Opie and Anthony
||It has been suggested that The Opie and Anthony Show Army be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since May 2013.|
||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2010)|
Jim Norton, Anthony Cumia, and Gregg "Opie" Hughes
|Running time||6am to 10am, Monday through Friday|
|Starring||Gregg "Opie" Hughes
|Air dates||since March 28, 1995|
|Opening theme||"The Ecstasy of Gold" by Ennio Morricone
"Street Fighting Man" by Rage Against the Machine
Gregg "Opie" Hughes (born May 23, 1963) and Anthony Cumia (born April 26, 1961) are the hosts of The Opie & Anthony Show, a talk radio program airing in the United States and Canada on XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio. It is co-hosted by stand up comedian Jim Norton. Now based in New York City, the show began in 1995 on WAAF-FM in Boston, Massachusetts, and later moved to WNEW-FM in New York with syndication on other stations, until being canceled in 2002.
On April 26, 2006, Opie and Anthony returned to the terrestrial airwaves after a four-year absence, replacing CBS Radio's short-lived David Lee Roth Show, which aired mainly on the eastern coast of the United States. The terrestrial broadcast of the show ran until March 9, 2009. The team was terminated by WXRK-FM when it flipped formats from rock to Top 40.
The Opie & Anthony Show airs weekdays live from 6am through 10am ET exclusively on XM Radio Channel 103 and Sirius Radio Channel 206 "The Opie & Anthony Channel". Replays are available throughout the day on their XM and Sirius channels and on audible.com.
Background and history 
Gregg "Opie" Hughes, and Anthony Cumia were raised on Long Island, New York, in Centerport and Elwood respectively. Hughes graduated from SUNY Geneseo and for the next seven years interned and worked at several western New York radio stations such as 96.5 WCMF in Rochester (where he first worked for Brother Wease) and WUFX in Buffalo. Opie eventually found his way back home to rock station WBAB on his native Long Island. Although not initially doing a talk-show, Hughes did experiment with certain talk elements, including a recurring character named "Spuds Buckley". While earning a living as an HVAC duct worker, Cumia began recording comedy songs with his brother Joe. In August 1994, Hughes, seeking innovative ideas, received an entry during an O.J. Simpson parody song contest. The song was titled "Gonna Electric Shock OJ" (sung to the tune of Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay") by a local band known as Rotgut, of which Cumia was the lead singer. The song was a hit on Hughes' show, and he invited the Cumia brothers to the studio to play live in September 1994. Soon afterward, Hughes and Cumia became a radio team. Hughes' show was called "The Nighttime Attitude" and aired from 8 pm-midnight on WBAB. Shortly after Cumia's arrival, he and Hughes requested that the show be moved to morning or afternoon drive, the two most listened to timeslots in radio. When the station refused, Hughes and Cumia moved the show to afternoon drive on WAAF in Boston, Massachusetts, where they premiered on March 13, 1995 as Opie & Anthony (O&A).
WAAF-FM (1995–1998) 
One of Opie and Anthony's most notable Boston stunts was their staged giveaway of "100 Grand", which was hyped for weeks. When they finally gave away the prize, the "winning" caller laid into the duo with biting invective after he realized the repairs he needed to make to his truck would be un-affordable with a 100 Grand candy bar instead of $100,000.
The duo was fired in April 1998 from WAAF for an April Fool's Day prank involving Mayor Thomas Menino. Opie and Anthony told their listeners that the Mayor had been killed in a car accident while transporting a young female Haitian prostitute. Many believed the story, leading Menino to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, as the FCC prohibits the broadcast of knowingly false information if it causes public harm. WAAF suggested that the duo have pies thrown at them while being held in town square stocks. The idea was summarily dismissed by the mayor's office. Facing a possible license challenge, WAAF fired them, but Opie and Anthony promised that they would return to Boston and get revenge. During the early days of XM Anthony stated that the intent of the April Fool's prank was to allow the duo to be released from their contract with WAAF. He also stated that the duo had been having illegal meetings with WNEW prior to the April Fool's prank. He preceded these comments with "The statutes of limitations must be up on this."
