Bob Fitzgerald

Source: KNBR bracing for major cuts on Friday

Cumulus Media has the machete out. According to a source close to the situation, KNBR employees are extremely worried that huge cuts could be coming tomorrow — and as a result, everyone at 55 Hawthorne is on edge. Cumulus is demanding cuts in the form of layoffs and current employees doing more work for less pay, and an already bitter and nervous environment is now toxic.

It’s not just high-priced hosts who are dreading what may come; producers, salespeople, promotions people and others (yes, even Program Directors) could see their positions drastically changed or removed by the end of this week. For those wondering if Cumulus would really consolidate things to such a degree, remember this: Citadel (which owned KGO and KSFO, among other stations) officially became part of Cumulus Media recently, and the corporate execs are eyeing every department for redundancies. So employees who’ve only handled KNBR-related duties could be asked to perform the same tasks for multiple stations, with other employees simply getting pink slips.

Cumulus has already started cutting staff at WKHX, a country station in Atlanta, the location of Cumulus headquarters (the emphasis in this passage is mine):

This is Cumulus Media’s home market, but it has the job of integrating the former Citadel stations, and Rodney Ho at the Journal Constitution supplies the casualty list – Tim Michaels, afternoon guy at country “Kicks 101.5” WKHX, Greg Talmadge, who did traffic for both Kicks and “Atlanta’s Greatest Hits” WYAY (106.7), Bill Celler, former afternoon host at Kicks and more recently digital content manager for the Citadel duo, and Christy Ullman, the promotion director at Kicks. Michaels is replaced in afternoons by Kicks MD Mike Macho. WYAY cut loose the Randy & Spiff morning team last week, but it seemed they weren’t going to be the only folks put on the sidewalk. Cumulus has promised more than $50 million in synergies/cost savings from the merger with Citadel. Meanwhile, Ho also reports, “Curiously, Kicks 101.5 has not added a new song since August 25. Why? This is a fallow period for country music releases, but that is an unusually long stretch to go without a new song.”

Who’s safe at KNBR? Hard to say, although Brian Murphy and Paul McCaffrey (“Murphy and Mac”) would appear to be entrenched since they recently signed a lengthy extension. If radio hosts had approval ratings, Tom Tolbert would definitely lead the pack — he’s sticking around. Ralph Barbieri was a candidate for a pay cut or worse, but after recently announcing he has been suffering from Parkinson’s for over five years it would be create a PR disaster if Cumulus let him go. Especially after Barbieri told Scott Ostler, “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.”

Whatever ends up happening, this is a raw deal for everyone (besides Cumulus execs and shareholders). It’s terrible for the people who work at KNBR to have this kind of uncertainty surrounding their jobs. These inevitable changes and cutbacks are less than optimal for listeners as well, because with consolidation comes less diversity (in terms of programming, but fewer employees could mean less diversity in other ways as well).

In short, if you think Cumulus is simply going to fire Bob Fitzgerald and call it a day, you’re very much mistaken.

Even if you’re one of those people who hates every host and believes a full-scale housecleaning would only help “The Sports Leader,” radio is like everything else — you get what you pay for. Cheaper and more efficient might sound great to a bunch of guys sitting in a boardroom, nodding in agreement every time the awful word “synergies” is uttered. However, those qualities rarely sound great coming through the speakers in your car. KNBR (and other Cumulus stations) could sound very different on Monday … and probably not for the better.

57 Comments

Leave a Reply

57 Comments on "Source: KNBR bracing for major cuts on Friday"

Notify of
avatar
 
smilegrinwinkmrgreenneutraltwistedarrowshockunamusedcooleviloopsrazzrollcryeeklolmadsadexclamationquestionideahmmbegwhewchucklesillyenvyshutmouth
Photo and Image Files
 
 
 
Audio and Video Files
 
 
 
Other File Types
 
 
 
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Stan
Guest
Member
Stan
Congrats at the scoop. And props for the Dickey photo. Never knew what he looked like. And I looked at Cumulus’s site..like a dark portal of nothing if you wanted to contact them or see who’s who. As far as KNBR,I’m not a fan or hater of Ralph. And that he’s playing dirty exploiting his disease? More power to him. Its a terrible illness,robbing you of life,or at least normal-before you die. He’s fighting a company with huge assets. The rest? I don’t see large on air changes. Ralph was the tender young(well paid) fawn until he bit back..Fitz’s deal… Read more »
Stan
Guest
Member
Stan

Although we might get ready for “The Fitz” show..but,that would leave no diversity on KNBR at all.
Would they chance it?

