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Goodnight and Goodbye, Alex Burton

Before there was a Stephen Colbert or Jon Stewart, Dallas had Canadian transplant Alex Burton reporting the news at midnight on then WBAP, known today as KXAS. Instead of a desk and showy set, he sat in a chair alongside a plant that he called Arthur and read from wire service copy. Sometimes he liked what he read, but we all loved the ones that didn’t meet with his approval. Those got tossed to the floor in disgust.

Eventually, Alex moved onto other media outlets, but retained his curmudgeonly charm. In 2002 he was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame and years later he was named a Living Legend of North Texas Journalism by the Dallas Press Club.

Today Alex died from prostate cancer at the age of 80.

14 comments on “Goodnight and Goodbye, Alex Burton

  1. One of the great joys of my life was sitting in the dark at Joe Miller’s and listening to Alex enlighten the room with that great voice. He was a man for whom laughter was invented because he could pass it along to other people….

  2. I babysat for Alex back in the late 70’s and he was one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met in my life. My life was enriched just by knowing him.

  3. He was an incredible guy with the most marvelous twinkle in his eye and bear hug at Joe Miller’s.

    @Mike: Alex was a journalist who in his own way paved the way for the likes of Stephen and Jon, who are making today’s headlines more palatable.

  4. Alex and I have been backyard neighbors for 40 years and friends for much more than that –from back when we covered the police beat in 1966 — he at ch 5 and I at the News.I’ve never met anyone who was so inquisitive, so multi-talented (he wrote a children’s orchestral piece, crafted wooden bowls, did a quilt, wrote several books, fired ceramics, and so much more), and cared so much for his community and his jourmalism profession. If it was a cause he believed in, he was there to serve. Even in his final hospice days, he was giving orders to check on this or that or to kick someone in the backside to get whatever-it-was futher down the road. Alex was a true treasure. A light! A curmudgeon? At times. But only because he cared. We love you, Alex. And we miss you.

  5. Truly one of the most memorable voices in the history of Dallas radio. I’d keep running into him at events (usually the Dallas Press Club show), and he always seemed like the most popular guy in the room. We’d talk a bit, and having that voice aimed at you was really an experience. Between him, Ron Chapman and the guys over at The Zoo, Dallas radio in the 80’s became very listenable in the mornings. He will very much be missed.

  6. Better to compare him to
    Keith Olberman in looks, and an irreverent/sardonic attitude to news stories as well as frequent firings from broadcast gigs.

  7. God speed Alex into Eternity.Thanks for sharing your gifts with humanity. I wish I got to meet you – hmmm someday. May you rest in peace.

  8. At the Dallas Downtown News, I had the honor of editing Alex weekly. He was a joy even when he was being cantankerous. He could make a great cup of eggdrop soup in an electric coffee pot. For many years, we had an annual lunch date to the State Fair. Miss that. Miss him.