Conrad began his broadcast career in 1968 reporting on agricultural market news for Montana radio and television stations. In 1975 he established the Northern AG Network, beginning with four stations and growing to 31 by the time he sold it to enter the political arena. In 1979 Conrad and Dale Fairlee build Laurel’s first radio station.
Burns began his political career in 1986, winning a seat on the Yellowstone County Commission. In 1988 he became only the second Montana Republican to win a seat in the U.S. Senate. During his 18-year tenure in the Senate, Conrad championed small market broadcasters and rural telecommunications issues while serving on the Commerce Committee. He is a co-author of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. He also served on the Appropriations Committee and the Interior Committee.
Burns served in the Marine Corps. He and his wife Phyllis have two children.