A downsizing at 95.7 The Game has put two high-profile, longtime Bay Area talk show hosts out of work.
Damon Bruce and Ray Ratto, who co-hosted “Damon and Ratto” from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, were informed Wednesday they were being let go.
Also let go was Kyle Madson, who produced “Damon and Ratto” and was an occasional fill-in host, and at least one other employee.
Bruce signed a contract extension in 2022, according to The Athletic, and referred all questions to his agent, who did not immediately return requests for comment. Bruce worked at KNBR as a producer in the 1990s and became a talk show host in 2005 through 2014, when he joined 95.7.
Ratto, who worked at KNBR as a fill-in host and co-host to Tom Tolbert after a long career with two San Francisco newspapers, said the move was surprising while not necessarily shocking.
“They called yesterday and basically just said, ‘That’s it,’ “ Ratto said in a phone interview. “They sent me a package of stuff including severance that I’ve got to go over and decide when to sign. They said there were other people involved and after I found that out Damon Bruce got a similar call and a couple of other people too.”
A representative for the station did not immediately return requests for comment on the moves. The Game officially announced the lineup change on Twitter Thursday afternoon, which will take the station from four shows to three and expanding those shows by an hour.
The new schedule will include The Morning Roast (Bonta Hill, Joe Shasky) from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., Steiny and Guru (Matt Steinmetz, Daryle Johnston) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Willard and Dibs (Mark Willard, Dan Dibley) from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
New lineup starts Monday ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/CLUIQcFRLn
— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) March 9, 2023
Ratto said he believed the move was “purely financial” and noted industry challenges in the Bay Area.
“I know that ads are hard to sell and both stations (including KNBR) are struggling,” Ratto said. “KGO went to an all-national gambling format so it’s not like these are good times for radio in the Bay Area.”
If The Game’s new schedule will mostly mirror what their main rival currently has for their primary radio shows. KNBR has Murph and Mac (Brian Murphy and Paul McCaffrey from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., Papa and Lund (Greg Papa, John Lund) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tolbert and Copes (Tom Tolbert, Adam Copeland) from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
KNBR also has F.P. Santangelo host KNBR Tonight from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Markus Boucher host The Leadoff Spot from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m., time slots that The Game no longer appears to have anyone set to host and could use nationally syndicated radio for.
Madson, who had worked at the station for 3 ½ years, said he worked as a fill-in host, and was called into a meeting.
“They said thanks for my time and it wasn’t a big, dramatic thing,” Madson said.
Ratto was philosophical about his departure.
“This is not like a devastating moment for me,” Ratto said. “I’m old as dirt so retirement was probably looming at some point, so I was kind of mentally prepared for the day. Just not yesterday.”
Alex Simon contributed to this report.
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