KNBR

KNBR fires Ralph Barbieri

Ralph Barbieri, who has worked as a sports talk show host for KNBR 680 since 1984, is no longer with the station. I heard rumors of his departure yesterday but nothing concrete, and now SFGate is reporting it as fact.

Longtime KNBR personality Ralph Barbieri has been let go by the station.

Station general manager Lee Hammer would only say Barbieri “is no longer with the station. It was a management decision.”

Hammer said Barbieri’s on-air partner, Tom Tolbert, would host their show, “The Razor and Mr. T,” by himself later Wednesday.

The host known as “The Razor” made news in October when Barbieri told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Scott Ostler that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, a secret he had kept since 2005. The timing was interesting, as stated in Ostler’s article:

After all that, why address it now?

“My contract is expiring soon,” Barbieri said, “and if I am to continue at KNBR, I’d like to start with all our cards on the table, face-up. I’ve gotten to know Lew Dickey (CEO of Cumulus Media, parent company of KNBR) a little bit, and my gut feeling was that he could deal with my situation at an honorable level, so I gave him a call and told him everything.

Barbieri’s contract was renewed, terms undisclosed. He was absent on Monday and Tuesday, and repeatedly came in late for the show over the past few weeks. Whether that had anything to do with this bombshell of a “management decision” is unclear.

Now the question is what changes will be made on “The Razor and Mr. T Show,” which has anchored the drivetime spot for KNBR for over 15 years. We know there will be a name change, but will Tolbert get a co-host? On Tuesday, Tolbert hosted the first hour or so with Ted Robinson, then left midway through the show with Robinson taking over the rest of the way. However KNBR responds to the loss of Barbieri, one thing is certain: the station will never be the same.

99 Comments
98 comments
stuarts55
stuarts55

"Both can be true at the same time", immortal words. Probably more significant, deeper, and important for the welfare of humanity than any of the commentators can fully understand. As far as angels fly because they take themselves lightly, damn, it's simply the absolute truth. Something every human being should emulate. And I say that with a smile on my face! Whatever your faults, Ralph, thank you so much!

Charlie
Charlie

I stopped listening to most of the KNBR shows about 3 years ago and tune into ESPN radio now instead for Sports Talk. Here is why, show-by-show... Murph has the knowledge of a 12-year-old. He learned everything he knows from the Cartoon Network and YouTube. Worst of all, he talks about his kids Little League all the time --That's an immediate channel-changer. Radnich is a hateful gossip monger who cares nothing about anything outside the Bay Area. He is tiresome, plain and simple, and has not been able to finish a complete sentence in 10 years. Gary just makes my brain hurt. Fitz and Brooks have no chemistry whatsoever. They might as well be doing two separate shows at once. And Rod drives me nuts with his DJ/News-guy voice -- Just speak like a human being, okay? Finally, Ralph...Besides having a voice that was like nails on the chalkboard, he stopping caring about the national sports scene 10 years ago. He was never very bright or clever and I learned nothing from him about even the local teams. He confessed loved for the Giants and Niners, but seemingly hated everyone in the organizations. In the end, that bitterness and resentment made him a very negative person and thereby easily expendable to KNBR.

john g
john g

Too bad to lose the best interviewer and most articulate of the bunch.Now we are left with Mr T and Fitz and of course the burnsie types all the same bland and colorless.Ralph like all media stars could be full of himself but he knew his bay area sports and was easy to listen to.He didnt kiss end,shirk from a confrontation or make excuses for the teams.KNBR just fell a full notch in my opinion .Now the whole lineup reeks of the morning team that are just plain iritating.

Jim B
Jim B

Ralph had the most ridiculous saying at the end of his show regarding angels taking themselves lightly - got to be one of the most stupid sayings heard repeatedly on radio

Dave
Dave

Any regular listener to that show knows two things: 1) Ralph is at least 5 minutes late, 3 times a week. Ok, whatever but much worse 2) HE is TOTALLY checked out. Listen to the shows. He is like my wife, as in "really, the 49ers are talking to peyton manning?" - he is that completely unprepared on a daily basis and has been so for at least 3 years. The fact is, he felt entitled due to his tenure, and has been doint a flat out terrible job for YEARS. He has been terrible. I wish him the best with his parkinson's, but he is a scumbag for suing over this. He really degrades true false termination suits in this country and adds to the utterly dispicible lawyer (yes you Alioto) scumbaggery that is rampant in this country. Good luck dirtbags, i hope you lose badly.

joe
joe

ralph was a d-bag. good riddance you turd!

late
late

A few days ago Ralph didn't show up, and they put in this Stooge who just talked about Sports. You can't just recite stats. and yack about the Giants. You need to show up for a gig--especially these days.

