Everything Opie, Anthony and Jim Norton Said to Newsweek, in 10,000 Words

Opie and Anthony
Radio personalities Greg "Opie" Hughes (L) and Anthony Cumia (R) walk with fans from the CBS Radio Studios to the XM satellite radio studio. Brendan McDermid/Reuters

On Thursday, Newsweek published a story about the feud between radio hosts Gregg "Opie" Hughes and Anthony Cumia. For the piece, Newsweek reporter Polly Mosendz conducted roughly four hours of interviews: 1 hour and 50 minutes with Anthony, 30 minutes with third mic and comedian Jim Norton and 30 minutes with Opie. The contents of the interviews, over 10,000 words, have been reprinted here in full. The interviews are presented here in alphabetical order, by the first name of the host. 

Warning: Please be aware this article contains graphic language.

The Anthony Cumia Interview 

Newsweek:  Is Opie still your friend?

At this point in life, no. We were great friends. I would consider us having been friends for a lot longer than Opie would consider us having been friends. We had a really good friendship and working relationship early  on. But I considered him a friend even up until I got fired in July.

We hadn’t done a lot of things: hanging out, talking on the phone, but when you talk to someone for four hours a day on a show that really is your entire life, that’s not a staged thing or written personality, us exchanging what we did on mics, it really isn’t conducive to calling up later and talking about your life. You did it already for four hours every day. Taking that out of a friendship definition is a little different when you do radio with a person for that long. I absolutely considered him a friend all throughout our working together. There were instances where I couldn’t stand him and he couldn’t stand me, but I defy you to find a business/friend relationship that went 20 years without that happening.

When Jimmy was hired, Opie implied it saved the relationship between the two of you and the show, but you initially didn't want to bring Jim on board.

I heard that when I listened to his response to my rant and I don’t know where that came from. I never thought that Jimmy was brought on to ‘save’ the show. I didn’t think we were having that big an issue. I knew he had issues with me and I had issues with him but nothing that would undermine the business end of what we were doing, in my mind.

I adored Jimmy from the second he came on as a guest. It wasn’t something that I was blindsided with, he was on our show for two days a week, then three days a week. The decision to bring him on full time was after that. It was a gradual process of bringing Jimmy on board full time, and I welcomed it 100 percent. The way we worked back and forth, his stories were hilarious. He wasn’t intrusive on anything we did as a show before. He worked perfectly. I don’t know if it was a divide and conquer tactic that Opie was trying to use, or just that he is misremembering. But I never had any qualm about Jimmy coming on board.

Opie pointed to two particular events where things went wrong: A 1999 relationship you had that caused a rift and a tweet about F.H. Riley's, which spurned a text that Opie accidentally received from you.

On the matter of the girlfriend in 1999, I was married at the time that we first got this radio show together on Long Island at WBAB. When we decided to take the job in Massachusetts, it was me, my wife, Opie, his girlfriend, and it was two serious relationships. It was the four musketeers. We were new in town, new at doing this kind of radio. It was exciting, fun and we depended on each other very much. After we got fired, the whole ‘mayor is dead’ thing, then we went back to New York, and it was even better, me, my wife, Opie, his girlfriend in the number one radio market. It was all four of us really being tight. We were really constructing this amazing radio show together. Back in New York, we have a new level to notch up on the radio show, we are really good friends.

I was having troubles with the old marriage, I had been married for nine years and at that point I was miserable, the only good time I am having is when I’m on the radio. I get divorced in 1999. I can’t take that shit anymore and I get a girlfriend, I was subsequently with her for nine years. We got together, it was great, I loved her very much. This was the girl I wanted to be with. This wasn’t a fling. It wasn’t one of these fling girls, I wasn’t into that. I didn’t have the girl of the week. It was a relationship. Opie’s girlfriend was very good friends with my wife, so he had to deal with his girlfriend, who is friends with my wife, who I can’t stand because of the divorce process. It was instant resentment. I broke up the team.

He resents my new girlfriend, she’s the monkey wrench thrown in as he saw it. He didn’t treat her nicely. She used to work on Broadway, in midtown. After she was done with work, she’d come by and sit outside in the green room of the show. Opie would be like, ‘That can’t happen. I don’t want her here,’ He would say its distracting. You can’t be keeping someone’s girlfriend out of the building that you are a complete equal and co-worker with someone. I’m not bringing Charles Manson in, its someone I care about. Now meanwhile, he would let people he cared about come in and I never had a problem.

We had a softball game at Bears stadium in Jersey, my girlfriend had her brother in law and sister on hand. I wanted to bring them down to the dugout area to hang out. Everyone is bringing people down, it wasn’t out of line. He had them removed from the dugout when I wasn’t here. They were up in the stands saying they hadn’t gone down there. It was the producer who kicked them out per Opie’s request. That was plain disrespect. That was just a resentment, they weren’t doing anything to upset the event or show that was happening. It was just a constant being treated like a second class citizen. Every time we did an event, I would get an ulcer, a knot in my stomach. I would then have to protect my girlfriend or ask permission to let her into something. Where I wouldn’t have to ask permission! That resentment of biting your tongue from someone treating you and someone you care about like that, it builds.

