Hughes in 2007
May 23, 1963 |
Centerport, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||State University of New York at Geneseo|
|Show||The Opie Radio Show (2016–2017)|
|Previous show(s)||Opie and Anthony (1995–2014)
Opie with Jim Norton (2014–2016)
The Opie Radio Show (2016–2017)
|Spouse(s)||Lynsi Smigo (m. 2008)|
Gregg Hughes (born May 23, 1963), better known by his air name Opie, is an American former radio personality best known as the co-host of the Opie and Anthony radio show that aired from 1995 to 2014 with Anthony Cumia and comedian Jim Norton. From 2014 to 2016, Hughes and Norton stayed at SiriusXM as co-hosts of Opie with Jim Norton. In October 2016, Hughes became the host of his own show, The Opie Radio Show, which lasted until his firing from SiriusXM on July 7, 2017.
Hughes was born on May 23, 1963 into an Irish-American family, and was raised in Centerport, New York on Long Island with a mother who he described as "pretty strict". He gained the nickname "Opie" because of his childhood resemblance to Opie Taylor, a fictional character from The Andy Griffith Show portrayed by Ron Howard. In 1981, Hughes graduated from Harborfields High School in Greenlawn, New York; his yearbook lists basketball, the New York Islanders hockey team, skiing, and films as his interests. He wished for a career in radio, and graduated from State University of New York at Geneseo with a degree in communications. During his time studying, Hughes worked air shifts at the university radio station.
After graduating from university, Hughes landed a job in the promotions department at WCMF in Rochester, New York, but soon moved to work on the station's morning show, then hosted by Brother Wease. Hughes credits Wease as a mentor in developing his air personality and furthering his career. Hughes left WCMF to work the midnight to 6:00 a.m. shift at WUFX in Buffalo, New York. As the station was unsupervised during his shift, Hughes was able to develop his style further by performing more outrageous bits, like broadcasting from the roof of the station's building and interviewing passers by on the street.
Hughes' next job was at WBAB on Long Island as the host of The Nighttime Attitude, a rock music show from 8:00 p.m. to midnight. In August 1994, Hughes held an O.J. Simpson song parody contest for listeners surrounding the outcome of Simpson's murder case. One of the participants was from a local group named Rotgut that featured Anthony Cumia as lead singer with his brother Joe. The two performed "Gonna Electric Shock O.J." sung to the tune of "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding. The song became a hit on Hughes' show, and the two made their first appearance in September 1994 to perform the song live. Cumia made several more appearances soon after; in early 1995, he and Hughes decided to become a radio team.
Opie and Anthony
After Hughes produced an air check and had sent it to several radio stations, he and Cumia accepted an offer from WAAF in Boston, Massachusetts, to host afternoons. The show launched as Opie and Anthony on March 13, 1995. They remained in Boston until they were 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.
In June 1998, Hughes and with Cumia were back on New York station WNEW-FM, where they became a top 10 afternoon drive show in New York by 2000. In 1999, Hughes considered leaving the show; how Anthony convinced him to stay, and bring Jim Norton on full-time, as a go-between for their off air troubles. Anthony attributed these issues to his divorce and off-air personal troubles.
In 2001, Opie and Anthony signed a syndication deal with Infinity to syndicate their show on 22 stations nationwide, including WBCN in Boston, longtime rival of WAAF.
On August 15, 2002, during "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. Intense media scrutiny led to many demanding that Opie and Anthony be fired. Opie and Anthony broadcast the next day, but 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.
Opie and Anthony returned to the air on October 4, 2004, exclusively for XM Satellite Radio.
On April 24, 2006, Opie and Anthony announced that they had 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.
On May 15, 2007, XM suspended Opie and Anthony for 30 days, in response to a broadcast featuring a homeless man who wandered into the studio. Opie and Anthony dubbed the man, who mentioned the possibility of raping Condoleezza Rice and Laura Bush, "Homeless Charlie". After the suspension they returned to their normal split schedule.
On March 9, 2009, Opie and Anthony were heard on FM 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. Following their removal from FM, they returned to being exclusively heard on Sirius XM until Anthony's firing in July 2014.
Opie with Jim Norton
On July 3, 2014, Cumia was fired by SiriusXM, after making a series of tweets following an alleged off-air incident with a black woman on the street. Cumia tweeted that he was punched by the woman while attempting to take a picture in Times Square. The tweets were described by Sirius XM as "racially-charged and hate-filled".
At the time of Cumia's firing SiriusXM made no comment as to Hughes' possible future with the company at that time. Cumia gave his blessing for the Sirius XM show to continue without him, acknowledging Hughes and Norton's obligation to fulfill their contract with SiriusXM. A relaunched Opie with Jim Norton Show resumed on July 14, 2014 with Hughes and Norton discussing the incident and noting that The Opie and Anthony Channel was renamed Sirius XM Talk, along with various other alterations by the company in light of the firing. In October 2014, Hughes and Norton signed a new contract to continue the SiriusXM show, and the channel was re-branded to Opie Radio which was kept until January 2017.
The Opie Radio Show
On October 3, 2016, Hughes announced his new weekday afternoon show on the Opie Radio channel from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Hughes was not happy with the move as he felt "blindsided" by Norton's decision to host the channel's morning program, Jim Norton & Sam Roberts with Sam Roberts. He claimed he was not informed of the news until the week previous, which is why he felt "so mad". The Opie Radio Show launched on October 4, 2016. During the first show, Hughes spoke to Cumia on the air for the first time in over two years.
