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A's radio host bids farewell

A's radio host bids farewell

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OAKLAND -- A familiar face will be missing from the A's ballpark this year.

However, his voice -- an even more familiar sound -- will be heard just across the Bay.

Longtime A's radio host and baseball aficionado Marty Lurie confirmed Thursday that he's taking his wildly popular pregame show to the other side of the bridge, where he will be heard on KNBR's pre- and postgame Giants programming.

For 12 years, most recently on KTRB, Lurie presented fans with "Right Off The Bat" -- a unique show that celebrates the game's history through interviews with old-timers, national writers, club executives, scouts and the like.

A longtime lawyer with an even longer love for baseball, Lurie has bought and sold his own time slots each year. This offseason, though, he never quite landed on the same page as KTRB, which recently agreed to a long-term contract to broadcast A's games through 2019.

"Each year I would negotiate to make sure I had a spot for the next season," Lurie said Thursday morning. "Toward the end of September, I started contacting KTRB but couldn't get answers to any of my e-mails or phone calls as to what the plans were for this next season. It went into late November when I found out that they were looking into different programming."

Said programming now represents the opinions of conservative talk-show host Michael Savage, who will run the airways 3-6 p.m. before the station turns it over to A's broadcasters Ken Korach and Vince Controneo, who will still have a 45-miniute pregame show.

"Essentially they said the A's had too much pregame time and they wanted to have a talk show on," said Lurie, whose show always aired at 5 p.m. on days Oakland played night games. "I had an inclination this was happening and had heard rumors in September, so it was obvious I wasn't in their plans."

Coincidentally, Lurie said he ran into KNBR executives at the beginning of the offseason and, once learning KTRB was only willing to allocate a few hours on the weekend, began pursuing talks with the Giants radio station.

"KNBR has always respected everything I did, and they said they wanted to expand their pregame programming," Lurie said. "They were just so helpful and made me feel so welcome. That's when I thought it's time to make a change if I can work it out."

The result: A weekend show before and after every Giants game that will fill an estimated 5-6 hours for a combined 140 hours during the season. However, Lurie assured his longtime following of A's fans that they can expect much of the same from his new gig.

"A lot of it will be similar to what I was doing," he said. "I'll take more calls from fans -- fans of all parts of baseball. I want to try to give a broad view of baseball, mainly through the Giants' eyes, of course, but certainly I want to bring the essence of baseball to KNBR."

The hour-long shows, aptly dubbed the "KNBR 680 Giants Pre-Game with Marty Lurie" and "KNBR 680 Post-Game with Marty Lurie," will begin March 6 with San Francisco's first home Spring Training game.

"I started out with a 20-minute show and went to an hour and 15 minutes last year," he said. "I've been on all stations with the A's from 1998 forward, but they just wanted to do things differently, and it was obvious it wasn't going to work for me.

"I'm not bitter. I understand the business side of things."

Lurie also realizes his new home will not completely take him away from the fans he's spoken to for more than a decade.

"The A's fans are fabulous, and I've gotten so many nice e-mails from them," he said. "We kind of grew up together through the great years of the A's, and I really enjoyed working on the show. It's definitely bittersweet for me, but KNBR presents a great challenge and a good audience.

"They want my take on baseball, and it's nice to be wanted."

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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