Cumulus

Eric Byrnes: Ralph Barbieri’s replacement or Mr. T’s temporary rebound?

During Monday night’s San Francisco Giants game against the Philadelphia Phillies, you may have seen it on CSN Bay Area: Tom Tolbert and Eric Byrnes, sitting together in front of Larry Baer. It was almost like a new relationship gone public, comparable to when Kim Kardashian was recently seen leaving Kanye West’s house in the morning, wearing the same clothes from the night before.

Alright, not really. West and Kardashian very well might be fake-dating as a publicity stunt. And Tolbert and Byrnes are both married … to women. But Tolbert and Byrnes taking in a Giants game together was still an image worth noting, since they also hosted together on KNBR from 3-7 pm on Monday afternoon. One can almost picture Ralph Barbieri watching the game at home on DVR hours later, throwing his remote control at the TV after seeing his younger, thinner replacement on Tolbert’s arm. You know how The Razor gets after the Sharks lose a playoff game.

As of now, Tolbert and Byrnes is a temporary pairing. In the coming days/weeks you’ll probably also hear Tolbert hosting with a musical chairs lineup of guys like Ted Robinson, Ray Ratto, Kevin Lynch and others, along with some solo appearances. However, there are a few reasons why you could see Mr. T and Mr. B as a permanent couple in the not-too-distant future.

1. Tolbert and Byrnes get along. Why not? They have a ton in common — they’re both former pro athletes, both were good for quotes during their playing days and they’re both often described as “laid back” (although in Tolbert’s case that’s actually accurate, while Byrnes seems more like the intense, hyperactive type). They’re both the type of sports talk hosts you’d only find in California, and it seems like Byrnes is modeling his post-MLB career after Tolbert’s post-NBA path.

2. Byrnes’ wandering eye. They’re already paying Byrnes (not as much as they were paying Barbieri, but more than what guys like Thin Tim or P-Con are making), but he doesn’t seem all that engaged with SportsPhone 680. That’s not as much a statement on his performances on the show, which tend to vary greatly from night to night depending on how excited Byrnes is about the day’s stories. It’s just a reference to the fact that Byrnes isn’t there all that much. He’s in New York doing MLB Network spots, he’s doing triathlons, he’s here, he’s there … it’s clear SportsPhone 680 isn’t Byrnes ultimate goal (same with the guy he replaced, Byrnes’ buddy F.P. Santangelo). If Cumulus likes him — and I’ve heard he re-upped recently, so they probably do — a good way to keep him happy would be to throw him on the station’s most important time slot.

3. Demographics. You might think these radio corporations have no idea, but they know how many of you are uttering the phrase “radio is a dying medium” every day (which is sad, because free content levels the playing field when it comes to information consumption). Regardless, rumors of future extinction mean radio stations are battling the perception that they’re dinosaurs. That’s why Cumulus might ignore older listeners who couldn’t relate to a show featuring Tolbert and Byrnes, because that’s not who they’re targeting. Sports radio’s all about men between the ages of 18-54, but the first number’s a bit more intoxicating to many program directors than the second.

4. Comfort in the familiar. KNBR knows firing Barbieri has caused a major PR bruise, one which continues to grow and change colors. They’re saving a ton of money in letting The Razor go, but taking a voice we’re all so familiar with is an affront to many Bay Area residents — even some who couldn’t stand the guy. This area doesn’t take kindly to outsiders serving up sports opinions, and there aren’t a lot of known local options that would work here. Damon Bruce? Perhaps, but they might have other plans for him. Also, we don’t know if Tolbert would enjoy hosting with Bruce as much as he appears to with Byrnes. KNBR wouldn’t move Bruce out of his time slot unless they were absolutely sure he was going to host with Tolbert for good (whatever “for good” means). We don’t know if guys like Robinson, Ratto and Lynch would even want a full-time radio gig.

5. On-air chemistry. Whether or not you like this partnership is almost secondary to whether they like it. If they’re enjoying themselves, it’s easier for Cumulus to bet that the audience will go along for the ride. And Tolbert and Byrnes sure seem to like hanging out and talking sports together, enough to spend an extra hour or three together after the show at AT&T Park (who knows, maybe that’s the image they were trying to portray on Monday night).