WNEW-FM (1998–2002) 
In 2001, O&A signed a syndication deal with Infinity to syndicate their show on 22 stations nationwide, including WBCN in Boston, longtime rival of WAAF. By this time, show friend Andrew Dice Clay had introduced O&A to Jim Norton, a comedian who toured with and opened for Clay. Norton was a hit on O&A and soon became a regular on the show, appearing three or four days per week.
The Voyeur Bus 
In November 2000, sixteen people associated with the show (including comedian Lewis Black and future show member Jim Norton) were arrested during a promotion for "The Voyeur Bus," a mostly glass-sided bus carting naked women through Manhattan with a police escort. The stunt was harshly condemned by Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
XFL Gameday 
O&A hosted the short-lived "XFL Gameday" – the pregame show for Vince McMahon's startup football league – for four weeks in February 2001. The half-hour show aired nationally on Saturday nights on select NBC affiliates prior to the evening's games. The show was taped on Wednesdays at the WWF's theme restaurant in Times Square, and was open to the public. It featured analysis by WNBC sportscaster Bruce Beck and New York/New Jersey Hitmen head coach Rusty Tillman, but also featured plenty of raunch. One particular segment featured O&A as chefs, inserting a cucumber in between two melons. O&A were almost banned from Giants Stadium for life during the filming of one episode when they imitated a proposed XFL rule where first possession was determined by placing the ball at midfield and having two opposing team-members attempt to get it. O&A did this as God Bless America began to play before a game. They said that the $100,000 cost of making each new show was the cause of its demise, though no official reason was given for its cancellation.
Sex for Sam 
One of O&A's stunts was "Sex for Sam", an annual contest where the goal was to have sex in notable public places in New York City. Couples from various states would be selected to be trailed by a comedian or member of the show, who would call the program to report the location. The contest was sponsored by Boston Beer Company, maker of Samuel Adams beer, and prizes included trips to Boston concerts sponsored by the beer company. The contest was approved by the station and had no major problems for the first two years.
However, in "Sex for Sam 3", comedian Paul Mecurio encouraged Brian Florence and Loretta Harper, a Virginia couple visiting Manhattan, to have simulated sex in a vestibule at St. Patrick's Cathedral on August 15, 2002. When a security guard ordered Mecurio and the couple to leave the church immediately, Mecurio began to argue with the guard, who then contacted police. The couple was arrested and charged with public lewdness. Intense media scrutiny led to the Catholic League demanding that Opie and Anthony be fired. The Catholic League also threatened to get WNEW's license revoked.
O&A broadcast the next day, but were ordered not to directly address the incident for legal reasons. The show went into reruns the following week. On August 22, Infinity suspended Opie and Anthony for the duration of their contract, and canceled the show. However, the company continued to pay the duo to stay off the air for the balance of their contract. The Catholic League immediately dropped its bid to have WNEW's license revoked.
The repercussions of the incident were widespread:
- Infinity was fined a total of $357,500 by the FCC, the maximum amount allowed by law, and the second-largest indecency fine in American radio history. It refused to pay the fine.
- WNEW's ratings had been dreadful overall aside from Opie and Anthony. With the forced cancellation of its only strong performer, its ratings dropped even lower than those of noncommercial stations and never recovered. The station began playing music again in January 2003, starting with a Top 40 format, then going to an adult contemporary format, and later switching to a classic dance music format before returning to the AC format, at which point the station's call letters were changed to WWFS. Under WWFS, the ratings rebounded to a 3.1 rating, then cooled down to an average of a 2.5 rating. In a bit of irony, Opie and Anthony would make fun of an incident at WNEW in late 2004, in which the program director got drunk, went on air, and confused the call letters with those of WNEW's arch-rival WKTU.
