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.

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