The Razor is one of the more opinionated and strong willed radio talk show hosts that you will ever hear, his voice is unique and unflinchingly recognizable. His wit and razor sharp tongue earned him the nickname “The Razor” and for 28 years his unique voice serenaded my ears while tuning into the only sports-talk show in town, KNBR.
He’s got a unique sound and a definitive opinion, and quite honestly I couldn’t stand the man or his baited questions for the first half of his career. I thought he was pompous and self serving, and I’d often find a reason, however insignificant to turn off or not listen when Razor was speaking.
Over time, I’ve learned to enjoy Ralph and bear down through the obvious bait questions, and coupled with Tolbert they were easily my most favorite show on KNBR. Not to mention, he’s about the only host that knows the Sharks exist.
But all that changed when KNBR completely and utterly dismissed and disregarded their 28 year employee and vital cog in the Bay Area’s sports psyche. I then realized how much of my daily sports talk intake revolved around Barbieri, and how much I enjoyed the Razor and Mr. T Show.
After listening to Tom Tolbert’s heartfelt goodbye to his longtime partner, I felt even more compelled and sad for Barbieri and fortunate that I had the chance to listen to these 2 men exact their craft for so many years.
Tolbert’s emotions were evident as he spoke about the difficulty in letting go of Ralph and saying good-bye, his honesty and vulnerability was unlike anything I had ever heard on KNBR. Lamenting the fact that in the radio business, not many people get a chance to say bye to their listeners struck a chord with me in regards to Barbieri.
I already disliked the station quite a bit, given other oddly managed firings or promoting / demoting employees for a variety of reasons, none of which made any real sense.
KNBR’s long standing pro-Giants and pro-49ers stance / anti – A’s and Raiders, coupled with their older demographic and at times arrogant nature, had always rubbed me the wrong way. Being a product of the East Bay, and growing up loving the A’s, Raiders and Sharks didn’t help KNBR in the polls within my heart either.
So I made the jump to 95.7 The Game, and haven’t looked back ( with the exception of Tom Tolbert ) Does the quality of content on FM leave something to be desired? Sure, but I like the direction of the station and a few of the hosts, it’s refreshing to have a place to talk A’s, Sharks and Raiders and who doesn’t love the underdog?
So imagine my surprise when I heard that The Razor would make an appearance on “The Drive” with with Brandon Tierney and Eric Davis, and he’d be on for a full hour!
With rumors of “The Game” poaching the ranks within KNBR, I thought that Barbieri’s appearance would mark his decision to join the ranks of 95.7, which would certainly add more spice and throw gas onto the fire that is the battle of the airwaves in Northern California.
I was excited to hear from Barbieri, and hoped that the interview would be a momentous one.
After listening to the hour long segment, I left with more questions and less closure than I had going into the interview.
What I had hoped was a brief yet fiery dismantling of the cronies at KNBR, instead turned into a long drawn out session of complaining and rambling, with little to nothing in the way of cement evidence or wrongdoing. Ralph took the opportunity to try and drag the higher ups at KNBR through the mud, including Lee Hammer but instead ended up sounding confused, old, and without direction.
His voice giving out didn’t help, maybe rescheduling the interview might have been a better idea, in fact the whole interview didn’t have much of a purpose to be honest.
How his lawyer could have possibly advised this appearance is beyond me. She must not like to win, because Barbieri sounded weak and listless instead of strong and assertive, and was not what I was expecting.
Worse of all? Barbieri even whiffed when offered the chance to say goodbye to the legions of fans he had over the course of his illustrious career. Given the chance to say goodbye correctly, Barbieri instead rambled on, until faking a mistake in his “Angels” signoff line by uttering KNBR instead of The Game.
I mean Tierney and Davis couldn’t have been more accommodating, and literally served it up to Ralph on a golden platter and instead Ralph talked about shoes….
I’ll be following the progress of his lawsuit, because well…. I don’t like KNBR and the “peninsula” attitude, I don’t like big corporations, and further dislike the manner in which the company ( hell, ANY company ) dismisses a 28 year employee in such a disgraceful manner.
Good luck Ralph, I will miss you and I wish the best to you and your son but I wish you took the time on “The Drive” to say goodbye properly.
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