Taking all that into consideration, it’s pretty easy to see Tolbert and Byrnes falling into an easy partnership on the air. It might be a bit too one-note for many, but Cumulus/KNBR might not care about that at all, as long as the amount of people they gain (for example: those who boycotted the show because they couldn’t stand Barbieri) roughly equals what they lose with Barbieri’s firing. They won’t make the change immediately, because those still smarting over Barbieri’s termination would cry “TOO SOON”  and could be lost forever.

But Cumulus won’t wait too long to set up a permanent show in that slot, because they’ll want to produce an image of stability to stave off 95.7 “The Game.” I also don’t think Tolbert even wants to do the show solo, since he takes several days off per year and hosting an entire show is a lot more work than responding to a co-host. Rotating hosts for weeks on end might work between 7-10 pm, but not during afternoon commute. If KNBR goes with Byrnes as Tolbert’s next permanent running mate, we may see them together on TV on future evenings, taking in a ballgame and chatting with front office execs.

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94 Comments on "Eric Byrnes: Ralph Barbieri’s replacement or Mr. T’s temporary rebound?"

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Gooselosgatos
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Gooselosgatos
Actually I heard Tom say that on the show yesterday Burns would be the show with him through the summer but also said something to the effect that it would be a ‘trial period.’ Personally, after listening to those two guys work together yesterday and several times and in the past I have my doubts as they are both likable but also too similar. Both are better when the have someone quit different in tone and temperament to work off of. Case in point, part of what made Tom so good is that his ‘good qualities’ were personified and exaggerated… Read more »
Paperback Writer
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Paperback Writer

All for show, when the contract is final for Bruce. – that’s it.
This is a diversion, an intentional tease for PR.

Gooselosgatos
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Gooselosgatos

Paperback,
You are extremely confident on DBruce partnering with Tom and you may well be right.

Do you have any inside info on this…….

Based on yesterday’s announcement of Burns ‘pairing’ with Tom and DBruce’s disastrous cohosting with Gary ‘experiement’ it doesn’t seem plausible that Tom and DBruce would work together.

Paperback Writer
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Paperback Writer

No inside info, just my best hunch.

Whatever – it will be an interesting decision – but , of course, they can easily make a very BAD decision.

Gooselosgatos
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Gooselosgatos

Paperback,

Curious as you are to see how this turns out.

Should be fun!

John Sorts
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PW,
Even though i’m not a huge D-Bruce fan, i think he has a big enough following to let him keep his own show, or they may partner a weaker Host with him.
No way they put him with Tom…makes no sense having two Heavyweights on the same show, I think that’s why Byrnes is with Tom, Eric’s talent is to weak to be on his own…so partner him up with popular host like Tom.

Paperback Writer
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Paperback Writer

HA! With this logic – we’re going the Beatle Album Cover method, looking for clues everywhere.

Hey, I saw Tony Bruno carrying a box of Amici’s – could it be him?!?!?! LOL

No wait, it’s………….The Walrus and Mr T!

John Sorts
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Now that’s funny, if people don’t get this…your to DAMN young!!!

John Sports
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What an Idiot…I left the P out of my name.

Paperback Writer
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Paperback Writer

Could also mean Tom is leaving, they are buddying up Burns with him to introduce him to the drive time crowd AND THENwill pair Burns with D Bruce.

Jason
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Jason

Man, I wish Tom would tell them where to stick it…

I like Byrnes, but his 12 year old chain smoking valley girl way of speaking gets soooo old. It’s “and” not “EEOONDD”.

Rich
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Rich

Duuuuuuuude…. no waaay!

(and as someone who grew up as a sort of Spicoli, I should know…)

Byrnes is tiresome. I suppose if I still listened to KNBR (other than for a ballgame while driving) since last week I might care, but firing Ralph was the last straw for me. The Dickeys can go, well, you know… and teaming Byrnes up with the good Mr. T won’t be bringing me back.