DarbyO
Guest
Member
DarbyO
I can’t imagine Fitz leaving KNBR because I thought that the Warriors pay for his salary, meaning that Cumulus is on the hook for nothing. It’s free labor for them. W/regard to Ralph, he doesn’t seem to try very hard anymore, and I’m always disappointed that he’s not following sports around here more closely. They’ll probably work something out with him at a much reduced salary. What are his options otherwise? If they paid him one-fourth of what he’s making now, it’s still better than nothing. And he’s 65-years-old and should be retiring anyway. Disease or not, it doesn’t cover… Read more »
Stan
Guest
Member
Stan

Yeah,I notice 2-3 years ago that when Ralph would tell a story of some controversial interview he did..it would be at least from 10 years ago. And the Ralph I heard now wasn’t doing anything like that now for sure.
Jeez,the guy announced he had an “allegiance” to the Giants. You cant get any more conformist than that.
Well,as long as he only steals money from Cumulus…

lime
Guest
Member
lime

Did they get rid of Rod Brooks already? Haven’t heard him with Fitz this week….

Stan
Guest
Member
Stan

Wouldn’t doubt it. Like when Monty disappeared from 95.7 weeks early when the word got out the change was coming. Why work humiliated?

Rich
Guest
Member
Rich

Outsource Cumulus CEO Lew DIckey to India or China!!!

ted sillanpaa
Guest
Member
ted sillanpaa

Ralph faces a pay cut … At least. Illness plays no role in slashing budgets at media outlet. Fitzgerald paid by Warriors to do tv games,not to host talk show on radio.tim roye is their radio voice. Brooks has 49ers sideline gig. The morning crew some. Give krueger 9-12 slot and save radnich salary. Keep Brooks OR Damon Bruce. Can’t pay for hosts on 1050 and knbr noon to 3. Gotta keep Tolbert to compete at all with 95.7. The 7 pm slot could go to 49ers, Giants, Warriors voices with Dave Fleming maybe in mix. @tedsillanpa

Stan
Guest
Member
Stan

No,it was revealed a few months ago Fitzs’ KNBR show salary was paid by the Warriors. I think myself-Rods also,or at least a good chunk of it since he NEVER argues with Fitz about Warrior moves.

Max
Guest
Member
Max

Hey isn’t media de-regulation and consolidation great for jobs, independent voices, consumer choices, variety etc?

Stan
Guest
Member
Stan

Worked great for cable-who needed $40 a month And HBO,when you can pay $100 a month ,no HBO?..and hundreds of channels- blacked out…that are part of packages so you can make a car payment to Comcast to see them? I stay in the dark.
Worked out fine.

MrTee
Guest
Member
MrTee

Im sick of barbeiri and tolbert.Yesterday they finally took a call after listening to these 2 Bozos for probably 30 minutes and when they took the caller which BTW was intelligent they conviently took the call at the top of the hour,so after this guy waited for at leat 30-60 minutes they cut him off at the top and said”hang in there” for the next hour,get rid of them both,they are POMPASS ASSES

alex
Guest
Member
alex

EVERY host on knbr is dreadful. 95.7 the game actually TALKS about sports…go figure. Sports fans have spoken, i don’t see the station surviving past 5 years.

Paperback Writer
Guest
Member
Paperback Writer

Try watching/knowing sports and stop expecting some loudmouths to spit and tell you what to think about the past or future game.

“Fourth and inches, 4th down, I would have gone for it —NO I would have punted—- No fake it—– No had a long count for an off-sides— NO, had Jones in there, NO—- had White in there, No— ….PLEASE!!! That minute of The Lame was enough for me. LOL, LOL

Paperback Writer
Guest
Member
Paperback Writer

Alex, this is NOT against you, or anyone who enjoys that kind of sports radio.
I’m commenting on the radio station and their approach.

B.A. Rich
Guest
Member
B.A. Rich

Completely agree. I hate that style of talk radio. Pretending like they know better than the ones who actually live the sport. Annoying to say the least. I do listen to The Game once in a while but the only host I really like is Eric Davis- logically and rationally. His partner Tiereny is a complete opposite.

