A week shy of his third anniversary with KHTK (1140 AM), F.P. Santangelo finished his shift on "The Rise Guys" morning show. And was promptly fired.
Santangelo, a former major league baseball player whose years of contacts helped enhance the program, confirmed as much Friday with The Bee, saying he was "surprised" and "disappointed," and 1140 "quite honestly made the biggest mistake in the history of the station."
Program director Jeff McMurray could not be immediately reached by The Bee, but Santangelo said McMurray told him cost-cutting measures were the root of the dismissal.
"The ratings have been low, and there was an uneasy vibe going on, but I didn't realize it was that bad that I'd lose my job," said Santangelo, an Oak Ridge High School product who later attended Sacramento City College before a long professional baseball career that included stints with the A's, Giants and River Cats.
Santangelo worked with veteran hosts Whitey Gleason and Phantom. Well spoken and opinionated and able to laugh at himself, Santangelo provided a former pro athlete's insight, and he had invaluable resources.
Santangelo had Kings co-owner Joe Maloof call in last week to talk about the Kings and the apparent shaky job status of coach Reggie Theus.
Santangelo said he felt "stabbed in the back" by the station, which stood by him last December when he was included in the Mitchell report on performance-enhancing drugs. Santangelo talked openly about his involvement with human growth hormones on the air, which proved to be a ratings boost.
"When (former program director Mike Remy) was here, he was behind me, and the station stuck with me after the Mitchell report, but it's not the same now," Santangelo said. Remy was let go last February by the station.
Santangelo said he would return for his fifth season with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area this spring to do pregame and postgame Giants work. He anticipates a full recovery from this, saying, "Maybe one day I can look back and say this was the best day of my professional career.
"I think I'm really good at what I do. I'm not sweating finding another job. I'm very confident."
Call The Bee's Joe Davidson, (916) 321-1280.