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Former KNBR Host ‘Razor’ Ralph Barbieri Dead at 74 Due to Parkinson’s

“Barbieri battled the disease since 2005. He did not tell listeners about it until 2011.”

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Longtime San Francisco radio host Ralph Barbieri died Monday after a prolonged battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 74 years old.

Barbieri spent 28 years with KNBR, becoming one of the dominant voices in Bay Area sports radio. He had battled Parkinson’s since 2005 but didn’t tell listeners about it until 2011. His exit from KNBR in 2012 was a high profile story for the wrong reasons. Barbieri sued his employer Cumulus Media for wrongful termination citing his age and disease as reasons for his exit. Despite the messy ending of his relationship with the station, it doesn’t erase the nearly three decades of success enjoyed by both the station and the Bay Area sports radio legend.

Nicknamed ‘Razor’ for his distinctive voice and delivery, Barbieri spent 15 years working alongside Tom Tolbert in afternoon drive on the popular ‘Razor and Mr. T’ program. Upon learning of the news, Tolbert explained what made Barbieri special.

Barbieri’s former partner Tom Tolbert shared his thoughts on the loss of his friend and former co-host. “He was one of a kind, man,” Tolbert said. “He was special. Him and (Gary) Radnich basically built this station. Those were the two guys, the two mainstays, the two pillars that got this thing going. He was fiercely loyal, loved his family, loved (his son) Tate, loved me, I loved him. It was just so much fun.”

Another centerpiece of KNBR’s decades of excellence was longtime host Gary Radnich. He joined KNBR yesterday to chat with Tolbert, Rod Brooks and Larry Krueger about the passing of his friend and longtime colleague adding “When you flipped that dial and heard Ralph’s voice there was nobody else like that. Ralph led KNBR into the hey day of sports talk. He was different on the air…different off the air. An original with a good heart.”

The news of Barbieri’s passing brought out tons of reaction from Bay Area media members and sports figures. All remembered the Razor for his unique gifts as a broadcaster and the memorable moments he provided on the air and inside the studio.

https://twitter.com/susanslusser/status/1290423514252447744?s=20

KNBR program director Jeremiah Crowe issued a statement on the station’s behalf and said “We were all very saddened to learn of the passing of Ralph Barbieri. Ralph was a true legend during his 28 years career at KNBR, 15 of those teamed up with Tom Tolbert are a part of “The Razor and Mr. T” show. Ralph had a unique on-air style to go along with his unique voice. He was truly one of a kind. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his son Tayte who Ralph loved very much.”

KNBR also went into their audio archives and located a vintage rant from the Bay Area sports radio legend. To get a sense of who Ralph was and what made him unique click here.

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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