Germaine
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Germaine

Cant stand Byrnes on the radio. Tom T and Ray Ratto is the pairing of the future

Backdrop
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Backdrop

Ray Ratto = Ralph Barbieri. Too many 50-cent words, too arrogant and too pissed off at the world. Someone needs to give him a happy pill. It’s not our fault he has a 53-inch waist.

devnull
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devnull
Ratto is smarter than Ralph. And yes, he does have a better vocabulary … though it works better on the page than over the air, IMO. That aside, I don’t think Tolbert & Ratto would be a good long-term match; it’s been okay when Ratto has filled-in but the chemistry really isn’t there. Plus Ratto is a CSN guy nowdays — not sure if that’s a better deal or not, but I’m not sure how it’d work, becoming a full-time Cumulus employee. I’d have to think he’d have to pick one or the other, and I think Ratto’s more of… Read more »
Backdrop
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Backdrop
Tolbert needs a better straight man and, frankly, someone who presents better; that is, someone who can turn a phrase with a calmer more dignified delivery. Byrnes knows sports well enough, but he’s frankly dumber than Tolbert and has too much nervous energy. This is a pretty sophisticated audience and, while KNBR doesn’t need another snot like Ralph who uses words like ‘peripatetic’ and ‘insouciant’ left and right, it does need a counterpoint to Tolbert. I think this is where a Ted Robinson or Brad Gilbert would provide balance. Ted might be a little too buttoned-down for some, but he… Read more »
Rich
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Rich

FP with Tolbert, now that’d be better than Byrnes with Tom, for sure.

Kivy
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Kivy

To me FP and Byrnes are almost the same…generic and insecure bud light boys.

Germaine
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Germaine

I think given Tom’s personality (mello and funny) he does need a good counter-part, which would be someone who is firey, someone he can make fun of some times, and someone who is intelligent. I agree that Byrnes does not come off as intelligent, even if he is. Everyone else is too boring. You know who is excellent in the morning, Kate. I vote Tom T and Kate!

3rdKing
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3rdKing

ralph was knbr…i hated him but grew to love and respect him…screw knbr,,,,,gary and damon should find better

Carolyn
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Carolyn

Eric Byrnes: Jeff Spicoli without all the intellectual baggage. That pairing means I’ll be a lot more productive in the afternoon because I won’t have the radio on.

John Sports
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Try 95.7 the Game, way more entertaining.

Rich
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Rich

“w/o all the intellectual baggage”.

CLASSIC!!!

KNBR LISTENER
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KNBR LISTENER

Homerun for Carolyn. That comment was out of the park!

Stan
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Stan
You left out the very real reason that Byrnes is popular with Cumulus..he’s a far right conservative..and white. Don’t you notice that not a single person of color or like Ralph a Demo ( a centrist from what I could tell) has been considered? Ralph is late-fired, Byrnes is paid full time on part time work..now being promoted. The Dickey bros are part of the culture who are going all out to fight Obama and his policy’s..and the purge of Dems to liberals at KGO and those with seniority are first slashed under Lew Dickey and Bungerhole. Rod Brooks..hired when?… Read more »
Stan
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Stan

Krueger? THATS a Dickey bros F-U to SF,Liberals,and Demos. THAT’s a statement of “We have the power”.
No way a man with his baggage for what he did would EVER have been hired to do sports again in the bay area for what was a near hate crime.
But KNBR and the conservative Cumulus bros..with open arms. A slap in the face huh bay area?

Rich
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Rich

Stan, I hate the Dickeys, and Cumulus, and the telecommunications act of ’96 as much as ANYONE… but your attaching the race card to this argument really does nothing to move things forward.

Stan
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Stan

Ok-so tell me where I’m wrong to point out facts. Go ahead I will wait right here while you list the POC who host local shows on 1050 and KNBR…You can include the weekend Golf and Horse racing shows if it helps you..Oh,it doesnt,wink,wink.

Backdrop
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Backdrop

Um, does Rod Brooks ring a bell. If you broaden the scope beyond POCs to members of protected classes generally, you’d have to include Kate Scott. IMHO, she doesn’t have the talent for it, but she’s on the fast track to having her own segment or feature. A transparent PC move by mother ship Cumulus that provides demographic “balance” at the expense of the “product”.

Stan
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Stan

I’ve mentioned Brooks plenty..as a longt time ago one-of.
Are you reading my posts..or so desperate to make a point-any point- you ignore the parameters of the conversation and context?