TommyJ
Guest
Member
TommyJ
They’re kind of screwed by Lee Hammer signing the bad morning show for six years. Murphy’s OK; they just need to remove him from that mess of a crew. Because I hear Murphy doing commercials on other Cummulus properties, he might be deemed more valuable. They need to let go of some fossils on one of Cume’s FM Rock stations and let Paulie Mac take over (has 5 1/2 more years and talks nonsense and rock better than sports). I wish Ralph (especially with his revelation) and Gary the best. But being senior high-salaried talent will either get them reduced… Read more »
Otis Byrd III
Guest
Member
Otis Byrd III
Wow, more changes at KNBR, even though I think some of you guys on here, expected this. Like other people, I hope the change that they make, should they make more changes is switch the Damon Bruce Show with the Fitz and Brooks Show and have Damon’s show on 680, while the Fitz and Brooks would be on 1050. Even though Damon’s show isn’t bad on 1050 and he has a huge following on 1050, Damon deserves to be on 680. It feels like him going to/being on 1050 is like a punishment for his criticisms of the Giants back… Read more »
Stan
Guest
Member
Stan

Only Gary defended somebody who spoke out bigoted thoughts.
If you havent noticed, Gary defends the rich and the rightwing. From his own mouth,Radnich said his wife doesn’t care for Krueger. She seems to be the smart one in the family…

Screw Ralph
Guest
Member
Screw Ralph

I don’t feel sorry one bit for Barbieri. And how pathetic that he prances around telling the world about his disease right before the henchman cometh with the axe. Well, we’ve all had to listen to umpteen years of Ralph “Marble Mouth” Barbieri, so it’s us who have the disease which I call “bloody ear disease.” Take it like a man, Ralph. Good riddance.

InquisitaB
Guest
Member
InquisitaB

You sir, have no class. Ralph has an eleven year old kid by himself and is facing a pretty serious disease. Why would he not do everything in his power to make money?

The Sports Leader
Guest
Member
The Sports Leader

Send Pauli Mac packing. Contract or no contract. Then send him to a school where they give english lessons and proper diction.

Hey Pauli Mac! Learn to speak like an adult male. Your continual use of slang is unbecoming.

InquisitaB
Guest
Member
InquisitaB
English lessons: 1. Always capitalize a pronoun…like the word English. 2. Pauly not Pauli…unless you forgot the “e” at the end. 3. “Hey Pauli Mac! Learn to speak like an adult male.” You probably should have combined these two sentences. 4. Question: In this school they send him to, are they going to give Pauly Mac proper diction or will they give him lessons in proper diction. Because the way you write it it sounds like they will be giving him proper diction. Basically, if you’re going to call somebody out on bad English you had better use proper English… Read more »
The Sports Leader
Guest
Member
The Sports Leader

Agree with the above posts. Ralph comes across as a big phony since he disclosed his Parkingsons.

Man up Ralp. Face the music. There is no neeed to try and garner simpathy with the public.

InquisitaB
Guest
Member
InquisitaB

Learn to spell Parkinson’s Mr. English major. And yes, I’m a huge Ralph fan.

swimfaye
Guest
Member
swimfaye

Im sorry but didn’t this already happen? Cumulus is also the one promoting SweetJack (coupon site )around the bay area and moving it East. I work for a local company and when I went to get advertising rates in June my usual contact was not there and by the end of July my new Salesperson (someone not in SF ) was gone too. I think the hatchet has been delivered behind the scenes now its just the people infront of the Microphone that will take it in the solar plexuis.

Slam
Guest
Member
Slam

OK, Here’s my bare bones, Cumulus salary cap friendly line-up :

5am : Brian Murphy (with Ray Woodsen).

9am : Gary Radnich & P- Con

Noon : Damon Bruce

3pm : Tom Tolbert

7pm : Larry Kruegar

comments:

I dont “hate” anybody, and my heart goes out to Ralph and his son , but …. Kate Scott such a horrible replacement for Dibley … Fitz GONE … Rod Brooks and Paulie Mac 6th man …

InquisitaB
Guest
Member
InquisitaB

I’m curious about whether Tom would even continue doing the show without Ralph. They’re obviously pretty close since Tom was one of the very few people to whom Ralph opened up about his Parkinson’s. If Cumulus was to not have Ralph return, I imagine that would cause problems for Tom.