Bruinjon
Bruinjon

Can't say that I liked Ralph much at all. I found him arrogant, condescending and verbose, and not nearly as smart as he told everyone he was. I also thought he was too judgmental, and a hypocrit. He should have been fired with cause after his fourth DUI. I don't see him going to The Game, it would be a terrible fit. The Game is for younger, more hip, worldly listeners. However, that said, it was embarrassing to hear how he was treated by mgmt when he was let go. Assuming he did nothing illegal I am angry that he was practically thrown out the door. As much as I disliked Ralph on air, he made that company a lot of money over the years. I switched to the game a year ago, and I won't be going back, but the next person that needs to go is that fat arrogant Gary Radnich. How mgmt thinks he has a fan base is beyond me.

Hackman
Hackman

I don't wish Ralph anything bad in life, but his departure has been long overdue. He has been a pompous as*, rude, and overly opinionated on the air. I would try to listen to the show, but always ended up changing the channel because of him. Tolbert will have a better show without him, and now maybe I won't have to channel change.

mlm
mlm

Ralph is an idiot who should have been fired long time ago. His schtick about his vocabulary was weak and silly and in all reality he often used words he rarely knew the meaning of because he used them out of context. HIs incessant chatter about the Sharks was pathetic. Someone above said it best,he only shilled for them so he could hang with Brent Jones. He acted like he knew all the Bay Area sports figures and I am sure most of them could have cared less about him. His incessant suckign up to people like Brent Jones and Steve YOung was pathetic. He was always so phoney at the end of his conversations when he told Steve to tell his wife hello for him. Seriously like Steve YOung's wife cares about Ralph Barbieri????? He was a sycophant and a suck up who should have been fired long time ago. Hope he doesn't land on another Bay Area station- oh but wait- he said his options are "considerable". Yeah- right I am sure they are. Ralph, you are a complete idiot who got everythign you deserved. What goes around comes around- you treated people like dirt. No you know how it feels!

Stabler's Beard
Stabler's Beard

I didn't hate the guy, but I got to the point of not being able to listen anymore about two years ago. His love affair with the sound of his own voice drove me away. The ridiculous way he would flaunt his supposed vocabulary was only annoying, not impressive. I absolutely won't miss his interviews with himself. Any personality he interviewed was usually unable to squeeze in an answer to a question. Ralph would invariably ask the question with way too many words, then proceed to use more words to try to answer it himself. I honestly have no idea why he lasted so long, unless it was because listeners loved to dislike him. And, lastly, his continual berating of the Raiders was completely unprofessional and a weak schtick.

Fred
Fred

Many co's give 1 month severance for each year of employment, I wonder if Ralph got marched out the back door with a good package? I think Ralph was good, lots of likes and dislikes, on the internet, post his firing = controversy is good for the ratings. And for "the game" lovers; I've tuned in several times to listen to their drivel of who's the ugliest athlete in the NBA, MLB, NFL, etc, etc. and other similar sports brain thrust topics ... Really, that's what you want to listen to? Bottom line, Ralph should have been let go in a more dignified way!

Slam
Slam

I love all the feedback here; pro-Ralph and anti-Ralph. We all get to have an opinion. Tom's opening comments were fantastic If I'm Lee Hammer, and my boss holds a gun to my head and makes me slash salary, I go : Morning show : Brian Murphy 9-Noon : Larry Krueger 12-3 : Damon Bruce 3-7 : Mr T Night : Eric Byrnes 6th man off the bench : FP, Ted Robinson, Rod Brooks

Fitz's Future Unemployment Check
Fitz's Future Unemployment Check

Let's be real. Ralph was living on borrowed time. Everyone knew he was on the ropes and why listeners were frustrated with his style. He was chronically incapable of showing up on time for a 300k a year job. Sorry, unless you work in a unionized position that type of performance gets you fired no regardless of tenure.

Jd
Jd

I grew up with knbr and Ralph. I'm not happy. He and Tolbert had a good show. Ralph did not bow to anyone. I will miss the sayings... Two things can be equally true, angels fly.

