The San Francisco Chronicles' Peter Hartlaub wrote an intriguing piece about the firing of Ralph Barbieri on Thursday, bringing to light a number of factors possibly never thought of before hand.
Regardless of if you were a fan of him or not, Ralph Barbieri brought people to the radio day-in and day-out, as described by Hartlaub here:
But here's the thing - I kept listening. I have similarly long diatribes about the shortcomings of Ronn Owens and Mike Krukow and other local hosts I've been tuning in to regularly for 15-plus years. It wasn't just because of Tolbert, and it wasn't a love-to-hate kind of thing. I tuned in because there was value to what Barbieri was doing.
Hartlaub goes into an anecdote about his younger days as a journalist, describing how he wanted to get sent to Santa Clara on assignment so he could pick of KNBR and listen to the Razor and Mr T. But he really gets to the hear of the issue here, where the release of Barbieri could signal a bigger, more sweeping change when it comes to Bay Area radio personalities.
Ralph's voice was actually one of my favorite attributes, because it was a reminder that you don't have to be a Ken doll or sound like Morgan Freeman to make it here. This is the Bay Area, where we're more concerned with what you have to say than how you look or sound saying it. CBS-5′s Dana King can let her hair go gray. Jon Miller can go on near-hallucinatory tangents during a Giants broadcast. And Barbieri, with that voice, could work 28 years in this market. I worry that his departure is a sign that something is changing.
We might not find out why this had to happen to Barbieri the way it did in the near future, or maybe never at all. But wherever you sit on the fence about the Razor, you were going to tune in anyway.