Backdrop
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Backdrop

Typically people who make (or have made) tens of millions of dollars shrink at the prospect of paying huge chunks of their earnings into entitlement programs that don’t work. Unless you’re Warren Buffet or Bill Gates, b/c 75% (French Mitterand/Hollande model) of $800 billion still leaves you with $160 bil to play with.

Yes, I suspect Byrnes leans red, but if it wasn’t for people like him writing big checks to the FTB and IRS, you might actually have to work for a living. And, no, professional agitator/parasite isn’t a job.

Stan
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Stan

I am employed…so look in the mirror for that. Your like the guy who watches FOX news and hates blacks on welfare..then it turns out HE’S on welfare..when he’s arrested for making threats to Demo’s!!.

Stan
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Stan

..and I think I just did peg you-right?

Stan
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Stan

And you mean those huge chunks are a drop in the bucket compared to total earnings dont you? As why Obama had millionaires and their secretarys to the WH..The sec.s paid more in income percentage wise then the bosses.
And then you have Exxon(and 188 other huge corps) that paid NO taxes..how much of the Gov’s program for the poor and disabled did they fund,backdrop man?

Stan
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Stan

We all know EXXON would go broke if they paid taxes.
Where’s the money in selling gasoline?

Stan
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Stan

..or oil? Where??? POOR Exxon,have pity!

Stan
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Stan

And yes Tolbert is a conservative-surprise- who also stuck his foot in his mouth talking about “Chinamen” instead of Asians a few years ago. He said he was sorry for being a stupid person. Or,something like that,I didn’t quote-hee.

paperback writer
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paperback writer

wholford is on the game on week-ends.

Stan
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Stan

YES-THEGAME…NOT KNBR/1050..My point made.

Stan
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Stan

So,if your black on COMCAST..you go to THEGAME to fill in,if your White you go the front of the bus,oops,I mean KNBR to host…

Slack'em Jack'em
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Slack'em Jack'em
I think Tom needs someone with an ‘edge’ to co-host with. Really a lot of the same qualities as Ralph….just someone better at the job than Ralph. Damon has some of those qualities…but I just think he needs to dominate the mike in order to do what he does best. I agree Byrnes is a flavor best served in smaller doses. Krueger could fit well with Tom….but I think he already has saved the 9am slot with Gary so wouldn’t want to break that up. Maybe there just won’t be a co-host if Cumulus really wants to save money….maybe that’s… Read more »
Stan
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Stan

btw- READ BASG closely..Ratto isn’t a KNBR employee,Robinson isn’t a KNBR employee,Lynch isn’t a KNBR employee. But what do they have in common?
Ralph,late and with Parkinson’s,fired..BASG “Byrnes isn’t there all that much”. DO YOU PEOPLE(some of you people-lol) READ??
Look,it hurts you to get the big picture from me? well,think of those talents who KNBR discriminates against must feel.

mary from redwood city
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mary from redwood city

I just have one question…How come everytime KNBR gets rid of someone…Gary R is always on vacation?

John Sports
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Wow never really thought of that…but your right.

Gooselosgatos
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Gooselosgatos

Great point Mary.

Gary is brilliant as Larry said today at ‘reading the room.’

KNBR LISTENER
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KNBR LISTENER

If KNBR teams Tolbert and Byrnes the listening audience age group will drop to the 14-16 year old range.
Every slang term known to man-kind will be uttered.

Stan
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Stan

lol..and true.

Stan
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Stan

Maybe 12-15?..hee.

Stan
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Stan

Byrnes was so high on Comcast last year..they never invited him back. He’s into everything is my feeling..

Dan
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Dan

MORE COMMENTS STAN. And more political conspiracy stuff, that is always a very interesting and grounded topic that leads to rational comments.

Stan
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Stan

From me -yes. And can you Dan give that list of people of color who have hosted a KNBR show-who isn’t Brooks- in the last three years?..including weekends AND temps as a bonus?..Weekends have been Urban,Pecon,Lurie.
Can you explain Dan why THEGAME can find people of color on the weekends but not KNBR, EVER?
See,there are types who are good with thinking up insults..while I list facts. Knbr,Exxon,Cumulus. Do facts bother your kind?

