The Razor Ralph Barbieri rips into KNBR on 95.7 FM ‘The Game’

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.

The Source :

Bay Area Sports Guy 

7 replies
  1. Jed Gray (sportsglutton)
    Jed Gray (sportsglutton) says:

    Having been a NorCal and East Bay resident I know The Razor all too well. I respected the knowledge he held on certain sports subjects, but for me personally I never could get over the amount of information he didn’t know and what I perceived as his lack of preparation. Still I know that the show had a loyal following and therefore I’m shocked that he was axed. Really shocked and I know that his unique voice will be missed in the bay.

    Thanks for keeping me informed!

    Reply
    • stockspyder
      stockspyder says:

      Thanks for chiming in Jed, I enjoyed Ralph and the time we had with him. I’d have to agree there on the lack of information that he didn’t know, there was a lot of that.

      I can almost give him a pass, considering his longevity but he’s way better than Radnich. Gary sounds like he doesn’t care and he rarely talks sports. I can’t listen to 2 hours of talking about dental implants or Kim Kardashian’s toenail clippings.

      Anyhow, I’Il miss Ralph and wish him the best thanks again for chiming in!

      Reply
  2. yunho
    yunho says:

    Thanks for the insight – I also moved away from KNBR because of its impulse driven, host ego feeding hiring moves (radnich) and biased opinions of the teams they carry (giants and warriors)

    Reply
  3. kublakhaan
    kublakhaan says:

    My favorite Razor bit was his sign-off: ‘Angels have wings because they take themselves lightly’–This from one of the most pompous, self-important egos to walk God’s green earth. I always enjoyed the show for its unintentional irony and comedy. The Razor was self-deluded in the way most humans are but to such an absurd degree it made me feel better about myself, like watching Jerry Springer. Like so many west coast baby boomers who came of age in the sixties the Razor believed himself intellectually and spiritually superior, especially to jocks like Mr. T who, by contrast, always took himself lightly. Great theatre I’ll miss.

    Reply
  4. Munchyy
    Munchyy says:

    kublakhaan- you are so right. In addition ralph was confused about his identity. When Tolbert called him whitebread old Ralph was indignant. The facts: Lived in Marin. Listened to classic rock but pretented to like soul and blues. Mba from Wharton (no denying the guy was smart). Drove a miata, a red one at that. Was a phony environmentalist. He once called Radnich and explained how easy it would be to cut back on his carbon footprint, except for the fact he loved money and his car- that’s what he actually said. spewed liberal political nonsense without any sense of irony about his own lifestyle. Loved drugs and “peace” without the recognition of the destruction and violence associated with drug trafficking. Tate’s middle name is Ali, after Mohammed Ali. What a phony.

    Reply

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