Sports

KNBR shakeup: New voice arrives, another longtime host is out, new teams are announced

Bay Area sportscaster Gary Radnich, seen in this 2005 file photo at San Francisco TV station KRON, announced his retirement as a radio host at KNBR with a weekend tweet.
Bay Area sportscaster Gary Radnich, seen in this 2005 file photo at San Francisco TV station KRON, announced his retirement as a radio host at KNBR with a weekend tweet. Bay Area News Group file

KNBR-680 radio host Larry Krueger celebrated his outgoing partner, Gary Radnich, as a “big-picture guy” who brought the proper perspective to his sports-talk duties while dominating the Bay Area market.

“He brought energy and enthusiasm, and love of life, and love of people to the show,” Krueger told his listeners Monday morning. “He brings all the gamut of emotions … and authenticity. … And he made people laugh.”

Radnich, 69, abruptly announced his “retirement” from KNBR with a short tweet over the weekend. But it has become apparent that Cumulus Media, the corporate owner of KNBR, is pushing out both Radnich and Bob Fitzgerald in a stunning move to trim costs as Greg Papa prepares to join the station.

On Monday, KNBR kicked off the 10 a.m. hour with its traditional introduction for “The Gary Radnich Show With Larry Krueger.” Radnich, however, was absent as Krueger explained he would be in later this week to say his farewells. There was no date announced for Radnich’s final show.

Krueger deemed Monday’s program as a “three-hour catharsis” – a chance for him and listeners to share their memories of Radnich. Talk of ballgames and draft picks, he said, would “take a backseat to what’s raw and what’s real.”

At times, Krueger became emotional, his voice cracking as he recalled a partnership with Radnich that began in 2011.

“The last eight years have been, far and away, the most enjoyable radio experience I’ve ever had,” he said.

Krueger confirmed Papa will take over the mid-morning time slot starting July 16. Papa, who will kick off his first season as the 49ers’ radio play-by-play man this fall, will reunite with John Lund for the show. The two programmed together for five years on 95.7 (FM) “The Game.”

Krueger called Papa’s new position at KNBR a “natural fit” and predicted he will “put the other side out of business.”

When Papa arrives, Krueger will join Tom Tolbert and Rod Brooks in an unorthodox three-man lineup from 2 to 6 p.m.

“I hope I don’t eff-up that show to be perfectly honest,” Krueger said.

Brooks was a longtime partner with Fitzgerald, who made his first public acknowledgment of his departure via a Cumulus news release issued Monday.

“Quite simply, I’d like to thank everyone that I had the great fortune of working with at KNBR,” he said. “From my cohosts, in particular Rod Brooks, to our tremendous producers and staff I have encountered over the great many years. For three decades it has been my great privilege to entertain the incredible sports fans of the Bay Area. KNBR will always have a special place in my heart and I wish everyone at the station all the best moving forward.”

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