95.7 FM The Game

Ralph Barbieri suing Cumulus/KNBR for $10MM, once made $380K per year

Now we know what Ralph Barbieri will talk about on 95.7 FM The Game. Barbieri is shooting for $10 million in a suit filed today by his lawyer, Angela Alioto at San Francisco Superior Court. The suit can be viewed here, includes several very interesting notes, including:

— “On November 1st, 2007, Barbieri and the predecessor in interest of the Defendants entered into a written four (4) year employment contract for an annual salary of $380,000, a far cry from the previous $3.00 an hour. Whether at $3.00 an hour or $380,000 a year, Barbieri loved his job.”

(Note: the $3.00 per hour is in reference to his earnings at his “first regular radio talk show at K108” in Hawaii.)

— “On February 15th, 2006, Barbieri was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Barbieri did not disclose this diagnosis to his superiors as he was afraid of adverse employment consequences. However, he did confide in his radio partner, Tom Tolbert. Eventually, on May 19th, 2011 and August 2nd, 2011, he did tell all of the defendants. The disabilities have never in any way prevented Barbieri from performing the essential duties of the job, which he did until the day he was wrongfully terminated on April 10th, 2012. In fact, his partner of 15 years, Tom Tolbert, upon hearin of Barbieri’s termination stated “he is still as energetic as ever.”

(Note: emphasis seen in the lawsuit itself.)

— “In September 2010, Barbieri learned he had Diabetes II. He did not tell anyone at the workplace.”

— According to the suit, Lew Dickey “told Barbieri he could count on having his job at least until Barbieri’s son completed his education.”

— “Relying upon the promise of Defendant Dickey, Barbieri enrolled his son, Tayte, in a private middle school that charged tuition of $30,000. To address a learning disability, Barbieri arranged for special testing, which cost approximately $10,000.”

— Bill Bungeroth and Lee Hammer repeatedly questioned Barbieri’s health and energy level on the air over Barbieri’s last year at KNBR. “Bungeroth yelled at Barbieri: ‘You do not have enough energy. What is wrong with you? We have some competition now, the new station across the street (95.7).’

— “The Plaintiff was concerned his Parkinson’s disease would be discovered by bloggers would then (sic) publicize it.”

— Barbieri claims Hammer was “spying on him” in response to his frequent tardiness, listing all of the times Barbieri’s car came into the parking lot. “According to the email, the surveillance of Barbieri’s car started on August 14th, 2011, 12 days after he had informed them of Parkinson’s and 2 and a half months after they learned of the Diabetes II.

— After disclosing his diabilities, Barbieri claims Cumulus refused to renew his four-year contract, instead going with “a one year agreement, with a three month probationary period and a substantial pay cut, i.e. approximately 1/3 of his previous earnings.”

— The suit claims that “clock-management issues are akin to “holding” calls in football; one could call them on virtually every play, if one wanted to.”

— Barbieri takes 81 pills a day.

— The suit lists seven ways Barbieri suffered workplace harassment:

A. Yelling at Plaintiff;

B. Micro-managing his work;

C. Imposing meritless, petty discipline;

D. Disciplining Plaintiff for using the restroom;

E. Malicious “jokes” and ridicule;

F. Public humiliation; and

G. Surveillance.

— “The Plaintiff hereby requests a trial by jury.

***

“WHEREFOR, the Plaintiff requests the following relief: Ten million dollars.”

33 Comments
33 comments
Matt Lawton
Matt Lawton

Sorry Ralph, you werent THAT good. Get over it. Poor baby and his 300+k Per year. Happens to the rest of us all the time with much less cash. Get over yourself, move on, and become a productive member of society.

josephua
josephua

What's really ironic is that while KNBR was/is allegedly very concerned about 95.7 The Game, I was only marginally aware of their existence before the firing. Firing Ralph was free pub for 95.7 and I find myself actually listening to them from time to time, something I wouldn't have done prior.

Sal
Sal

This is the way to fix KNBR, will anyone listen? Murph and Mac – get rid of Mac. What exactly does he do besides say at the end of an interview, “Yeah, thanks for coming on”, and his non-stop references to the Grateful Dead. Who cares about the GD? Radnich and Krueger- get rid of Radnich. I agree w/ everyone else, he is awful. His time has passed. Krueger can do the show on his own. Fitz and Brooks – get rid of these two. I will not listen to another second of silly middle-school joking around….”Haha, I’m gonna tell your momma” this or that. Most annoying duo ever. I agree, I’m surprised they have not been replaced yet by Damon Bruce. Mr T & Byrnes – Find someone else to pair up with Mr. T if he can’t do the show alone. Byrnes is not the guy. It sounds like he is just pimping himself up, already looking for the next big thing.

The Sports Leader
The Sports Leader

Thanks BASG. In reading your blogg I just learned more than the story in today's Chronicle. The Chronicle writer gave us the impression she was quietly rooting for Ralph Barbieri and made Cumulus appear like Satan himself. So much for objective and fair journalism.

Stan
Stan

Eric is right..They didn't even try to at least be clever and say they understand,but you haven't been on time..just in decent normal honest language..something that Bunghole and Hammer and the Dicks don't comprehend. Well,one thing is a fact.. I'm not hearing any "the great Lee Hammer " everyday like before from Radnich or Pecon. Why risk being hammered in the back?