- Harper pleaded guilty a month later to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to seven days of community service. Her partner, Brian Florence, died of a heart attack on September 25, 2003.
XM Satellite Radio (2004–) and return to broadcast radio (2006–2009) 
Opie and Anthony returned to the air on October 4, 2004 exclusively for XM Satellite Radio after two years off the air. Initially, the show was offered to XM subscribers at a premium cost of $1.99 a month, to which they encountered some resistance. In April 2005, "High Voltage" became part of the basic XM subscription. There are no numbers available with respect to the number of premium subscribers. Hughes gave some indication, however, when he told the Long Island press in 2006, "We went from having a show that was syndicated in 17 major markets to having a few thousand," which did not help to remove the discrepancy.
"Assault on the Media" 
A major part of the XM show was the "Assault on the Media", led by "The Pests" to give the show additional exposure. On May 19, 2005, show intern Nathaniel showed up behind Arthur Chi'en of WCBS-TV. The disruption caused Chi'en to shout "What the fuck is your problem, man?" while the cameras were still rolling. Chi'en was fired a few hours later. (The situation brought the show nationwide press.)
DirecTV suspends "High Voltage" channel 
On April 17, 2006, DirecTV ceased airing the High Voltage channel on their satellite TV service, citing subscriber requests for more music channels and fewer talk and sports channels. However, less than a week elapsed before inside sources announced that, due to overwhelming audience demands that O&A return to DirecTV, the channel would be restored on April 26, 2006. Opie & Anthony frequently mentioned on the air that they always hated the title "High Voltage", which was selected by one of the company lawyers. They had been trying to change the name but were unsuccessful for the first 2 years, until Eric Logan announced on their October 4, 2006 broadcast that High Voltage would be renamed "The Virus" on November 20, 2006, pursuant to the demands of hardcore O&A fans known as "The Pests".
CBS Radio 
Meanwhile, on April 24, 2006, Opie and Anthony announced that they signed a deal with CBS Radio in which the first three hours of the show would be broadcast on nine of CBS's rock stations, the first official show airing April 26. After an 18-month run on XM, The Opie & Anthony Show began simulcasting on XM Radio and various terrestrial radio stations from 6 am to 9 am EST. From 9 am to 11 am (and on some days until noon), the show was broadcast exclusively on XM Radio. XM listeners were able to hear the show uncensored for the entire show (except when the main feed is "self-censored" by the hosts). During the 6–9 slot, the FM-only listeners would hear a Federal Communications Commission-compliant version of the show. In Philadelphia, O&A achieved a threefold increase in the month of May over David Lee Roth's April ratings in the age 18–34 demographic. In Boston, O&A doubled the number of all age demographics and achieved an even greater increase in younger listeners.
"Homeless Charlie" 
On May 15, 2007, XM suspended Opie & Anthony for 30 days, in response to a broadcast featuring a homeless man who wandered into the studio. Opie and Anthony dubbed the man "Homeless Charlie", who mentioned the possibility of raping Condoleezza Rice and Laura Bush. Fans reacted to the news of the suspension by canceling their XM Radio subscriptions, with some fans even going as far as smashing their XM units. XM did offer a free month of service to subscribers who called in complaints of the suspension. Moreover, some sponsors pulled their advertising off XM in protest of the suspension. The radio duo's month-long suspension from XM ended on June 15, 2007, when they returned to XM's airwaves.
According to the Winter 2007 arbitron ratings, O&A doubled Roth's ratings with their target demographic of 18 to 34-year-olds. But the improvement merely amounted to an increase of 2% to about 4% of the audience—a third of Stern's old numbers in New York City. Following the Summer 07 Arbitron ratings, O&A's 18- to 34-year-olds ratings slipped, while their morning drive rating in NYC of 2.1 left them only ahead of sports based WFAN network in the morning. In the spring 2008 under the new Portable people meter ratings system, Opie and Anthony again failed to crack the top ten in morning drive, and their flagship station WXRK ranked 20th out of 24 stations in overall ratings and out of the top ten in the coveted 25–54 demographic.
