Rich Lieberman is what you call a media gadfly. That’s a good thing. I’ve known him forever and he writes a blog about local media called 415 Media. I don’t know how he knows stuff, but he really knows stuff. He has good sources and he predicts big media news before it’s even news. So I want to share his latest post, which predicts Ralph Barbieri will sue Cumulus which owns KNBR. I have no idea if there will be a suit, but it’s worth reading what Rich has to say because, as I say, he knows stuff and in the case, the stuff could get ugly. To read Rich Lieberman on Ralph Barbieri click here.

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  1. OccupyKNBR

    Contract or not if you are an employee the harsh reality is that any of us can be dismissed in California as it is an at-will employment state. Case in point: Ralph Barbieri. Realistically he cannot file suit. Still, I am upset to learn of his unceremonious dismissal from KNBR. Whether he was paid a quarter million dollars a year or not, whether listeners liked him or not, whether he bullied or talked over callers or guests or whether his job performance (and all important ratings) declined in recent years is clearly all fodder for the blogosphere now.

    You could see the storm clouds for brewing over the Bay Area radio landscape last year when Cumulus Media acquired KGO radio last year and immediately changed the popular 40+ year old talk format and cleaned house by throwing out the majority of the on-air talent (Cumulus Media said that it was a “business decision” to change the format). Being a born and raised Bay Area native I was really disturbed by the fact that the KGO radio shows and personalities that I had grown up with were suddenly gone.

    What is most revealing is that Cumulus Media, being a for-profit business, clearly has little or no concern in what truly listeners want. Their concern seems only be about driving up profits. Dismissing Barbieri, a popular local media personality, after 28 years of solid service is just plain cold and indifferent. It exemplifies everything that is wrong with corporate America, and certainly Cumulus Media, after their KGO format change and talent slaughter, is now on to Phase 2 of their Bay Area radio domination plan: changes at KNBR. Good, bad or otherwise, unfortunately for all concern this way of doing business is now the harsh, new reality.

    Lowell, I must assume that after a 30+ year journalistic career in the newspaper business you have seen many changes, good and bad, as well. Based on the newspaper industry corporate consolidation I have witnessed in the Bay Area in recent years you must have a taste of this as well.

    In the short I’ll miss Ralph. However, I know that when one door closes, another always opens. It’s just the way of the universe we live in. I’m certain we’ll be hearing from Ralph again soon.

    April 12th, 2012 3:49 pm

  2. D. Devil's Advocate, Esq.

    You don’t play chicken with corporate media (not monopolies, not saying that, no way).

    Sorry, Ralph, but these guys have a better eye for the main chance than you ever will, and they know how to cut their losses, bad PR be damned.

    They know this is news for maybe two cycles, until a real sports story comes along and kicks it to the curb. A talk radio guy has NO leverage, none. “The mother of all lawsuits?” Outside of Bay Area media folks, nobody gives a hairy hamster hinder about some babbling slub on AM radio. Freakin’ AM radio!

    April 12th, 2012 3:53 pm

  3. Stan

    I read his blog. I like the best poster he has- somebody called the “Masked S”..just brilliant observations,dead on. What a guy.

    April 12th, 2012 4:42 pm

  4. KauaiRobert

    I would.

    April 12th, 2012 6:03 pm

  5. Dr. Feelgood

    In regards to “at-will employment”: although not an attorney, I believe that an employment Contact supercedes that statute. A lawsuit can result from a breach of that contact. Without knowing the tenets of the contract, our speculation is akin to playing marbles without any, well, marbles.

    April 12th, 2012 7:44 pm

  6. B-Rad

    Current standing on Ralph’s termination based on CohnZohn responses:
    Happy he’s gone – 29
    Sad he’s gone – 28
    Don’t care – 12
    Cumulus sucks – 22

    April 13th, 2012 8:27 am

  7. KauaiRobert

    Please add me to the ‘Don’t care’ group.

    April 13th, 2012 11:15 am

  8. EatMyCumulus

    I am sad Ralph is gone, he was the voice of the fan. Cumulus execs are soulless cretins.

    That 415 blog is fluffy worthless garbage. I learned NOTHING. I’ve gotten more out of reading reader posts here and on the Cron and Merc.

    You are missed Ralph, you touched us all. I wish you and your son all the best brother.

    April 13th, 2012 1:35 pm

  9. kkrimer

    I don’t listen to KGO any more, haven’t since the switch. Enjoyed Razor & Mr T on commute, can’t stand some of the KNBR talent, loud & obnoxious. Don’t need to be yelled at, Ralph taught Tom and sure vice versa.

    As far as the firing goes, it’s standard procedure. As unpleasant as it sounds, they do it that way for safety/security.

    April 14th, 2012 9:50 am

  10. Stan

    Technically,Ralph can never win. But,since we are talking about the American court system and lawyers,Ralph need only make it a real threat to cost Cumulus and KNBR far,far,more in court costs then his salary and nice settlement would bring. And Cumulus can add some things as “Never discuss” the case or firing to the agreement.

    I’m fairly certain that’s how it will all go down.

    April 14th, 2012 12:54 pm

  11. Neal

    He is suing Lowell and I am against Corp Americia but am rooting for Ralphie not to get a dime, Ralphie has sucked for a very long time, he sounds like a intern to Tolbert, he does not follow sports any longer and it is all about ratings and his ratings as Brian Sabean said Quite Frankly he is not very good, Right from 415 media.


    April 15th, 2012 3:11 pm

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