Gooselosgatos
Gooselosgatos

Butcher, I total disagree with your premise that 'he was done.' Frankly, I would have never guessed he had Parkinsons until it was publicized and never noticed any signs or symptoms on the air. Furthermore, the same qualities that made Ralph great at 47 were still there at 67. Yes, he wasn't as energetic and had clearly mellowed but he was still uniquely himself in a day and age when most sports radio personalities come off as slick and contrived and sound like they had a Stuart Scott poster on their wall growing up. He was still the most authentically edgy personality on KNBR, would challenge personalities from Sabean to Lacob during interviews and was a radio point guard in that he amplified Tom's good qualities through his 'rough around the edges', polarizing and authentic approach to his craft. Frankly, Tom has come off as more bland since Ralph's departure. Also, and this may just be my preference/taste in talk radio but I think it's ageist to assume that being older equates to less interesting in sports talk radio. Talking an lifting a hammer are very different skills. I enjoy and respect your opinions but disagree with your take on this but that is why this board has been so fun.

John P
John P

Ralph is really playing the Parkinson's card well. Did he think he was going to get lifetime employment because of his Parkinson's? If I fear that I might lose my job someday, I'll just say I have TBA and claim discrimination if they fire me. So Ralph admits he's been late to work. I think that one of the job requirements of being a radio host is being on time. God knows the host can't be bothered to hang around an extra 15 minutes until a Warriors pre-game show can start. Why does Ralph think he's entitled to his job? He's been at KNBR for decades now. Radio careers don't last very long, unless you're great or if you have dirt on someone (See Bob Fitzgerald). I wish I could sue all my former bosses for micro-management. Obviously Ralph hasn't had to work a real job since his Hawaii days.

Eric
Eric

I have been in management, and know that when they want to get rid of someone it is all about documentation...even if they want to get rid of someone for another reason. Lets face it, Cumulus media has a HORRIBLE reputation and track record of how they treat employees. They have a reputation for callus behavior, and no regard for reputation or longevity. As a 30 year listener of the station, in its various incarnations, I have to say this does not look good for KNBR. They are taking a huge PR hit for even being involved in this, and its Cumulus Media's fault. Ralph has a very good case here, and the way this was handled, in light of his 27 years of service at KNBR, was atrocious.

Monty
Monty

The one thing that bothered me about Ralph was that he always talked over his guests as if what he had to say was more appealing to listeners. That annoyed me, but I still liked listening. Tolbert isn't the same without him. KNBR is pretty terrible. If it were not for their ESPN Radio slots they wouldn't be worth listening to.

Dan
Dan

Not sure how you could listen everyday...but yeah he's done. And this lawsuit is pretty ridiculous when stripped down to its most basic claims. Ralph thought of himself as something special. He was essentially a diva. And when the new administration took over and weren't buying his act, this is his recourse. It's petty and he should be lucky if he's offered a settlement.

Butcherboy415
Butcherboy415

Goose the part you are totally missing is that once a plumber can no longer grip a wrench, he is finished. As evidence by today's rambling and nonsense, he simply can not perform. He went on and on about nothing and kept bringing up money. Sorry but his argument about making more is ridiculous, he had no more leverage as his energy and attendance were spotty. Also, yes I grew up loving Ralph and will continue to appreciate his place in bay area radio, but his time is over. He reported and spoke about sports. When athletes are done they are done. Even if it's Montana or bonds or Ralph your past accomplishments are forgotten and your employment is based on present and future possibilities. Ralph deserved better than a kick out the door, but don't cry to hard working joes about pay cuts. That's all... And like I will scream fronthe mountain top; I like Ralph, listened everyday, but when it's over it's over...

Stan
Stan

I only wish Ralph could include Billy Beane in his suit..

Gooselosgatos
Gooselosgatos

I don't see Ralph lying about this but there are two sides. If what Ralph said is true, weather he wins the lawsuit or not, he has done a service for all the KNBR employees as management will be walking on egg shells after these revelations. Also, listening to Ralph on 95.7 makes me realize what a fun guy he would be like to hang out with. Total character.

Stan
Stan

Laryngitis? ..well..that's good. Better then what I was thinking.

Otis Byrd III
Otis Byrd III

Man, Ralph's voice sounds terrible in this interview. That sucks he has laryngitis. They should've postphoned it to later in this week, when his voice gets back.

Stan
Stan

Hammer is another who has been pure trash in local sports. I had him pegged years ago as another snively Dick Cheney type. The Dickeys? hide their Wiki page..another businessmen who scuttles around like a nocturnal rodents.. Barbeiri isn't some naive person..It shows how scum big business is. btw..Ralph sounds like this is really affecting him..his voice. He's almost hyperventilating...hard to talk ill and upset.

Butcherboy415
Butcherboy415

Tough to feel sorry for him complaining on air about his $300,000 salary when average Joes like us wont see that in 3 or 4 years... And I like Ralph but....

Jeff
Jeff

It will be settled out of court for an undisclosed fee.

Butcherboy415
Butcherboy415

Wow this pretty interesting... Hammer don't look good...

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