Stan
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Stan

You know Dan ,there were people for a couple of years who told me that KNBR hired on merit..they didn’t care about color. THEN,…THEGAME came along..and they found people of color on weekends. Isn’t that interesting? KNBR in 50 years never could.
The Games contest winner is black..so in over a year they have in addition to Kawakami found three times the people of color to put on air compared to old and white KNBR.
Facts Dan,I give you facts.

Stan
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Stan

And that guy-“guru” is pretty good. I caught a bit of him on Sunday. Not bad. He went where the status quo wouldn’t,taking on the A’s batting coach and instructors.

Stan
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Stan

I think Angela should print this out. More proof that KNBR thinks it doesn’t need to obey EOP mandated by federal law.

Danny
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Danny

I’m a big fan of Eric Byrnes on SportsPhone680. I like Ray Woodson too, but I wouldn’t want to see Byrnes leave SportsPhone. I’ve always been a fan of Byrnes as a player since both me and him have a lot of ties with the Bay Area and Arizona(where I live now).

Stan
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Stan

Yeah,Byrnes would be popular in Arizona..after he ripped the Diamondbacks off for millions..then tanked on them. The state of Jan Brewer admires a good republican thief like Byrnes.

Gooselosgatos
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Gooselosgatos

With all due respect,

Ray Woodsen seems like a wonderful person but he totally, absolutely and completely ‘sucks’ as a radio sports host.

Ray is the Tofu of radio.

Stan
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Stan

Yep,With Ray you can hear his gears thinking “Insert witty comment,quick!”..and many times it isn’t very quick.
But he knows sports,never makes the boob remarks of the rest of KNBR.SO shame on me that I want more pizzaz I guess.

Stan
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Stan

Hey-check the pic out of the Giant and KNBR types…who’s the stoned and numbed one? ..lol can you tell?

Chualarian
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Chualarian

How has no one mentioned that thing on tom’s head?

Paperback Writer
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Paperback Writer

yeah Tolbert. With the green cap – using my Beatles Album Cover method for clues -LOL – it may “mean” he’s going A’s and to their flagship, the game?
LOL

Stan
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Stan

I see a lot of the Last Supper in that pic. You figure the Judas.

Stan
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Stan

AND,there might be more then one.

John Sports
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Using PW’s Album cover theory, Does Tom have shoes on?….just saying…

paperback writer
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paperback writer

No he doesn’t have shoes on, someone saw him cross “the zebra” at 3rd and King. Barefoot.

InquisitaB
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InquisitaB

Chualarian, are you from Chualar?

Chualarian
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Chualarian

No, just a fan.

Jason
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Jason

Haha, did anyone catch Gary’s “at least wait till the body is cold” comment yesterday? LOL

Paperback Writer
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Paperback Writer

No, but Gary is brilliant at communicating on several levels all at the same time for those quick enough- like you – to catch it. Thanks for that.

Gooselosgatos
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Gooselosgatos

PBS, great point.

One of the reasons I like Gary is that he subtlety gives a lot of info on the business if you listen closely and read between the lines.

Stan
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Stan

Its not brilliant PW,its called fast talker covering his ass. “I’m serious,no I’m kidding”..”I’m kidding and serious”..And if Rdnich gets compliments..he MEANT what he said-lol…Gets heat?..He was just teasing.

I’ve heard that over and over from Mr. “You don’t last like I have”…

Stan
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Stan

And don’t think I don’t know many of the thumbs down are KNBR interns. More desperate then ever!

Oh, and I mean Radnich is more like a fast talking swindler..sociopath who can lie to thousands and not blink an eye-right Gare?

Stan
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Stan

And his bragging that his Bentley is so big he cant parallel park? He IS just like a woman…

Jeff
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Jeff

Fire Radnich!

Steve M.
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Steve M.

Bring back Tony Bruno to host with Tolbert!

Gooselosgatos
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Gooselosgatos

I thought Bruno was waaaaaaaay overrated.

Not to mention that a few days after being let go by KNBR Bruno made disparaging comments about the city of San Francisco even though he been employed and generously compensated by local media outlets and franchises for years.