On July 6, 2017, Hughes was fired from SiriusXM for undisclosed reasons, as reported online. It came almost three years to the day of Cumia's firing. Later in the day, Hughes tweeted: "I can honestly say I have no idea exactly what's going on as I tweet this. More when I know." On July 7, Hughes confirmed his firing via a YouTube video, stating that he had not been allowed to say "Your mom's box", a phrase from Opie and Anthony, on the air on his last shift, so he wrote it in the sand on the beach where he shot the video. Hughes' departure was based on an alleged incident where he filmed a colleague using the bathroom.
In February 2001, Hughes and Cumia hosted XFL Gameday, a half-hour pre-game show for Vince McMahon's startup football league that 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 segment featured the hosts as chefs, inserting a cucumber in between two melons. The pair 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. They 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.
The pair released a compilation of segments from their show that aired on WAAF on a CD entitled Demented World in November 1997.
Opie and Anthony Traveling Virus
Search and Destroy
On the morning of March 26, 2008, Hughes and Cumia 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. Comedy Central did not pick the show up; the two believed that it may have been too graphic even for cable television.
In 2004, Hughes began to date Lynsi Smigo. The two met during an event in Philadelphia to promote the return of Opie and Anthony on XM. On September 5, 2007, Hughes announced their engagement; the two married on November 22, 2008. They have two children. The family lives in New York City.
In 2008, the couple sued Steppin' Out magazine columnist Chaunce Hayden for $10 million. Hayden had claimed in his column to have become aware of the existence of a sex tape of Smigo and Bam Margera, a claim he later retracted. On March 16, 2010, the lawsuit was dismissed as the judge ruled that the original news story was newsworthy, noting that all parties had agreed that no sex tape actually existed.
- Martino, Jr., Michael M. (January 12, 2006). "Raging Bulls – Opie and Anthony To Stern: Bring It On". Long Island Press.
- Spiegelman, Ian (August 20, 2001). "Gross Prophets". New York Magazine.
- "Rock Radio Scrapbook: Rochester, N.Y., lineups".
- Madore, James T.; Gay, Verne (September 3, 2002). "Drive Time: Ambition, ratings and money push radio jocks toward the edge". Newsday. p. B8. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
- cityfile. "Gregg "Opie" Hughes". Archived from the original on 2016-03-14.
- "Untitled Document".
- "Opie and Anthony celebrate twenty years in radio with a live SiriusXM Unmasked from Carolines in NYC". 23 April 2014.
- "Unofficial Opie and Anthony Audio Archive".
- "FCC hoax policy". 2005. Retrieved December 1, 2007.
- "Opie & Anthony Return To CBS Radio Beginning Wednesday, April 26". CBS Radio. April 24, 2006. Archived from the original on May 14, 2008. Retrieved December 1, 2007.
- February 17, 2015, Opie stated during Larry King interview
- The Anthony Cumia Show, Episode 109, ~9:00 marker
- "Opie & Anthony are in". NY Daily News. April 22, 2006
- "XM Radio Suspends Opie & Anthony". XM Satellite Radio. May 15, 2007. Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. Retrieved December 1, 2007.
- Todd Leopold, Opie & Anthony's' Anthony Cumia fired over tweets CNN, July 4, 2014.
- Anthony Cumia confirms he'll launch new Internet-based show from his home after SiriusXM firing. New York Daily News. Retrieved on July 9, 2014.
- 'Opie & Anthony' Co-Host: 'I Absolutely Do Not Believe That Anthony Should've Been Fired'. The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on July 14, 2014.
- Gregg 'Opie' Hughes and new partner Jim Norton sign deal to maintain morning radio show on SiriusXM. New York Daily News. Retrieved on October 6, 2014.
- Siegler, Mara (October 4, 2016). "Radio host 'blindsided' by new afternoon time slot". PageSix.com. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
- "LI's Opie and Anthony reunite on air after 2 years". Newsday.com. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
- Sager, Jessica (October 5, 2016). "Opie and Anthony reunite on air". PageSix.com. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
- "Confirmed: Opie Fired From SiriusXM, Sherrod Small Gives Clues About Future Plans (Updated)". The Interrobang. July 6, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
- "Opie Fired By SiriusXM". AllAccess. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
- Lingebach, Chris. "Gregg 'Opie' Hughes Reportedly Fired by SiriusXM". CBS Washington. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
- Halperin, Shirley (6 July 2017). "SiriusXM Fires Radio Personality Opie Three Years After Dumping Anthony". Variety. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
- Hughes, Gregg [@OpieRadio] (July 6, 2017). "Sorry, but I can honestly say I have no idea exactly what's going on as I tweet this. More when I know" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Maglio, Tony (July 7, 2017). "Opie Responds to SiriusXM Firing From the Beach, With a Message About Vagina (Video)". The Wrap. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
- Raymond, Adam K. "Shock Jock 'Opie' Fired for Allegedly Making a Video of an Employee on the Toilet". Maxim. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
- Media: Scrambling Fr The Ball At Xfl. Foundrymusic.com. Retrieved on November 11, 2011.
- Noble, Barnes &. "No Results Page".
- Lafayette, Jon. (2008-03-12) Opie & Anthony, 'Krod Mandoon' on Burgeoning Comedy Central Slate – TVWeek – News. TVWeek. Retrieved on November 11, 2011.
- ""Opie" Gal's Sex Tape Lawsuit". April 30, 2012.
- "'Opie And Anthony': 'I Don't Know Why We're Not Having A Revolution' Over Obamacare". April 4, 2014.
- "Opie and Anthony's Gregg "Opie" Hughes buys Trump Place condo". February 19, 2015.
- "Chaunce Hayden Says He Talked About a Sex Tape, But He Didn't TALK About It". June 2008.
- "Smigo v NYP Holdings, Inc. - Unified Court System" (PDF). state.NY.us. Retrieved July 9, 2017.