He is undoubtedly the most popular media personality in the Bay Area--TV and Radio--nobody comes close. Even his detractors would agree with that assessment and given today's stale environment locally, that's not necessarily a rocking assertion, nevertheless, in the #6 market, it's big enough.
Gary Radnich --the all-knowing, funny, not-so-funny occasionally, Don Ricklesesque , all aboard the USS KNBR and KRON for over three decades on TV and approaching a quarter century on sports-talk radio. He's not at the top of his game but he still has enough cachet through social, political and media people to live a very comfortable life and enjoy the luxuries befitting a top banana in a big market.
He's set in the radio end with a popular program on KNBR and a decent six-figure salary enjoying life from 9-Noon before spending time with family and doing the domestic things some of us are all acquainted with; in fact, he's got it pretty good, all in all even at the place, (KRON), he refers to, with a smidgen of great sarcasm, his buster-brown gig. The good news: Radnich can pretty much do what he wants to do, read his sports notes, do his thing and vacate the premises at his leisure, it's KRON you know, or as Radnich would say, get in and get out.
But he's clearly got radio at the top of the totem pole. TV is in his back saddle and just by watching his performance you know that, it's solidly indelible for better or worse. He signed his last big contract many moons ago when KRON was affiliated with NBC and Young/Media General-less. A move both NBC and KRON's owner at the time knew would be a big mistake; a move that would hurt both parties; most notably the network which has never really found its niche in San Francisco or San Jose. But that's another story.
Rumors continue to make the rounds that KGO-TV's top sports/news guy, Larry Beil is looking to go back to Hawaii. He loves it there. A KGO source told me recently that Beil would just as soon be "a big fish in a little pond" and that he covets both the weather and conditions of his Hawaiian roots.
If Beil was serious about going Hawaii 5-0, that would potentially free up a sports position at ABC O and O KGO. It's no secret that a station like KGO would love to shake up the market and make a splashy hire: oh, and who would be available if Beil departed? Yeah, you got it, The great Radu.
ABC and its O and O honchos would no doubt have to make the call here for a big-time hire along the lines of a Radnich switch. And of course there exists quite a few notable sidebars like, for example, money, availability, time, the usual suspects but this much is certain: the dynamics are already in play, provided Radnich is interested and Beil is longing for Honolulu TV News. The answer to both questions are sure, yes indeedy.
Beil has a contract but there's buyout provisions in it. Radnich is working on a special "at-will" arrangement at KRON receiving more than adequate compensation above scale. His monetary meat and potatoes exist at KNBR where he's hovering in and around the $400K salary range. He could receive the same, (or more, conceivably), at KGO, but a hire of that sort of significance would definitely shake up the scene and place Channel 7 and its news blocks at the top of the heap.
As mentioned, yes, there remains a plethora of things and details to be worked out and arranged. Would KGO allot extra time and deviate from their own news style template needed to accommodate Radnich's style? Probably not, more both sides would have to implement a hybrid system where Gary could do his thing and the Dan Ashleys and Carolyn Johnsons do their own. It sounds far-fetched but it really isn't. Given the high-stakes involving such a bold move both sides would have to adapt and make no mistake this would be a bold move.
But this much is certain. Such a move makes sense for both parties. Radnich is still in his prime and could use a change of scenery. ABC and its O and O division, (owned and operated stations), has the financial wherewithal to pull off such a tactical fire and there's no better opportunity than in the Bay Area market where Disney would love to once again conquer. Getting someone like Radnich would accomplish that missive and by the way, KGO's GM, Bill Berton, is a big fan of Radnich. What a coincidence.
Furthermore it's just a matter of time where Radnich is young enough to pull in his last big payday and opportunity and of course to do that he would need a seeker and some availability --KTVU is set with Mark Ibanez who recently was re-upped and is set; KPIX and Dennis O'Donnell are happy with one another , (O'Donnell is signed too), and KNTV is embedded with Comcast and its pickings, (both owned by the same mega-media company). Which brings us to KGO and the Mickey Mouse club.
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*Rich Lieberman 415 Media Exclusive