Damon Bruce

Gary Radnich picks strange time to go on a 2-week vacation

At some point next week I wanted to do a preliminary review of KNBR’s new “Gary and D-Bruce” show, or whatever they’re calling it, but I needed to hear at least another week of the show to see if they’d ironed out some of the kinks. The pair was hastily thrown together a couple Mondays ago (soon after I broke the story that KNBR was considering putting Gary Radnich and Damon Bruce together from 9-to-noon), and in two uneven weeks the show has sounded alternately energized and awkward. Energized, because of the whole soap opera surrounding the show’s creation and the fact that Radnich had to talk about sports on a regular basis for the first time in quite a while. Awkward, because Radnich and Bruce — both used to running their own shows — have played more than a little tug-of-war with the microphone during their first two weeks.

So it was surprising this morning to hear Brian Murphy tease the 9-to-noon show by celebrating the presence of Larry Krueger (who’s getting a good share of work on KNBR these days after subbing in for Bob Fitzgerald from Aug. 1-8). Radnich is gone for the next two weeks on “a much needed and deserved vacation,” according to Bruce. Interesting.

Radnich may have planned this vacation months ago to coincide with the end of his kids’ summer vacations. I have no idea. But during the early stages of a brand new show, it seems curious that Radnich didn’t shorten his vacation to a week, or scrap it altogether. Especially since the perception among many was that the addition of Bruce served as a signal that for Radnich — whose show’s ratings were alarmingly low for quite some time before KNBR made the move — the proverbial writing is on the wall. And these days, with so much turnover and team-switching going on in Bay Area sports talk radio, whenever anybody takes a vacation people wonder if they’re leaving or if they already left.

Someone emailed me this morning, wondering if perhaps Radnich put in his two weeks. That’s probably far-fetched, since I was talking to an experienced radio person recently who said he attempted to give an FM station he used to work for his notice and his boss responded with something like, “We don’t give notice in radio,” and that was his last day on the job.

Maybe Radnich is putting family over career, and sticking to a vacation he promised his wife and children long ago. Maybe he needed some time to recharge his batteries and/or brainstorm some ideas for how this new version of his show could thrive once he returns. However, Radnich has to be pretty secure leaving his post at this time, especially since Bruce and Krueger displayed far better chemistry working together today than Radnich and Bruce displayed in their first 10 shows.

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