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UPDATED: Barbieri Statement Confirms Firing, Describes Dismissal as Less Than Amicable

The popular Bay Area radio sports talk show host announced he has Parkinson's disease last year. Circumstances of his leaving the station are unclear.

UPDATED: Barbieri released a statement to several local media outlets confirming that he was fired by KNBR and describing the circumstances as less than amicable.

Excerpts below are from the San Francisco Chronicle's website, where his statement can be read in full.

"... I came to work (Tuesday) morning, totally unaware that anything of this nature was afoot, especially since my contract didn't end until Nov. 1.

As soon as I walked in, I was told that the General Manager wanted to see me. I went into his office. He and the program director were there. I was told that I was being terminated and that today, April 10, would be my last day at KNBR.

...The whole process took about 7 minutes. Twenty-eight years and change at KNBR they had neatly wrapped up for me in 7 minutes. Let's see: Four years for every minute. You got to admit that's pretty darn time efficient - not to mention incredibly classy. Oh, and when I got to my car and tried to access my voicemail, which contained about 20 messages, I found that the station had cut off access to my voicemail. I'll have more to say later."

...

A popular Bay Area radio sports talk show host's days at KNBR are over, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The circumstances of Ralph Barbieri leaving the station are unclear, however the Chronicle headline ("Ralph Barbieri let go by KNBR") suggests he was fired.

Station general manager Lee Hammer told the Chronicle that Barbieri “is no longer with the station. It was a management decision.”

Barbieri has been at KNBR since 1984 and a fixture at the station for decades, co-hosting “The Razor and Mr. T,” with former Golden State Warriors forward Tom Tolbert since 1996.

Hammer told the Chronicle that Tolbert would host the program alone on Wednesday.

Barbieri's apparent dismissal follows his announcement last year he has Parkinson's disease.

The 66-year-old Barbieri's announcement came amid contract negotiations with the station, the Chronicle reported.

“My contract is expiring soon,” Barbieri said at the time, “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.

“He let me know that KNBR wants me back. He didn’t say on what terms, but the fact that he didn’t view the Parkinson’s as a red flag, that was a huge relief to me.”

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Dave April 11, 2012 at 11:39 PM
I have listen to Ralph his whole radio host days at knbr and sometimes I might not agree with him but he has always been the most honest host sports or news host in broadcasting. He will be missed by me and many others and my hope is he. Lands on some other station although we only have basically a very few owners and most of them do not agree with Ralph sports and politically . Hang in there Ralph we love you.
Gideon Rubin April 12, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Thanks for commenting Dave. I often disagreed with him too, but will miss him as well. I always felt like Barbieri brought a certain humanity that's missing from what - let's be honest - is an inherently negative medium. I don't have any inside information, but I'd be surprised if he doesn't surface somewhere very soon. Let's hope!
Michael April 12, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Michael I have listen to Ralp since 84, I appreciate his fearless atttitude when it came to asking the tough questions I really can not believe they would do that. He will be missed very much!! The two of them together were a great mix.
SharksFanTIm April 12, 2012 at 02:03 AM
I've enjoyed Ralph's evolution as a hockey commentator. 6-8 year ago I'd shake my head when he would comment on the Sharks. Now he is an incredibly knowledgeable fan. Like most, I don't always agree with Ralph and his rudeness in interrupting guests is maddening. But he is passionate, knowledgeable and entertaining. If KNBR cut the cord because of his disease it is pretty despicable.
Meghan April 12, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Like others I too found Ralph to be annoying and rude at times but I find myself acknowledging the fact that I will miss him on the air with Tommy.
steve s April 12, 2012 at 05:39 AM
I'm not sorry to see him go. The way he conducted interviews and the way he treated callers forced me to finally up that station during his daily time slot. He was rude and boring. While his love for the Giants could not be denied, the station will be better off without him. They need to totally rebuild the on-air personalities. 95.7 has already passed them in such a short time.
Paul B April 12, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Ralph had lost his edge and it showed during interviews and he was droning on and on which would cause me to change stations. It was time for him to move on.
Larry April 12, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Ralph is Ralph, that said, the disgusting thing is the way management (Lee Hammer) acts as if he must be brutally rude and fire someone and have them ESCORTED out of the building in 7 minutes. Then he gets in his car and has had his voice-mail cut off already. Firings CAN have some CLASS attached to them. This was rude and insulting as if it was intended to fulfill a stereotyped persona that Lee Hammer thought he was supposed to have. What an asshole.
sro April 12, 2012 at 03:51 PM
I agree with the many who have said "I don't agree with his politics- but he had an honesty ( which most far left liberals really don't) and he mostly dealt with facts not slogans - he and Tom T were a really good pair and I will miss him
Joe wylie April 13, 2012 at 06:09 PM
I am sorry he lost his job...but I was not a fan and usually switched stations within 5 minutes of his self-promoting multiple minute questions to guests that were obviously designed to showcase his knowledge rather than elicit responses. he was rude to callers that did not represent him and his viewpoints. I will again put 680 on my radio in the afternoon. JW

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