Brandon Belt

How long will KNBR keep Gary Radnich around?

Based on the responses I get whenever I mention Gary Radnich, several people have tuned him out completely. “I have no idea how you can listen to him,” @lucas_j said yesterday morning after I mentioned how Radnich complained about the old (but beloved) site, and for some reason mentioned the defunct (and mostly forgotten) (maybe Radnich brought it up because he interviewed/harangued the writer of Fire Sabean over a year ago). And Lucas isn’t the only one who’s sent me similar feedback. That’s actually one of the nicer takes.

While Radnich has been a Bay Area institution for years, it seems like he’s losing the kids, otherwise known as the younger demo. After a year marred by bad ratings, a multi-step transition to hosting his show with a partner that was handled very sloppily, and a forced divorce with Tony Bruno, one has to wonder how much longer Radnich will have a home on “The Sports Leader.”

Today Radnich (yes, I listened again simply because I’m fascinated by how the pairing with Larry Krueger is going — although I don’t know how much longer my little experiment’s going to last before I lose my sanity) said he wants to continue hosting a sports talk show for 5-6 years, and that’s why he’s trying new things on his show. Sure, there’s a new “rumors” segment that may or may not have legs. But is Radnich really doing anything differently to relate to those younger than 50, other than doing his radio show with a younger guy? He still shuns blogs, presumably out of anger toward blogs like this one and a certain other media site that regularly reports less-than-flattering information about Radnich. Twitter? He only mentions it now without a mocking tone because he realizes 99.9% of the media has embraced it.

Krueger’s Role 

Krueger’s a polarizing figure himself. Some will never forgive him for making his infamous comments about “brain-dead Caribbeans,” and there are those who also maintain Krueger’s supposed disdain for Latinos is still palpable. However, Krueger still has his fans and he’s still much stronger as a solo host than playing the role of Radnich’s sounding board. Have you caught Krueger’s recent 49ers coverage? Whether or not you agree with his opinions on the Niners, he’s a former football scout who definitely puts in a good deal of research for his 49ers pregame show.

The problem with Krueger, besides the fact that he’s so obviously more comfortable on his own? With Radnich, Krueger (who’s listed as more of an assistant than a partner based on the “The Gary Radnich Show … with Larry Krueger” intros) seems to be playing the role of the angry guy to Radnich’s friendly media uncle character. Here’s a sample discussion between the two:

Radnich: Hey, some stuff’s going on that isn’t that great with the Giants, but what can you do?

Krueger: If they don’t get any hitters I’m going to lose it!

Radnich: Hey, that’s not part of the “handbook.” Remember, the Giants are on KNBR 680 tonight! (chuckle, guffaw)

Krueger: Here’s an irrational comment to drive the conversation!

Radnich: Oh geez (guffaw), what does Kate Scott think about this? (chuckle)

One of Krueger’s most irrational statements: yesterday he said he had no problem with how the Giants have treated Brandon Belt this year. Krueger’s analysis wasn’t just incorrect, but it was also kind of strange since Brian Sabean recently admitted on KNBR that the way the Giants handled Belt and Brandon Crawford this year was questionable:

“They (Belt and Brandon Crawford) ended up being called up in duress or juggled while we were in crisis mode. It’s not necessarily a fair way to evaluate somebody.”

After Damon Bruce was shuttled back to KNBR 1050 and Radnich ended his self-imposed boycott New York vacation, a lot of people were happy with the addition of Krueger during the 9-to-noon slot. Some were Krueger fans still upset from when he was fired back in 2005, some were just pleased that Radnich finally sounded comfortable (and into it) for the first time in over a month.

Now? This is just one blogger’s opinion, but I find “Gary and Larry” to be an extremely boring affair. The chemistry’s forced (as opposed to nonexistent when Radnich and Bruce yakked together for a couple weeks). The show has no flow. Radnich’s propensity to riff on pop culture and industry-insider subjects has been curtailed, but there’s something missing when they go 100% sports, too. It’s like they’re meeting halfway between no-frills sports and fluff. Solo Radnich wasn’t working, otherwise KNBR wouldn’t try to partner him with two different hosts known for having more passion for sports. But if this partnership with Krueger doesn’t work, Radnich working for KNBR for five or six more years seems unlikely.

What do you think of “Gary and Larry,” and Radnich’s future in general (as it sounds like he’ll no longer work for CSN Bay Area)? The comments section awaits…

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