Tusker like no other.
Joined: 07 Sep 2004
Location: Yonkers, NY
|Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 2:07 pm Post subject:
|Heh - I think I can field this one.
|I wrote: |
|Who are Opie and Anthony?
Opie and Anthony were both native New Yorkers, born in Queens and raised in Long Island, although they never knew each other as kids. Opie (Gregg Hughes) was raised among a veritable brood of brothers and one sister, along with various foundlings his parents took in over the years. The Hughes boys spent their days cementing the backyard for no apparent reason, using the same cement bags to haul their meager lunches into school, and sharing bathtub water weekly. On rare occasions they took vacations to faraway lands, where they’d brave perilous rapids, vicious mosquitoes, and horrible sun poisoning to enjoy sugar and margarine sandwiches with their Grandmother in upstate NY.
Anthony Cumia, on the other hand, spent an exciting childhood in Long Island with his mother and a pot growing uncle, who assured dear old Mrs. Cumia it was only a basil-oregano hybrid. Later, perhaps to avoid any unpleasant entanglements, Ant shipped off to beautiful San Juan Capistrano, CA, where he lived with his dad, a cheery guy who once got him laid for his birthday. Ant also enjoyed horse riding and CB radios. He was the notorious “Wrangler,” known throughout the land for picking up fat gals with enchanting handles. (Hey, when the biggest event of the year in your town is watching the swallows come home, you gotta do something.) Eventually Ant found his way back to Long Island, where many a day in high school was spent exactly that – high.
Opie, however, made his parents proud and set off for Geneseo college, where he soon found his penchant for DJ’ing at a local bar, although he had to be careful what time of the month he worked. Nevertheless, Op was determined and eventually he ended up working the late shift back in Long Island, spinning records into the wee hours at WBAB with the likes of Bob Buchman. It was during an OJ Simpson parody song contest in August of 1994 when he received the entry “Gonna Electric Shock OJ,” by a local band known as Rotgut. The lineup included Anthony, who was spending his days knocking tin for Apollo Air Conditioning in Bay Shore and using the company van to go jet skiing, as well as his brother Joe. The song became a hit on Opie’s show, and he invited Anthony and Joe down to the studio to play live. This sparked many further appearances, where Ant & Joe jumped at any airtime opportunity they could, hoping to escape the inevitable pit of destruction so many Long Island bands fall into at some point or another.
The chemistry between O&A began to build however, with Ant’s impressions catching Op’s interest, although he did find his newfound friend with an afro a bit strange. The idea to form some sort of show was born at the infamous “Pancake Summit” at IHOP, but they needed an outlet to get going. Soon enough, in February 1995, they were discovered by Ron Valeri, then program director at WAAF in Wooster, MA. Taking a deep breath, O&A took the job and moved to the Boston area, where they lived with Ant’s mother-in-law Judy and her cute little dog Chester. They were now fully committed to a radio career together, and began to forge their partnership into something far, far larger than either could have imagined.
In March of 1995, Ron Valeri decided to head for greener pastures and abandoned O&A to the program directing of the man from Nebraska, Dave Douglass. It took Dave a month before he tried to split O&A up, cornering Op at the water cooler and expressing his concerns about Anthony. Opie ignored him, and in May of 1995 they unleashed their greatest promotion of all time, Whip ‘Em Out Wednesdays, or simply WOW.
This promotion encouraged listeners to put WOW stickers on their cars, and female listeners who saw them were then enticed to flash their breasts. This promotion helped Op & Ack become the hottest show in the Boston radio market, putting WAAF significantly on the map for the first time ever. With outrageous stunts and hilarious content, O&A’s show began to take on a life of it’s own, burying the competition. As their fan base built, however, so too did their enemies, and Dave Douglass, along with station general manager Brucie Mitman, fought many a legal battle with women’s groups, gay rights activists, and more. Eventually, in May of 1997, Douglass caved in and ordered O&A to stop the WOW promotion. This put O&A at odds with management, and they felt compelled to do more, and push the limits of radio even further.
Things culminated in April of 1998, when Opie called Anthony bright and early on the first of the month to unveil his newest idea for an April Fool’s Prank. Ant, still groggy and hung over, agreed, and that day on air the boys reported the tragic death of Boston’s Mayor Menino, whose limo had been struck by a tractor trailer in Florida. Since Menino was in the air at the time, it took some time before City Hall could confirm or deny the report, and the gag caught hold around town. The outrage was so severe that the very next day O&A were suspended without pay.
A week went by in minute increments as various public relations personnel scrambled to fix things, but the damage was done. Despite silly attempts at making good to the public, including public pie throwing and gift giving to cancer ridden kids, on April 9, 1995, O&A were called to the Colonnade Hotel and summarily terminated by Don Belucas. It was then that O&A, after drowning their sorrows, knew they could never fully trust another radio station’s management ever again. They were on their own, and they knew without a doubt that they could rebound and become bigger than ever. Vowing to one day return and get their revenge on WAAF, O&A left the state of Massachusetts.
On June 26, 1998, O&A were back on the air, this time on the legendary rock station 102.7 WNEW in New York City. They were hired by Scott Herman, who unfortunately followed in the steps of Ron Valeri and soon left the station after O&A arrived. Nevertheless, the boys were excited to be in the hottest market in the country, and along with such famous personalities as Scott Muni and Carol Miller, began mixing their trademark humor in-between Two For Tuesdays and Rock Of NY promos. They trusted their new PD, Roger, who had a “master plan” that included O&A in a big way.