Affiliates drop Opie and Anthony 
During their tenure at K-Rock, almost all of O&A's affiliates (many of which were in major markets) systematically dropped the show, primarily due to declining ratings. By November 30, 2008, Opie and Anthony remained in only three major cities – New York, Boston and Cleveland. The following day, however, WBCN in Boston dropped them in favor of their local Toucher & Rich show, while WKRK switched to a jockless alternative rock format.
On March 9, 2009, Opie & Anthony were heard on WXRK for the last time, and spent much of the time discussing the impending format change, and how their services were "no longer needed" at the station. Their executive producer for the FM portion, Michael "Stuntbrain" Opelka, was fired the following day.
Contract renewal 
As of October 1, 2010, the Opie and Anthony show renewed their contract with Sirius/XM satellite radio for 2 years. The two often mentioned that they would not renew their contract after it expired, citing their disgust with the poor way they were often treated by Sirius management as the primary reason. However, they eventually decided to renew their contract in 2012 after the company "came forward", according to Opie.
On October 13, 2011, the Opie and Anthony show's station was changed from the ViRUS to The Opie and Anthony Channel.
Run-ins with the FCC 
The Federal Communications Commission has twice fined O&A for broadcasting material deemed in violation of decency standards. The first fine involved several November 2000 – January 2001 airings of a jingle produced by Dru Boogie, a DJ/producer who regularly produces content for the show. The $21,000 fine also involved a segment of "Guess What's in My Pants", as well as a song titled, "I'm Horny for Little Girls". O&A's second FCC violation – the "Sex for Sam" broadcast – set a precedent for being the first time that a fine was issued to each individual station airing the alleged indecent material. The total was $357,500; $27,500 against each of the thirteen CBS Radio/Infinity-owned stations that broadcast the show. Infinity appealed both fines, after which its parent company Viacom made a $3.5 million settlement which canceled all pending indecency violations.
Program content 
||This article may contain original research. (May 2008)|
Opie and Anthony often comment on American sociopolitical and popular culture. Their "cringe" style of entertainment sometimes leads people to categorize them as "shock jocks", despite their disagreement with the term. Hughes, Cumia and Norton broadcast for approximately four hours per day. Generally speaking, Opie sets the daily flow of the show and introduces topics, while Cumia and Norton provide color commentary. The show has few limits, and covers a wide array of topics interactively, with a great deal of time devoted to callers, and sound bites sent in by listeners. Some of the more hardcore O&A fans, nicknamed "Pests", have been known to go to extreme grassroots efforts to promote the show.
Friends and regular guests on the show include Adam Ferrara, Jim Jefferies, Joe DeRosa, Louis C.K., (who famously asked Donald Rumsfeld if he was a space lizard who ate Mexican babies) Bill Burr, Brian Regan, Robert Kelly, Otto & George, Bob Saget, Rich Vos, Colin Quinn, Nick DiPaolo and the late Patrice O'Neal, and Amy Schumer all of whom have substituted for Norton when he has left New York to pursue his stand-up comedy and acting.
- Erik Nagel, Senior Producer, Screenwriter – Been with the show since the show's beginning at XM Radio. Co-Hosts various segments of the show and events, highest paid staff member.
- Sam Roberts, Associate Producer, Professional Broadcaster - Co-hosts various segments of the show and events.
- Travis Tefft, Executive Producer – Former intern who became a regular staff member. Travis typically acts as the phone screener as well as providing minute-to-minute research. He is the acting 'Executive Producer'.
- John 'Club Soda Kenny' Feder, Security
- Troy "Troyquan" Hinson, Producer
- Roland Campos, Guest Booker
- Sal Gallassio, Producer - Former intern and newest member of the Opie and Anthony show.