It wasn’t the comments that bothered me but the lack of class in doing it.

Stan
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Stan

Exactly..I never got what the point was to bring somebody on air who stuck to the tired Phillie is best routine. He entertained Radnich,but not the listeners. After all the years,he turned on us..so ,good riddance.

Slack'em Jack'em
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Slack'em Jack'em

Caught some of TT and Byrnes yday. Not sure that’s gonna work for me. Byrnes just too hyper. The previous age 12-16 listener bracket comments pretty spot on. Would rather see Tom solo with a rotating list of fill in cohosts.

Gooselosgatos
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Gooselosgatos

Both of those guys (especially Byrnes) need someone of opposite temperament to shine and stand out.

I thought Byrnes would have been fantastic on radio but what surprised me is that he copped an attitude a lot of times which negated what I thought would be his core strength of ‘down-to- earth’ local kid who laced em up but was still a cool guy.

Byrnes can be entertaining on his own but he hasn’t been anywhere as good as I thought he would be.

KNBR LISTENER
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KNBR LISTENER

Good choice of clothes their Byrnes and Tolbert.
I hope you did not spend too much on your wardrobe.

Stan
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Stan

I bet-that cap on Byrnes is one of those “designer” trucker hats rich boys like Ashton Kutcher (repub) buy for 50-200$ to look like the kind we buy for 5$.
Probably not a stain or spot on his hat..pretender..

Stan
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Stan

Actually,I get mine from the tools bin at the auto parts store when I go in for wipers or stuff..2.50,not bad. Thrift stores are good too. I got my A’s hat there,a promo hat from Wells Fargo. 1.00 or so. I didn’t run into Eric there…

Gooselosgatos
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Gooselosgatos

Could care less what they wear as they are on radio after all.

Stan
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Stan

KNBR is promoting Tom being at some groundbreaking for the 49ers new stadium. The fun for Tom hasn’t stopped since Ralph was let go.
Those who said he would enjoy being THE star of the show now have proven to me,to be right.
And why Tolbert at the 49er opening? How about Cumulus/KNBR trying to show that Ralph is old news? Tom might has well use that shovel to throw dirt on Ralph’s proverbial grave.

Stan
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Stan

And how many of you caught the unusual harsh exchange between John Shea and Marty Lurie on Comcast?
John challenged Marty’s biased view by saying would he still be so Giant positive if he didn’t work for them?
When I hear things like that,I think its old journalism taking a last stand vs the Comcast and big sports business voices. Salute to Shea.

Slam
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Slam

Stan – you’re entitled to talk about whatever the hell you want on this little chat thread thing … but PLEEESE leave the political crap somewhere else. This arena is about sports radio stuff. Your “Cumulus is a right wing conspiracy” blather is the proverbial turd in the punch bowl; the “showkiller”. At least for me.

stan
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stan

Learn the truth Slam- It will set you free. Unless,your writing from prison. Then,I can’t help you.

Unc89
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Unc89

I’m 100% with Stan here. I think he raises great points about cumulus and their right wing racist tendencies. Keep it going Stan!

Stan
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Stan

Thanks Unc!..I’m still waiting for that list of people of color who have hosted a KNBR show in the last three years(who aren’t old timer Brooks)..and go ahead include,subbing,weekend shows like Golf,Outdoors,Tennis,Hockey,and Skiing.
There’s been not one.

Stan
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Stan

Hey,you people read that Black Enterprise article that said White American men as stars in the NBA are going extinct..the ones left are nothing but role players.
What do ya think? (only 10 comments from 100!-hee)

Jim
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Jim

Eric Byrnes has to much money I think he stole 25 million from the Arizona Diamondbacks. I can see this all ready man I don’t feel like leaving the golf course an driving into the city.

It would be like If I had 2 million in the bank. It is 6am an my boss said Hey Joe!! go get the truck an pick up those two pallets an bring them to building 16.

I would say I am out of here you go do it

JimmerHed
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JimmerHed

Tom is super cool but needs a good foil.Ralph was classic. I guess his politics did very much intrigue me: vegetarian etc. Byrnes is very annoying, awful tone, slow stupid dramatic pauses without quality comments awaiting. Should never be heard again anywhere

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