Rich
Guest
Member
Rich

It also seems like some of the big regular guests would be on Ralph’s side too, like Steve Young for sure. I know Ronnie Lott is usually on in the mornings on Friday, but could swear he was on the last week or so and gave Ralph his best too?

Slam
Guest
Member
Slam

If Tolbert was let go or quit, he would get scooped up by the FM station so fast it would make your head spin.

And I hear he feels very loyal to Ralph

InquisitaB
Guest
Member
InquisitaB

That’s my guess as well Slam. By the way, do you call in to KNBR from time to time? I’m pretty sure I’ve heard a caller with the handle Slam call in before.

Slam
Guest
Member
Slam

Yes I’ve heard the caller “Slam” but its not me. I have a different KNBR name … I actually dont call that much.

Stan
Guest
Member
Stan

lol-Tom would go on just fine without Ralph. In a hearbeat. No eaiser job..and he wouldn’t have to hear Ralph say HE was better at Baseball then Tom ever was. You can tell,that gets under the former NBA players skin.

TommyJ
Guest
Member
TommyJ

Tom actually got mad at Ralph (at least it sounded like it, he raised his voice) when Ralph kept harping on not trading Monta Ellis and crapped on Tom’s NBA opinion that Monta is only a scorer.

Stan
Guest
Member
Stan

Well,so far,NO Terry Lee or Ray Woodsen doing updates..some college girl voice.
Changes.

Jeff
Guest
Member
Jeff

Justaskray.com Ray Woodson IS DOING updates today. He is on right now

Stan
Guest
Member
Stan

Yep,I heard it him after posting. Next week should see if these changes are seen or heard. Could be-almost no change to on air voices.

Meg Marlin
Guest
Member
Meg Marlin

Wasn’t I just hearing “KNBR is hiring!” radio spots just a few weeks ago? I wonder how many new hires are gonna get the ax. Nice.

Dave Roberts
Guest
Member
Dave Roberts

Hey, Ralph is Ralph. He’s a fixture. Tom and Ralph make a good pair.

As for Mac and Murph, would someone please tell me what is good about that show? All the audio drop-ins and cornball songs are on a par with the State Farm and Kars4Kids ads.

Murph tries to be too hip. The guy is in his 40s and still says “dude”.

Otis Byrd III
Guest
Member
Otis Byrd III
They always have the best people to interview on their show. I guess a lot of it is because the morning hrs. are the best time to get the best people to interview but, they do have good interviews. Of course, they interview Kruk and Kuip, Jim Harbaugh, Ronnie Lott, Hue Jackson, Howard Cosell’s nephew, et. al. They also had Peter Gammons on during this baseball season. Nyjer Morgan killed it earlier this week. You have to admit that that was a funny interview. He was dropping S-bombs. LOL. That’s probably the best interview that they’ve done so far. Murph… Read more »
TommyJ
Guest
Member
TommyJ
That’s my point from earlier. Murphy is good at what he does, but the show IMO deteriorates in that “Morning Zoo” format of wanting to know what his “crew” thinks of a topic and his partner liking sports but not always doing his homework (a nickel of for every time “Paulie did you catch that game last night…no I didn’t”). Then they get off the track and go pop culture, little league Blah Blah Blah and I switch over to the Rise Guys, who even though they are schticky at least talk sports. If they dismiss Ralph, Murphy should co-host… Read more »
Stan
Guest
Member
Stan

“Mac” has ridden coatails. WHO is he? why?
And those commercials of how he cant pay his taxes or mortgage..jeez,what is he ? a junkie?-lol.

HoboG
Guest
Member
HoboG
I’ve been listening to KNBR since about the time Ralph Barbieri took over for (was it David Glass?). I had imagined Ralph to be an older man by the sound of his voice. But he captured my attention with his articulate, ballsy interviews. First time I heard an interviewer ask questions that were longer than the interviewee’s answers! He’s got to retire an old man with this station. Tom Tolbert with Ralph is sweet and sour, yin and yan, i.e. better together than not. I never listen to the morning show; too caffeinated for me. I could care less what… Read more »
DarbyO
Guest
Member
DarbyO

Ralph took over for Dave Newhouse at KNBR. Dave Glass did Giants games in the early ’80’s with Hank Greenwald for a few seasons. If Ralph stays or goes makes little difference to me, although I think he’s about 50-percent of the host he used to be when he cared more. If he vanished tomorrow, most listeners would hardly notice or care. Tolbert, however, is pretty good and I think the station should keep him around.

