Bill Bungeroth started running the San Francisco market for Cumulus back in March of 2011, and was replaced about a year and a half later. His tenure brought change and more than a little drama to the stations under the Cumulus umbrella, KGO in particular. And after a long run of stability at KNBR, Bungeroth thought it would be a good idea to shake things up.
Damon Bruce was moved off KNBR 1050 and paired with Gary Radnich. Radnich’s half hour daily segment with Tony Bruno, a KNBR mainstay for over a decade, was canceled. The biggest Bungeroth bombshell was dropped last April, when Cumulus fired Ralph Barbieri.
Barbieri’s lawyer, Angela Alioto, told me that Bungeroth was one of the many people who had already been deposed in the lead-up to Barbieri’s wrongful termination trial, which is set to start on Sept. 9 in San Francisco Superior Court. She also mentioned how Radnich had a deposition scheduled for this week, which may or may not have already taken place by the time this post is published.
Why all the background information? Radnich said some interesting things about Bungeroth during his show today on KNBR, and it’s unclear whether the comments were a calculated attempt to pin the blame on Bungeroth for everything that has gone wrong at KNBR over the past couple years … or a case of Radnich’s inability to keep quiet about stuff that’s on his mind.
The first Bungeroth mention came after Radnich talked about how watches R. Kelly videos, and that led to Larry Krueger asking Radnich whether he ever watched Dance Party on KOFY. Radnich said about how he’d rather watch young people dance than older people, and Krueger’s reply was, “You’re an ageist.”
“No, that was Bill,” Radnich said.
Later, Bruno made his first appearance on Radnich’s show since November. The segment went as one would expect, with Bruno talking about wanting to marry the 84-year-old Florida woman who won a Powerball payout of over $370 million. Radnich read a joke at Marty Lurie’s expense sent in by a listener that led to some awkward radio.
“Bring Tony back to do the Handlery spots. It’s bad publicity to have the guy doing the spots pass away in one of their beds. Anyway, they’re saying that Marty’s getting up there, and that was it,” Radnich said.
“Ouch,” Krueger said.
“Wow, that’s just terrible, Gary. The great Marty Lurie,” Bruno said.
“I’m just reading,” said Radnich, who seemed to think the joke would get a bigger laugh.
The rest of the segment was pretty standard — Bruno knocked the Obama administration for operating at a deficit and “not having to pay it back” and talked about how he starting smoking at age 11, the trio talked quite a bit about Philly sports, and Radnich told Bruno to look up Melanie Collins of “Koz and Collins” (Yahoo! SportsTalk Live).
At the end of the segment, Radnich started talking about why the Bruno is no longer on the show.
“You know, I just figured out Tone, why the former Bill ‘I have a vision’ … what’s Bill’s last name?”
“Bungeroth,” Krueger said.
“Bill ‘I have a vision’ Bungeroth. He said, ‘Well, all the teams are going to be winning, so Bruno can’t rip ‘em anymore. End the segment,'” Radnich said.
(Three seconds of silence)
“Exactly right, Gary,” Bruno said.
“I found that funny, you didn’t. Tone, glad you’re doing so well. And, in the words of Bill, let’s localize,” Radnich said.
Radnich mentioned how “Bill had a vision” again as Bruno’s signature song, “Keep Your Hands To Yourself” by Georgia Satellites, played quietly. After Bruno hung up, Radnich further explained why Bungeroth canceled the segment.
“The guy who’s making the decisions just says, ‘Well that thing has run its course.’ And that was it. Nothing more than that. The guy is not even here anymore. He’s a nice guy. Friend of Larry’s, and hey, I consider him, he was nice guy to me, too. He just thought that it’d be better to keep it local because Tony was doing it from out of town. And that’s it,” Radnich said.