Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Exit the underhander

Rick Barry, the former Golden State Warriors basketball superstar and NBA Hall of Famer, has parted company with KNBR, the San Francisco sports-talk radio station where he hosted an afternoon chatfest for the past five years.

Since Barry started at KNBR almost exactly five years ago, my guess is that his contract expired, and he and station management couldn't agree on a price that would keep him in the fold. Since KNBR's parent company, Susquehanna Radio, was sold to Cumulus Media a few months back, the station has taken several opportunities to shed payroll. Because of his name recognition and idol status here in the Bay Area, he probably commanded a heftier paycheck than the suits at Cumulus thought he was worth.

I have to give Rick Barry credit. When he first took to the KNBR air, I found him grating and insufferably arrogant. He also spent far too much time using his radio microphone as a bully pulpit from which to lobby for the Warriors' head coaching job, a position he's coveted for the past 30 years. Over time, Rick mellowed, at least a little -- not to the point that I loved his show, but sufficiently that I didn't switch stations when he came on. The best favor KNBR ever did Rick was pair him with cohost Rod Brooks, whose affable personality made a nice contrast with the prickly Barry.

No word as yet what will happen to Barry's show, though I presume for the time being that Brooks will simply carry on solo.

Hasta la vista, Rick.


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