Other enterprises 
Demented World 
The duo released a compilation of segments from the show that aired on WAAF on a CD entitled Demented World in November 1997.
The Opie & Anthony Traveling Virus 
The Traveling Virus is a comedy tour headlined by Opie and Anthony, as well as friends of the show, that began in 2006. In its first year, it spanned several locations in the eastern United States during the summer. In 2007, it visited 10 cities through the spring and summer. It was an event they had discussed for many years, but were never able to bring it to fruition until they made their latest deal with CBS radio.
The 2008 Traveling Virus Tour was canceled in favor of one show, held at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey on August 2, 2008. On the morning of Monday, August 4, 2008, Opie stated that the August 2nd show in New Jersey would be "the last Traveling Virus show ever", due to the crowd consistently booing new comedians off the stage, causing established comedians to refuse to appear at the venue.
Search and Destroy 
On the morning of March 26, 2008, Opie & Anthony revealed they had taped a pilot for Comedy Central. The show was titled Search & Destroy and features teams of comedians performing various tasks throughout New York City. Opie and Anthony believe that it may have been too graphic even for cable television. Although Opie and Anthony considered the pilot a success, Comedy Central did not pick the show up.
- W.O.W.: During their WAAF years, O&A established "Whip 'em Out Wednesdays," which encouraged women to flash their breasts to anyone with a "W.O.W." sign. Consequently, it was common around Massachusetts to see cars with W.O.W. stickers, signs and even painted lettering. The campaign came to an end on WAAF in the summer of 1997, when the station forced the duo to discontinue the stunt and suspended the show for three weeks. W.O.W. has since been reintroduced to the show; W.O.W. stickers and signs are more common in O&A's biggest markets: New York and Boston. The campaign gained notoriety when a woman flashed the famous crowd fly-by camera during a broadcast of The Today Show. They are less visible in other markets, such as San Francisco, as they are more reluctant to back the W.O.W. promotion.
- Homeless Shopping Spree: In late 1999, shortly before Christmas, O&A held the first "Homeless Shopping Spree", which has since become an annual event. The bit involves a dozen of New York's homeless, who are each given several hundred dollars by the show and much more by the fans, and are taken to a posh shopping mall, most notably the Mall at Short Hills in Short Hills, New Jersey. They are allowed to buy whatever they want, including warm clothes and other items they could not normally afford, while being cheered on by the thousands of listeners who show up. In the 1999 Spree, the mall reacted by closing several of the nicer stores and eventually have the twelve homeless men removed from the mall by security. Boston mayor Thomas Menino expressed outrage at the event, declaring that the Homeless Shopping Spree degraded and humiliated the contestants, and that it was immoral to hold such an event on the same day the city was to do a census count of the homeless townspeople. The event was repeated at the same mall on December 16, 2006.
See also 
- Deitz, Corey. "Radio Bloopers, Screwups, Outtakes and Embarrassments – Series 2". Your Guide to Radio (About.com). Retrieved 2007-04-14.
- "FCC hoax policy". 2005. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
- Andrea Adelson (1998-08-13). "On-Air Prank Earns Pair A Shot at Radio Big Time". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
- "Opie & Anthony Return To CBS Radio Beginning Wednesday, April 26". CBS Radio. 2006-04-24. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
- RASHBAUM, WILLIAM (2000-02-12). "Escort of Voyeur Bus Suspended by Police". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-07-05.
- Media: Scrambling Fr The Ball At Xfl. Foundrymusic.com. Retrieved on 2011-11-11.
- McConnell, Bill (2003-11-24). "Infinity to FCC: We Won't Pay Fine". Broadcasting Cable. Retrieved 2007-04-13.
- "Woman sentenced in cathedral sex case". CNN. 2003-11-07. Archived from the original on May 10, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
- "Raging Bulls". Long Island Press. 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
- "OCBS Reporter Arthur Chi'en Fired Dropping F-Bomb". FMQB. 2005. Retrieved 2010-12-27.