Cal
Cal

(Like the show) (instead of crying)

Cal
Cal

I think any man or woman who has been successful at any job for 28 years should be treated better, not only by management in their manner of this dismissal, but the very people who are coming on here to comment. The show was great, and the 2 guys (Ralph and Tom) who host the show deserve praise for keeping all of us entertained over the years. My question to the naysayers is, if you don't lime the show, why not turn the station? KNBR, over the years has made some changes I'm not happy with, and I stead of crying about it, I listened to music or other sports alternatives in those slots. I personally now like the lineup, in spite of missing some now departed hosts, and will continue to listen. Good luck to you, Ralph and thanks for entertaining me all these years.

SportsFan
SportsFan

It's long over due. Ralph has been a useless Giants pole puffer for years. He has no knowledge of any other sport other than his lame GO SHARKS. Good Riddance. The show is always much better when Tom is by himself.

Dax
Dax

Ralph's voice and interviewing skills were probably the worst I've ever heard on radio. Every interview I've heard him do, he would interrupt the guest and just talk right over them. Hopefully they keep Tolbert in that timeslot by himself because he's very entertaining.

Robert
Robert

It was unnerving or, in a better sense, "rude" interrupting others. Like he wasn't listening while they were talking. I wonder why his obvious political bent had a place in a sport's program.

Kevin
Kevin

Not a big fan of Ralph on his own, but will miss him paired with Tom...a great combination of two completely different personalities. Have been listening for just about the entire 15-yr run.

T J NorthBay
T J NorthBay

Ralphs gone. Damm now I have to go find my Thesaurus.............

Rich
Rich

Rough stuff. I love how Tom Tolbert spoke positively about his experiences with Ralph though it was tough for him to do live on the air. I've love for them to be together again in the same timeslot on another station. There are so many times in the commute home when those two guys saved my ass by making me laugh when it was insane on the roads. God Bless Ralph Barbieri and Tom Tolbert.

larry
larry

Didnt care for him much but worked well with .tom i can see him going to csnbayarea. Hopefully to replace ratto

lumpy
lumpy

Sorry to see the institution gone. Who is going to take Brian Sabean to task over asinine deals like Zito? His act had grown old though. Incessant pandering to Amicis and the Sharks began to show who was buttering his bread. He was a 'johnnie come lately' to hockey and really only there to hang with Brent Jones and the other celeb owners. Best of luck with your challenges Ralph! Thanks for filling more than a few of my afternoons!

devnull
devnull

I'll try to refrain from kicking a guy (too much) when he's down, but I will say this: it was probably past time for a change. Sometimes an act/routine/whatever simply gets old after a while, and Ralph had been doing this thing for a *very* long while. Good luck to you Ralph -- hope things work out for you in life. But I won't be sorry to see something new at KNBR. (Assuming the Cumulous suits don't bollocks it up.)

swimfaye
swimfaye

Ten bucks ...he goes to CSNBayarea.com to interview Andrew Baggerly on his thoughts on how the Giants are doing because the interns got tired of interviewing Baggs during Spring Training...seriously ten bucks Barbieri is at CSN by Monday. Any takers...

Steve
Steve

That sucks. Gary is by far the worst host on knbr and when is off the time slot improves a bunch.

Longshot
Longshot

Never tuned in to listen to him, and he wasn't much of an interviewer, either. I won't miss his endless prattling in lieu of questions or ignorance of basic sports stuff or pretentious self-praise. Why "The Razor" had such a great rep I could never figure out. Give me Tolbert and Ratto any day.

Ralph's Manifesto
Ralph's Manifesto

Don't worry about Ralph. If the EEO complaint gets denied, MSNBC'll take him in. And if they're not hiring, maybe Hugo Chavez'll let him organize the May Day parade in Caracas. Good job, KNBR. Addition by subtraction.

KNBR listner for 20 years
KNBR listner for 20 years

Good for KNBR! Ralph was the worst sports broadcaster on the radio. I mean it, I am not just saying it. Over the last few years, I've listened to about 20 different ones and he was the worst, no competition. I had to stop listening to KNBR in the afternoons because of him. I hope they replace him with someone descent, so I can listen to sports again.

