Gary Radnich, the undisputed king of the Bay Area’s sports airwaves for three decades, presided over his final show on KNBR-680 (AM) Friday morning and insisted that he wasn’t shoved out the door by the radio station.
“There was no way they were going to screw over, cheat, or do anything to a guy who built the station — a guy who was the face of the station,” he said. “What kind of people is that? Nobody would do that. Nobody would screw over a guy who built the station, who does not have any felonies and has been the face of the station for this many years.”
Last weekend, Radnich, 69, abruptly announced his “retirement” from KNBR with a cryptic tweet. In subsequent days, it became apparent that Cumulus Media, the corporate owner of KNBR, was cutting ties with both Radnich and Bob Fitzgerald as longtime Bay Area sportscaster Greg Papa prepares to join the station.
Earlier in the year, Papa, the longtime radio voice of the Oakland Raiders, was hired as the new play-by-play man for the San Francisco 49ers. KNBR is the home station of the NFL team. Papa, who had been working at 95.7 (FM) The Game, and John Lund are set to take over the mid-morning time slot once occupied by Radnich and Larry Krueger.
The new program is scheduled to launch on July 16.
Radnich said that, as soon as Papa was hired to be the 49ers broadcaster, it was obvious that there “had to be rearrangements” at the station.
‘With football starting, the 49ers wanted to get Papa in there,” he said. “I’m not saying it was at my expense. But when you make what I make — what the hell — let’s get Papa in now.”
Radnich, who was flanked tin the studio by his wife Alicia and 11-year-old son Spencer, admitted that his original intention was to finish out his contract, which ran through the end of the year. He hinted that KNBR made him an offer to remain at the station in some capacity — with a reduced salary — but he decided to walk away now.
“Nobody was caught off guard by this,” he said.
(More to come)