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Sports & Recreation

Best Radio Sports Talker 

KNBR's Tom Tolbert

The discriminating Bay Area sports-talk listener won't find many local hosts worthy of his attention on KNBR-AM (680). Gary Radnich's midmorning show is as amateurish as it is incomprehensible (although Radnich is a riot when he tries to articulate his worldviews), and former Warrior great Rick Barry's midafternoon slot is too often handed to San Jose Mercury News columnist Skip Bayless, a whiny no-talent who never met a bad pun (or a bad trade) he didn't like. That leaves the afternoon drive-time slot (3 to 7 p.m.), the province of Ralph Barbieri and ex-NBA bench-warmer Tom Tolbert's Razor and Mr. T. show. Barbieri, while a good foil, can be a too-abrasive homer, but Tolbert has blossomed into the best sports-commentary personality in the Bay Area. This is not life-and-death stuff, and Tolbert does a better job than most of combining the lighthearted, witty sensibilities of the average betting fan with the expertise of someone who has spent his life in and around sports. He doesn't talk, or think, like an ex-athlete; he's honest and articulate; and he's not afraid to separate himself from the field of cliché-spewing yakkers. He's definitely worth a listen.


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