The Rise Guys return to Sacramento radio on ESPN 1320

07/22/2014 12:00 AM

10/08/2014 12:09 PM

This past March when Kevin “Whitey” Gleason and Mark Kreidler, along with their partner, Dan Dibley – collectively known in sports-talk radio as the Rise Guys – were let go by The Game (KGMZ, 95.7 FM) in San Francisco, they were stunned. Sure, in the tumultuous and often mysterious world of radio, anything seems possible. Firings are common, re-hirings routine, and re-invention a survival requirement for stations as well as their personalities.

The two were briefly on the street wondering what happened, but all that changed two weeks ago when ESPN 1320 (KCTC AM) in Sacramento announced it had hired Gleason and Kreidler – for an afternoon show still called “The Rise Guys,” which debuts Monday in the 2-6 p.m. slot. The pair now work for the same company, Entercom, that fired them in the spring.

It was almost three years ago exactly that Gleason and Kreidler bolted from their comfy, successful morning perch at KHTK (1140 AM) in Sacramento for the greener pasture of the San Francisco gig, where they dove headfirst into Bay Area sports mania. It was hard to fault them for the change of venue.

“We had an incredible opportunity to go to a larger market in San Francisco, which was a good career move,” Gleason said recently, sitting in a conference room at his new station’s Old Foothill Farms studios.

The Game, using the Rise Guys, aimed to take a bigger slice of the morning-sports-talk-market pie from KNBR (680 AM), which dominates the San Francisco market. It did not. Which is not the same as saying Gleason and Kreidler didn’t do a solid show, because by all accounts, they did.

Funny, smart and fast-moving, with Gleason’s deft radio experience and Kreidler’s literate commentary, they moved from Sacramento’s mid-market gentility to the more fierce, cut-throat competition of the fourth-largest media market in the country.

Rich Lieberman, of the 415 Media Blog covering radio and television in the Bay Area, was a Rise Guys fan. “It was a cool show and interesting show,” Lieberman said. “I thought it was an adult show. They relied less on gimmicks and sound effects and more on good, relevant, concise conversation and talk, and that may have been its undoing. I thought Entercom really made a big mistake pulling it when they did.”

Jason Barrett, the station manager who hired the Rise Guys at The Game, was also the person who let them go. When asked about Gleason and Kreidler leaving the station, and eventually turning up in Sacramento, Barrett responded in an email: “They’re two great guys who I really enjoyed working with, and I’m sure they’re going to do very well for ESPN 1320.”

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