Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Barbieri Post Mortem; Analysis; How To And How Not To Handle A Problem

 Sunday Quickie...

The story is out about Barbieri. The case has been settled. The settlement amount is the basis of some extreme hostility aimed at me over the validity of the dollar figure and my interpretation of what is fact and what is not. Since the same person who gave me the information on the settlement itself; a person who I know is 100% legitimate and who also knows the dollar amount, then I'm comfortable about the story. Yes, the idea that disclosing the figure would jeopardize the award should tell you something. Those of you that come here and know my record, then you know I got it right. Those of you that continually bitch and moan and want to shoot daggers at me 24/7 that's your right and I couldn't do anything to sway your feelings one way or another. Fine. I'll stick with what I reported. My record speaks for itself.

*One of the biggest critics of Ralph Barbieri was me. I had complained here about his aloofness, his frequent habits of tonsiling the microphone several minutes after Tolbert opening the show. It was annoying, it was disconcerting to his listeners and it gave ample ammo to his bosses. Nevertheless, Barbieri was still Barbieri; entertaining, always unpredictable and still able to move the needle and maintain the bottom line, which were the ratings. And in a business that is ALL about the bottom line and advertiser/station bliss, what the hell difference did it make anyway?

Here's the consensus: It's abundantly clear that KNBR and Cumulus wanted Barbieri OUT and were fed up with his antics and in-house shenanigans, (even though, apparently, it had absolutely zilch effect on the numbers). And that was their right to off him, (with cause, they thought), but boy oh boy could they have handled it a whole lot better than they did. Like say...

Ralph, we like you, we appreciate your 20+ years of service to the company, we acknowledge you have a debilitating disease and that your son needs his dad, etc--, but we made a decision--we want to move on. We'd like you to be able to go out like a champ and say goodbye to all your fans. We're going to pay you a hefty settlement and allow you and your family the dignity of leaving gracefully.

Of course Ralph might have balked and said screw you!-- OK, Ralph, we'll give you to the end of the year and we'll take care of you. That's how to handle things. That's how the pros work. For one, KNBR and Cumulus could have saved itself a whole lot of money not to mention the embarrassment and outright boorishness of the end result. Which is precisely why they settled it at the very end because the consequences of actually going to a jury trial and all its unpredictability was far worse than writing a check to the Razor. Post mortem

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  1. Don't weep for Ralph. He got 20 plus years at a station that had high visibility, and gave him plenty of opportunities. Before he worked at KNBR, he was pretty much an unknown, working part time until then-GM Tony Salvadore decided he wanted a fellow loud and brash Italian to replace four year host Dave Newhouse. Ralph had a great run and helped make KNBR the sports giant it has become. He may have been 'shoved' out the door, but this large settlement puts him ikn good shape for his 'sunset years.'

  2. This is a tale of two issues. Cumulus treatment of an employee termination and the like/dislike for Ralph Barbieri. The "Employee Termination" has now played out.

    Obviously people loved and hated Ralph. Some, like myself, both loved and hated him. Ralph was an interesting personality; a great sports mind with a unique nasal delivery who wore his passion on his shoulder.. Is Bay Area Sports Radio better off with Ralph gone? Is Tommy Tolbert delivering a better product with Ray Ratto? As many times as I hit the off button because of Ralph I would have to say no to both. Ralph would piss you off but he also forced you to think about how you really thought on a number of sports related matters. We will never see another nasally assed son of a bitch who made you keep coming back for more in Bay Area Sports Radio again ..

  3. One thing that most of your anonymous posters don't seem to be acknowledging is that once again, Rich Lieberman broke a major local exclusive on a key member of the media. Ben Fong-Torres, who does a nice job reminiscing about DJs from the 1970s and 80s, never has this kind of exclusive, hard biting analysis and opinion in his occasional columns in the Pnk Section of Chronicle. For that matter, not other bay area reporter posts this kind of information for the public in either via the newspapers or on a blog. Keep up the good work Rich! You may have some 'haters' out there, but there are a lot more admirers and followers of what you're doing, and we depend upon you to deliver the 'juicy and edgy' news concerning local media!

  4. Ralph was treated shamefully by Cumullus, but he walks away smelling like a rose. Cumulus could have just paid him off for his last year at 350 grand (his salary), but they decided to clumsily end his tenure with their boorish move. Good for Ralph that he got the big settlement. Make those Dickheads pay! I'm so glad that you've exposed what a bunch of scum-sucking weasels they are Rich. They don't care what people think though, they don't care about quality broadcasting, they have no idea what the word 'loyalty' means, all they care about is money and keeping their precious CEOs and shareholders happy. I wish people like the Dickheads would get out of the radio biz and into something else, like selling used cars.

  5. "We're going to pay you a hefty settlement and allow you and your family the dignity of leaving gracefully."

    Yep, and then the heavens will open up, sweet music will play as rose petals will fall from the sky, diseases will be cured and all wars will end....

    Rich, if you think ANY radio station would take such a stance in the year 2013, you are..well, let's say "optimistic."

  6. I doubt that I am first with this; how many would agree that KNBR is BRKN?

  7. Anon at miss the irony of your statement. Why do so many people just accept the skull crushing as normal now? The CEO's have won....and they have the average man doing their fighting for them. Labor whether it be white or blue collar is given no value nor respect by the very same people who do it, so ready they are to bend over for the corporate reaming, and gladly accept it to keep their job with diminishing benefits and pay lest they be branded as a "malcontent".

  8. never disclose your source. stick to your guns.

  9. Tolbert by himself, or with Byrnes, is just too juvenile for me. I used to listen to Ralph and Tom during drive time, but without Ralph it too often degenerates into lame or gross out humor that Tom will run with for five minutes. Ray Woodson is good, but no doubt Tolbert has the personality that gets the average guy 18-55 to listen. I think KNBR is stale.