As time went on, however, tensions rose as O&A began to eclipse the music DJ’s with their talk segments. The “plan” turned out to be nothing but a vague idea, and before long it was all out war between the boys and the DJ’s. The station began to boil as personalities clashed and ratings rose and fell. Eventually the decision to go all talk was made, and many people left WNEW, seeking to escape a sinking ship.
For many brutal months O&A endured the negative feedback from WNEW listeners, shocked and outraged that their rock establishment had been demolished. No one seemed to want to hear talk, and O&A dropped into last place. Times were tough, but the boys predicted they were simply purging the audience, and once they were gone new listeners would emerge. As usual, they were right.
Going into the second half of 1999 ratings began to rise as O&A’s show developed further. Comedian guests became friends of the show, as the likes of Jay Mohr, Jim Breur, Brian Regan, and Andrew Dice Clay made far more appearances on NEW than other stations, and the loyal fan base began to grow anew. O&A spread like a virus around NYC, and WOW was reborn, bigger and better than ever. The bits began to get edgier, the language began to get rougher, and the ratings continued to rise.
By 2000 O&A were the number one afternoon drive show in NY. 102.7 dropped the “FM Talk” handle, becoming simply WNEW once again. The guests got better as O&A gained more exposure, and though around them the line up changed regularly, the station as a whole showed signs of hope. Despite problems with Howard Stern and his enormous ego, O&A’s show matured into an original and new concept, where listeners became a huge part of the show, contributing jokes and ideas for bits. Their show was the most interactive radio program going, with various forms of feedback available for fans to get their thoughts to the boys instantaneously. A regular feature of the show became "What Did I Learn," where listeners would take the last half hour of the show to review what had gone on that day. Through the unofficial website Foundrymusic.com, fans could see pictures and videos of the raunchy acts that happened in studio, and at times O&A even had a live webcam operating. Soon the O&A road shows began to appear, where thousands of listeners would flock to various venues to watch O&A do their thing live. Debauchery ran rampant at these shows, with full nudity and many sordid sexual acts. Both lesbians and teens became key phrases for O&A, and this helped ratings grow even more.
It was in November of 2000 when O&A almost pushed things too far during the Voyeur Bus incident. They loaded the all glass bus with nude teens and famous comedians, including Jim Norton and Lewis Black, and then proceeded to have it drive around the city to give folks a show. Unfortunately, they drove by City Hall where President Clinton was scheduled to appear later that day, and Mayor Guliani called in the troops. Dozens of cops surrounded the bus, and all aboard were arrested and imprisoned for over twenty four hours without being charged. This event brought a somber mood to the show, and though all emerged relatively unharmed, it was never truly forgotten.
As 2001 and the end of O&A’s contract began to roll around, things got a little hairy. Syndication was the name of the game, and negotiations escalated to the point where day to day O&A had no clue what would happen next. Despite such famous bits as the Homeless Shopping Spree, Sex For Sam, and the 55 Gallon Drum Challenge, Infinity Broadcasting was unsure how to handle the next phase of O&A’s career. The boys were very focused, however – they had a great thing going, the ratings were unbelievable, and syndication was simply the next logical step.
Finally, management agreed and O&A returned after a two week hiatus. They began broadcasting on WYSP in Philadelphia on June 11, 2001, and the other stations in more cities soon followed. Over the course of six months, O&A expanded to 18 new markets, including WBCN in Boston, which was a major competitor of WAAF. O&A had finally come home to Boston to get their revenge.
In September of 2001 tragedy struck NYC when the Twin Towers were attacked. O&A found themselves broadcasting very different shows, as the whole city wept. Their show became simply an outlet for people to grieve and share their stories. It was a strange couple of weeks, where humor was forgotten and emotions ran the gamut from suffering to anger at those responsible for the destruction. It took some time, but eventually O&A helped people try and get back on track, not forgetting what happened but still able to move on. They helped people remember laughter.
Within a year of syndication, O&A were number one in several markets, Boston included. Both Dave Dickless Douglass and Rocko (the DJ who replaced them on WAAF) were soon let go, and O&A won that battle in the end. Things could not be better. Top notch guests began appearing, and O&A found a new partner in the form of Jim Norton, a comedian introduced to them by Dice. Norton’s biting commentary and vicious wit soon won O&A over, and he began working with them full time, giving the show even more depth. As their ratings grew in other markets, O&A took their show on the road, spreading their debauchery to the likes of Philly, New Orleans, and Buffalo. The horizon was big and bright, and O&A were loving every minute of it.
But alas, in August of 2002, O&A went too far yet again. During Sex For Sam 3, where contestants where encouraged to have sex in various public places around NYC, one couple was caught up in a scandal at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and were arrested. Déjà vu set in a few days later O&A were suspended, and within a week their show was cancelled. Once again they had pushed the limits of radio broadcasting over the edge, outraged too many people, and the price had to be paid.
These days, O&A are still under contract with Infinity, but they are kept off the air. Their fans have not forgotten them, as numerous websites can attest, and we wait patiently for their return. For if there’s one thing O&A have taught us during their eight year partnership, it’s that they always win in the end.
Written by FMGrizzly
Now I just need to update it with the news that they're premiering on XM.