- "Opie & Anthony Return To DirecTV". FMQB. 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
- Opie & Anthony are in. NY Daily News. April 22, 2006
- Simon, Clea (2006-06-24). "Opie and Anthony give 'BCN a boost". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-12-02.
- "XM Radio Suspends Opie & Anthony". XM Satellite Radio. 2007-05-15. Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
- Listeners shocked by XM hosts' suspension. Latimes.com (2007-05-17). Retrieved on 2011-11-11.
- "Sponsors pull advertising over O&A suspension". Orbitcast. 2007-05-17. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
- Hinckley, David (2007-05-01). "With Stern gone, Elvis leads a market that's all shook up". NY Daily News (New York). Retrieved 2007-12-02.
- Hinckley, David (2007-10-26). "Ratings bring morning glory again to WINS". NY Daily News (New York). Retrieved 2007-12-02.
- Hinckley, David. (2008-08-17) On the Radio: Listen up, WLTW's still leader of pack. Nydailynews.com. Retrieved on 2011-11-11.
- Klein, Michael (2007-10-23). "‘Opie & Anthony’ dumped by WYSP". Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on October 25, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-02.
- Sisario, Ben (2009-03-09). "CBS’s K-Rock Is Switching to Top 40". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
- DA-02-1336A1. fcc.gov order. June 7, 2002
- "FCC Issues Fine in Opie & Anthony St. Patrick’s Cathedral Case". Concerned Women for America. Retrieved 2007-12-01.[dead link]
- FCC-03-234A1.html. fcc.gov order. October 2, 2003
- FCC-04-268A1. fcc.gov order. November 23, 2004
- McGlynn, Katla (February 25, 2011). "Louis C.K. Asks Donald Rumsfeld: Are You A 'Lizard From Outer Space'?". Huffington Post.
- Lohnes, Kate (March 28, 2008). "'Last Comic Standing' comedian Rich Vos in area". www.limaohio.com. Retrieved 2008-11-28. More than one of
- Serico, Chris (November 27, 2008). "Nick Di Paolo: Home for the holiday". www.LoHud.com. Retrieved 2008-11-28. More than one of
- Yursik, Patrice (March 13, 2008). "What’s in a Name?". www.MiamiNewTimes.com. Retrieved 2008-11-28. More than one of
- [dead link]
- Lafayette, Jon. (2008-03-12) Opie & Anthony, 'Krod Mandoon' on Burgeoning Comedy Central Slate – TVWeek – News. TVWeek. Retrieved on 2011-11-11.
- Today Show flasher • VideoSift: Online Video *Quality Control. Videosift.com. Retrieved on 2011-11-11.
- A 2008 version of the shopping spree was planned, but the event was quickly dumped as the crew was informed by the overly cautious lawyers that the spree could be conducted only if the mall in question gave permission. No holiday humor in radio pair’s jollies over degrading homeless Boston Herald
- Official Sites
- SiriusXM (XM103/Sirius206 "The Opie & Anthony Channel" – The Opie & Anthony Channel Homepage.)
- Opie and Anthony on Myspace
- Opie & Anthony Facebook Page Opie & Anthony Facebook Page
- OA Pedia A fan made Opie and Anthony Encyclopedia.
- Opie's Personal Site Greg "Opie" Hughes website
- Jim Norton's Personal Website Jim Norton's Website
- Sam Robert's Personal Website Sam Robert's Personal Website
- Show Twitter Accounts
- Anthony Cumias Twitter Anthony Cumias Twitter
- Opie's Twitter Opies Twitter
- Jim Norton's Twitter Jim Norton's Twitter
- Sam Robert's Twitter Sam's Twitter
- Roland's Twitter Roland's Twitter
- Troyquan's Twitter Troyquan's Twitter
- Show Facebook Accounts