Aaron
Aaron

Wow I can't believe knbr fired Ralph! The Razor and Mr. T was the only show on knbr that was good. Thank you Ralph for all the great entertainment from 3 to 7 over the years. I'll miss hearing your terrible radio voice on my commute home everyday!

Batty
Batty

Get rid of Gary too. I want sports, not opinion and gossip. Liked Ralph's passion though.

Alex Fuentes
Alex Fuentes

Seems ill timed, this show was a gold mine for the station. Tolbert needs someone who is enough of an intellect to compliment his laid back style. Bryan Murphy is the only guy who could really handle the role. He does wonders considering his side kick.

Reeks
Reeks

Wow. Shocking is the only thing that comes to mind. If there was ever a guy, whether you aggreed with him or not, that was the trademark of KNBR it was Ralph "The Razor". Huge mistake by KNBR, huge! Especially with 957 The Game in town the last thing KNBR should've done was to ax the most high profile guy that is part of the highest rated radio show in the market. Really confusing. KNBR owes it to their listeners to explain this move.

TheMoose
TheMoose

I have been wanting Barbieri gone for years. Perhaps now we can get Damon Bruce on the afternoon/evening drive slot. That would be awesome. He is clearly the most talented host that they have. Next up on the firing line? Murph and Mac...but one can only hope.

Jon
Jon

Adios Ralph. Don't let the door hit you in the a$$ on the way out. Hopefully they can get some talent in there that has opinions backed up by actual data and no more shooting from the hip. That would be called 'producing'. Clearly a word not in Ralph's dictionary.

G Money
G Money

So no more loooong Amici's commercials?

WannaBeGM
WannaBeGM

If KNBR really knew what it was doing they'de git rid of that fool Paul McCaffery in the morning. How that guy ever got a gig on a sports talk show is beyond me. He must have something on Hammer.

Otis Byrd III
Otis Byrd III

Wow, I'm shocked by this. I might have to tune in to the Razor and Mr. T show or I guess just the Mr. T show for right now, to see if Tolbert mentions this, or tries to explain this. As much as we talked about KNBR letting Ralph go in the past, I really didn't think it was going to happen anytime soon. Hopefully Ralph's ailment didn't have anything to do with the decision. It will be interesting to see who they replace Ralph with on the Razor and Mr. T show, even though Tolbert could do the good show by himself. Fitz, as lime suggested, could be a good co-host, since Fitz is the Warriors TV play-by-play analyst and Tolbert played in the NBA, and they both have good basketball knowledge. The only thing is, would they both mesh well together? Tolbert is more laid back, kind of like Eric Davis on 95.7, and Fitz gets pissed whenever you say something bad about the Warriors. That could be an interesting pairing because they both know basketball, and they both have good sports knowledge in general. As far as the 95.7 angle on this goes, that would be interesting to see if they pick Ralph up. He probably could be a good/decent co-host to Jon Lund I guess. I heard Jon Lund likes to talk politics or at least talk about Obama, and as we all know, Ralph isn't afraid to give his political views on certain issues from time to time. But yeah, I'm shocked by this. I wonder if this happened today.

greebs
greebs

Next on the list (hopefully): RADNICH. Replace those two with guys (or girls) who actually like sports and care about their listeners, and we're onto something...

Long time listener
Long time listener

I am devastated by the news and think this is a monumental mistake by KNBR. Ralph is an institution and the Bay Area's version of Tony kornheiser. While he and Tom do not focus on Sports entirely, they have a great show. Here's hoping that Ralph lands on his feet and does so soon. Shame on KNBR.

FL
FL

Intriguing. KNBR has made some odd moves in the last year or so. I'm looking forward to reading more about the Barbieri firing, and why it happened now.

Stan
Stan

Yeah,I figure his being very late..was like thumbing his nose at the conservatives Dickey bros and Cumulus. Even Radnich has to eat shit there now to keep his job. You think shutting his yap every nine minutes is his style?.. And Pam is right..I'm sure he's already been contacted..

T.J. the Sports Geek
T.J. the Sports Geek

This station is getting worse and worse by the day and continuing to making bad business and programming decisions. Being here in Sacramento, there aren't many options to listen to for sports talk. KHTK 1140 The Fan isn't very good, I don't get 95.7 up here, and 1320 ESPN is lame,too. KNBR was it and now it sucks,too.

lime
lime

Let Fitz co-host the show with Tolbert!!!

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