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Burke slaloms into expanding RSN

Ex-TW exec joins sports net as prexy, CEO

Bill Burke, who was on a fast track at Time Warner before he resigned as president and CEO of news and information at TW Digital Media earlier this year, has surfaced as president and CEO of RSN (Resort Sports Network).

RSN provides mountain-resort areas like Aspen and Vail with reports of weather conditions and lifestyle programming through five owned low-power TV stations and a Web site.

Rory Strunk, founder of RSN, says the privately held company will report next month that its second round of financing has raised $25 million, elevating RSN’s value to $90 million. The first round, completed in July 1999, Strunk says, yielded $25 million courtesy of Pilot House Associates, the family-investment office of the cable pioneer Amos Hostetter.

Burke, 34, who also served as president of the TBS cable network during his eight years at Turner Broadcasting and TW, will work on expanding the RSN.com Web site, tying it together with the TV stations and reinforcing the service it already sells to affiliated TV stations in resort areas not covered by the RSN O&Os. A sister company, RSN.com TV, packages news of winter sports for distribution to cable systems, including both news updates and longer magazine-type features.

RSN’s Web site allows outdoor-sports enthusiasts to buy tickets to resorts and book hotel rooms and condo shares. It also supplies a constant stream of weather updates for resorts throughout the U.S.

Strunk says the RSN Web site also plans to move into e-commerce because skiers, mountain bikers, golfers and other sports enthusiasts are constantly upgrading their equipment.

Burke says he’ll report to the new job on April 17, moving from his current home in Atlanta to RSN’s headquarters in Portland, Me.

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