95.7 FM The Game

Gary Radnich: KNBR signed Larry Krueger to 2-year contract

Caught a little of the GARY RADNICH SHOW (with Larry Krueger) on my way to the gym this morning. Coming out of one of the breaks during the show’s first hour, Radnich announced that KNBR (Cumulus) had recently signed Krueger to a 2-year contract.

Radnich talked about how impressive it was that Krueger, who’d lost his prior KNBR gig in the infamous “brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly” incident, was able to make a comeback like this, especially in their industry. Krueger quickly dismissed the notion, saying he was the cause of his own demise back in 2005.

However, Radnich has a point. There was a lot stacked against Krueger.

— He was fired publicly after San Francisco Giants manager Felipe Alou wouldn’t accept Krueger’s apology and went on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” and called Krueger “a messenger of Satan.”

— During Krueger’s heyday on Sportsphone 680 he was extremely critical of the Giants, so they weren’t exactly sorry to see him go. If you haven’t noticed, the Giants still listen closely to what KNBR hosts are saying (just ask Damon Bruce).

— Krueger’s market is as politically correct as it is diverse. While fans of Krueger thought the “Caribbean” comment was much ado about nothing, there are several people who remain offended by Krueger’s comments to this day, even more so after Krueger was welcomed back by Cumulus.

— This market also isn’t exactly Eureka or Redding. There are countless people in the radio business throughout the country who’d love to co-host a show on KNBR — including many people who’ve been working at KNBR for years as producers and board ops, as well as people like Kate Scott and Ray Woodson who bring you sports and traffic and fill in as hosts on occasion.

How’d Henry Schulman’s favorite host become Comeback Host of the Year?

— Cumulus was worried about KNBR’s ratings a year ago, which is why Radnich was paired with Bruce and Mychael Urban was brought back mere months after KNBR let him go. Krueger’s an experienced, passionate sports broadcaster who people still knew and remembered — fondly, in many cases.

— Radnich always had Krueger’s back, and was the person most instrumental in his return to the station.

— Krueger did a ton of work over the weekends this past football season, doing pregame and postgame for the 49ers and Stanford.

— The first three reasons are obvious, but here’s another advantage for Krueger that I think Cumulus may have considered: with 95.7 The Game hiring mostly from outside the Bay Area, and a good 2010 for Brian Murphy and Paul McCaffrey (Murph and Mac) as the Giants went on their run and they gave the audience what they wanted (four morning hours where fans could re-live the great game they saw the night before), Krueger’s status as a Bay Area fan definitely helped his cause.

KNBR’s about the Giants. Their ratings numbers are all about capitalizing during baseball season and surviving during baseball’s off-season (the 49ers helped this year). As long as Krueger promised to be on his best behavior, Cumulus probably figured his passion for the Giants would play very well with the team (hopefully) winning in the future. That, along with Radnich hand-picking him as a replacement for Bruce once it became clear his show could no longer be a solo act, led to Krueger’s return and his newfound job security that Radnich announced today.


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