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CBS11/TXA21 meteorologist Mike Burger mapping out his retirement (updated with interview)

CBS11/TXA21 meteorologist Mike Burger has announced his retirement from broadcasting just five months after marking his 40th year in the business.

Burger, who joined the D-FW stations in 2000, earlier had spent seven years as Dallas-based Fox4's head meteorologist before leaving the station in 1996 for a four-year stint at Orlando's WKMG-TV.

Burger, who turns 65 in September, had signed a two-year contract with CBS11/TXA21 in March of this year. But in a telephone interview Friday, he said that upon further review, it was time to go.

"I found myself looking in the mirror, saying 'What are you doing?' " Burger said. "Do you want to do this until you're 70 and then drop over dead? It's time to have some fun."

Burger said his decision was crystallized after the recent death of his longtime girlfriend's mother. It persuaded him that life can be short and should be sweeter down the stretch. He also "knew this was going to be my last contract (with CBS11/TXA21), whether it was my decision to leave or theirs. So I decided it would be better to go out on my terms, and do it my way, so to speak."

He discussed the matter with news director Adrienne Roark, who told him, "I'll back you in whatever you decide to do," Burger said. In leaving he simply opted out of the remaining 19 months on his contract. "I knew there wasn't going to be any buyout or anything," he said. "It was my decision . . . It's been the best 10 years of my career."

In the previously released CBS11/TXA21 announcement, Burger said, "To say I have been a lucky man is an understatement. To say the good Lord smiled down on me is a fact. To say I will always hold dear the memories of my friends, co-workers and viewers for their support is a cherished truth."

CBS11/TXA21 president and general manager Gary Schneider said in the same news release that Burger's "wit, skill and sense of humor will be missed. But we respect his decision, and I know that he'll enjoy having more time to play golf, among other things."

Other things will take precedence in at least the immediate future. Burger and his girlfriend have a one-week trip to Ireland planned on the day after his retirement. Upon return, they'll be attending a wedding in Vancouver.

Burger's last weather segment in D-FW will be on CBS11's Saturday, Sept. 4th 10 p.m. newscast (it's been changed back again from 6 p.m.). He plans to remain in North Texas. CBS11/TXA21 will still have three meteorologists -- head man Larry Mowry, Jeff Jamison and Garry Seith.

"It was my wish. It was what I wanted to do," Burger said in the phone interview. "God knows I'll miss it."