RIP Tom Barberi

Tom Barberi Passes

The man behind, “Utah by 5. Trust me,” and the driving force behind football tailgating at the U. I listened to him almost every morning driving to work in the 80s thru the 90s before he was unceremoniously canned by Clear Channel. I heard about the 9-11 attack on his show. My personal favorite, however, might have been when we had a nutjob from where I worked that was on the Utah ballot as a presidential candidate in 1988. Tom’s interview trying to unpack Louis’s story of the Kennedy assassination, torture by the CIA in a movie theater, stolen oil well rights, and the Howard Hughes will was magnificent.


Also the father of Radio from Hell host, Gina Barberi.

Barberi died Friday morning, according to daughter Gina Barberi, who followed her father’s career path and is now a host of X96′s “Radio From Hell” show. He was 78.


Enjoyed his show every morning. It totally sucked when the Clear Channel Monkey….eeeerrrrrr…Program Manager cold fired him.


My dad was an avid KALL listener, so I grew up hearing Tom’s voice nearly every day. While I rarely understood what he was talking about as a kid, I always loved listening to him because dad seemed to hang on his every word. I didn’t listen to much radio as I got older, but would always stop if I was channel surfing and he happened to be on.

He will definitely be missed.


He was a good, generous, funny man. He and my wife were pretty good friends and he actually read the announcement of our engagement on the air. I cannot believe he was terminated. We missed him already, and now we will miss him more.

Ophir State forever!


This is really sad news - he was still a young man by today’s standards.

Famous now for ‘Utah by 5’, not many remember what a great radio program he hosted, comic relief, interviews, commentary, political, social, sports, etc. and and there are probably too few who remember, as @HoopUte mentioned, his involvement in really establishing Utah Football Tailgating. Seriously, the main tailgate lot should be branded the “Tom Barberi Tailgate Lot”. Can someone close to the program, please suggest this idea?

When I listen, today, to sports radio, I listen to ESPN700, at 700 on the AM dial. If I’m in a car that belongs to someone else, and want to hear sports, and am searching the dial, I of course stay away from KSL at 1160, and to this day start searching for KALL 910 - it takes a minute to remember that it’s now, 700. Old habits die hard. :slight_smile:

RIP Tom. Ute’s by 5 in the Rose Bowl, my friend. (I’d love to hear his comments on the possibility of THAT happening.)


I can’t believe Tom is gone. Nothing will ever be the same. With OSH demolished, no Barberi, the UTES winning football games and losing basketball, it’s not the same school.

I started listening to Tom’s morning show in 1973. I learned more of the important aspects of life from him than I did from any professor.

Thank God for “Utah by 5.” That optimism dragged the Utes out of their dark winter of football failure, which ended in the 1988 beatdown.

RIP Tom Barberi. I’m all in favor of naming the tailgate lot after him. And I would add 7th East as well.


I had some interaction with the KALL radio people back in the day through my (now) ex-wife who knew Benny Williams, the station manager brains behind the classic KALL radio lineup. When the Hatch family owned the station it was a unique presence in Salt Lake. I remember when Benny hired Hans Peterson. A lot of people didn’t care for him, but I heard he’d responded to that with, “I haven’t had this many complaints about someone since I hired Tom Barberi, and that worked out fine.”

Who remembers the system for students to get basketball tickets during the 1978-79 season where you had to be listening to KALL radio just after 2:00pm where they would announce the two central campus locations where you could, in an orderly fashion of course, line up to get a coat check number to use to line back up at the Special Events Center at 5:00pm to actually get your game ticket? I remember the on-air guys at KALL just thought that was hilarious, and it was. A few thousand college students stampeding across campus, leaping snow banks, trying to figure out the fastest route on the fly, just to get a chance at a good ticket. Good times.


After the Rice Bowl, Tom’s show was nothing but calls to talk about the beat down during the next week. I remember the caller “Flyer” telling Tom he got the Utah by 5 correct because there was a 5 in Utah’s final score.

Good times.

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He hosted a New Years Eve party we went to in the late 80’s at the University Park Hotel. I won a “I root for the University of Utah and whoever’s playing BYU” T-shirt from him for some contest I don’t remember. He was funny and seemed like a genuinely nice guy.

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In 1986 he hosted the Tom Barberi Whine Cellar annual “Whine Off” between Utah and BYU. The idea was to fill 60 minutes of good hearted humor between the 2 schools but remember it was smack dab in the middle of dark times for Ute fans. Two representatives from each fan base had 10 minutes to tell jokes about the other school. My dad was a notorious College of Business professor and loved to tell jokes. He teamed up with ex U of U cheerleader and Mayor Ted Wilson to represent the Utes. The BYU reps were some car salesman and a Deseret News columnist. The judges were Todd Collard, one of the old Saliva Sisters and the perpetually funny Jazz coach Frank Layden. The judges gave scores from 1-10. Both Bill Marcroft and Paul James did the play by play as it unfolded. Well guess what happened? It was supposed to end in a tie but Frank Layden miscalculated his final score to ensure a tie, and BYU won by one point! Barberi didn’t know what to do because that wasn’t part of the script. We now have a beautiful horse’s rear trophy in our house to remember this 2nd place funny event. We’ll miss you Tom!


I’m not going to lie, I was an all day KALL listener when it was Barberi, Petersen, Kramer & Wix. I alway thought Fred was the best doing the call in show but also thought that Hans was the best of the three daytime hosts. I loved Tom and Danny was Danny but Hans and his characters were entertainers.


So this morning I was watching a short video about a local dentist office before making an appointment and noticed Ted Wilson was a patient they interviewed. I got curious as to what he was up to. Found his Wikipedia page and it says he died yesterday in Seattle. No mention in local papers yet. Is this accurate?

Just so everyone knows, this Wikipedia page is wrong and has been corrected. According to Ted, reports of his death are very much premature. In other words, he is still with us.


Something inaccurate on Wikipedia? This is unprecedented. But happy to know Ted is still alive and kicking.