that hits the spot!

-- Posted by Tony Romero on Tue, Dec 4, 2007, at 2:05 PM

Way to Eddie, Natalie, and Mary! This sounds great for Dyersburg.

My first job in my 30+ years broadcasting career (thanks to Carl Minton) was with WTRO-AM in 1968 -- and I was there when WTRO-FM (Changed later to WASL) signed on the air for the first time. Even worked for WDSG next...and it's good to see that the Burks put so much emphasis on the radio stations in Dyersburg.

-- Posted by greasons on Tue, Dec 4, 2007, at 11:54 PM

It would be nice to hear some of the Dyersburg ball games outside of Dyer County. I hope the new tower gets a new, stronger transmitter. If they really wanted to get creative, the could do some broadcasting in HD !

-- Posted by terryt on Wed, Dec 5, 2007, at 1:35 AM

WTRO/WASL need to look into an internet broadcast when they get the new digs; so those of us out of town can listen.

-- Posted by CodeyH on Fri, Dec 7, 2007, at 5:31 PM

greasons, you were the second best announcer at TRO at time. ;-) Do you still like Poke Salad Annie?

-- Posted by gb on Sat, Dec 29, 2007, at 12:43 AM


You are correct, sir about my being the 2nd best DJ on WTRO back in the day. I forgot about Terry Haley. :-)

-- Posted by greasons on Sat, Dec 29, 2007, at 5:55 PM

And, of course, I still like Poke Salad Annie. We wore that record out before it became a national hit -- My buddy, Glen Barr and I.

-- Posted by greasons on Sat, Dec 29, 2007, at 5:57 PM

Ha, I had forgotten about that kid, the kid who grew up and became the mayor of UC. The next time you're in town listen to 101.7 FM. It's a WTRO 1450 simulcast.

-- Posted by gb on Sat, Dec 29, 2007, at 10:29 PM

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