TommyJ
Guest
Member
TommyJ

One thing that is guaranteed not leaving Cumulus. Endless sports-betting touts on shows and on the weekend for one to two hour shows (instead of actual sports talk. With the exception of entertaining and self-effacing Greg Roberts on with Tom and Ralph, I feel I have to take a shower after hearing about “The guaranteed NFL play of the year( fork over your money suckers!)”.

Rich
Guest
Member
Rich

I tune out instantly as soon as those “guests” are on any of the shows I listen to. Instantly. Do you hear me, Cumulus?

The Goose
Guest
Member
The Goose
Ralph is like an old leather couch that you feel really comfortable settling into. What I like about Ralph most is that he doesn’t put on an act like many of today’s radio personalities. And say what you want about Ralph, he isn’t afraid to ask the ‘tough’ questions and raise the uncomfortable issueS that Tommy T avoids. And by the way, I hope for Fitz’S sake he actually is putting on an act. Both he and Brooks are the worst show on KNBR by far. Two condescending, know-it-alls who only have chemitry with each other and not the audience.… Read more »
VOR
Guest
Member
VOR
Couldn’t agree any more on all points. Except the Kruger thing, he bores me. But geeze, Fitz was by himself today, and holy crap it’s rough. Does anyone else ever find it funny everytime he says “so, I was doing the Ravens game this weekend”, or “so I was bs’ing with (insert famous person)” or “(telling random guest), I do Warriors games, so I know exactly where your coming from. So arrogant, and If he was a big deal, he wouldn’t have to put a front like he is a big deal. Rod doesn’t bother me as much, he’s just… Read more »
Reeks
Guest
Member
Reeks

Does anyone know what major changes were actually done, if any at all?

Otis Byrd III
Guest
Member
Otis Byrd III

Yeah, it was nothing really. Like BASG said, it was probably people that were not known to the general public. KNBR made it seem like they were going to make major changes, when they really didn’t change anything. I kind of figured that they weren’t really going to change anything, at least not right now.

The Goose
Guest
Member
The Goose
You’re totally wrong if you think the Razor and Mr. T show without Ralph will be better over the long run. You’ll start going nuts after hearing Tom rant about topics like ‘stale beef jerky’ and ‘twinkies’ for hours on end day after day. And truth be told, Tom shies away from asking the tough questions and raising uncomfortable issues that Ralph brings to light. Tom invariably stays away from controversy which is way his ‘likability’ rating is so high. Tom and Ralph together have excellent chemistry and after a few weeks of ‘Tom only’ shows listeners will notice a… Read more »
MoragaJohn
Guest
Member
MoragaJohn

I’m not a Razor detractor per se but I tune in elsewhere in the afternoon because of him… OK, so I am a detractor, I admit it.
I could not agree more with your perspective on Tom alone… no bueno.

Slam
Guest
Member
Slam

Goose – you’re a Ralph guy, I’m not. Tom does get silly when he goes off on tangents; 20 minutes on gummy worms ? but he’s infinitely better than Ralph. In my opinion.

The Goose
Guest
Member
The Goose

Slam,
read your reply to my post. Hard to imagine the show without Ralp and personally I think Ralph’s obnxiousness brings out Tom’s good qualities a lot more so than if you hand a more placid co-host. Tom is the ultimate Switzerland. He never takes stands unless he’s forced too. We’ll see.

kosmo limo|limousine kosmo|limousine service|sf limo
Guest
Member

It is actually a nice and helpful piece of information. I am happy that you just shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

ejm643
Guest
Member
ejm643

Murph and Mac, don’t get them.   Not funny.

wpDiscuz
What is Bay Area Sports Guy?

It is the top independent sports site covering the teams that play in the best sports region in the United States. BASG is not an ordinary fan blog. It is a place where sports news is broken and analyzed by writers with access who are not afraid to question the status quo, writers who also produce original content in the form of videos, photographs and podcasts.

Questions/Comments? Email basg@bayareasportsguy.com
Fill out my online form.

Copyright © 2017 - Bay Area Sports Guy. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy Terms of Use and BASG Shop Terms

To Top