About F.H. Riley's, I remember this very vividly. When we had a listener get-together thing out on Long Island, we would get together there. We would have beers, hang out, talk about the show. It was very listener and audience involved. Its always been a lot of fun, one of the things I’ve always liked doing.

It was very crowded. The last thing I’ve ever been is a diva. I will stand in a bar and wait, say ‘Excuse me’ to the bartender. I am not that guy. Everyone has to take in context where the tweet or text is coming from. When I tweeted “I can’t believe I’m here, I’m not getting seated, I’m not getting a free drink yet.” If anyone took that seriously, they’re out of their minds. I was having fun. If I didn’t enjoy where I was or felt I wasn’t treated well, I would’ve left. Its Huntington, New York. There’s a bar every three feet.

He loses his mind when he reads the tweet. “This is my family business, how dare you talk about it like that.” This wasn’t a serious tweet. I stayed, I had beers, I ate, a bunch of fans were there. A lot of money was spent in the place that night. But that’s all he say, the tweet against his restaurant. I couldn’t tell him any different. He did not show up for three days of work. He would not do the show with me for three days because of that.

Then, because of everyone else walking on “Greggshells,” I had to be called into Scott Greenstein’s office, our boss, and I was yelled at saying “Get him back on the show” even though I had been coming to work. Yet I am getting yelled at because Opie isn’t coming to work. This is the type of shit that anyone that works with him has to go through. I don’t understand how, why it happens or what it is. I don’t understand why people feel compelled not to confront him. So I had to call, I had to bite  my tongue, swallow my pride and apologize for something when I really didn’t do anything wrong. If he misinterpreted it or I didn’t word it properly to be sarcastic, I’ll take the blame. But to not to show up for work? That’s immature, to say the least. .

Now, the text message, that’s before he addressed the F.H. Riley's thing to me. I had come in that morning after that weekend. I believe I had come in, he was angry with me over something, I can’t recall what it was. Perhaps I came in right before the show started or the music was playing, I sat down, sometimes that would get him pissed. But he was pissed at me. It may have been the F.H. Riley's thing.

One thing that would really get me is that its very difficult to do a show when you’re having a fight with somebody. I consider myself a professional at doing that, I’ve done it many times. He was pissed again one day, wouldn’t look me in the weyes. The way the console is set up, if he was moving his eyes to Jimmy and passed me, he wouldn’t look at me. He’d talk to me by looking across the room. After 20 years, I know his pissed face and attitude. I texted somebody, who I will not reveal, ‘He won’t look me in the eye, the little c**t, ugh.” And I hit send. To my utter and complete horror, I saw that it was being sent to Opie. Now I’m scrambling between the time I hit the button to the time I hear his phone vibrate, ‘How am I going to spin this?’ He says, ‘Whats this?’ Right before we go on the air. And I say, ‘Great, good, you got me.’

That started a whole big fight too. That went into on the air. But that’s what it was. I sent it, he was acting like a little c**t, he wasn’t looking me in the eyes. After so many years, you get tired of it. That was my mistake.

Was the text meant for Jim Norton, as Opie suspects?

Suffice to say, it was somebody who deserved to know that there was a problem between the two of us at that moment.

Do you feel like your personal issues seeped into on-air shows more and more over time?

I never felt like it was an on-air issue. I knew what my job was, it was going on an a daily basis and putting out funny, compelling radio. When you’re in broadcasting for this long, you aren’t going to do the same show for 20 years. Things change, attitudes, what people feel is entertaining changes. Social media became a huge part of the program. Its very difficult to deal with that. So I’m very adaptable, I always have been. The show to me was showing up and putting on an entertaining program. I wasn’t there to be friends, I wasn’t there to solve other peoples problems. It was my job. I was paid very, very well and I enjoyed doing it.

It always boggled my mind how someone with that job, making that much money, could be so miserable. The phones broke. The phones, to our radio show, was a fraction of what the show was about. Him making a problem because the phones broke was a problem for the show. We could just have said, ‘Oh anyways, whats happening over here?’ But it would be like ‘Fuck this, if things don’t change around here...’ and then the phones would get thrown. For me, I could give a shit as long as the mics worked, good, there, we are doing a show.

So I didn’t think there was any problem with the on-air portion of the show. Opie’s life changed by leaps and bounds, so if anything on-air had changed, Opie should’ve done what he hadn’t done, which is looking within himself and doing a self assessment—he had marriage, kids. I think maybe his idea of a what a good show was, and what kind of show he wanted to be involved in, that changed. But that’s not my issue or problem. But that’s something Opie has always had a problem with, turning the eyes inward. 

On his show, Opie mentioned he took more of a business role in the partnership, particularly with contract negotiations. Can you discuss this?

Contract negotiations were amongst the most stressful times of my life. I guess if they were all put together, they would be equal to my divorce. I was always very hands on as far as negotiations went, but not with management. But I pay an agent a lot of fucking money, and I have paid him a lot of fucking money over the years. What I would get were contract outlines with corrections on them. They would be sent to my house, I would go through them and see what I like and didn’t like. I would send them back to Bob, our agent.

It wasn’t my or Opie’s place to go into management. It doesn’t work that way. That is what my agent is for. Opie always wanted this relationship with management more so than I ever did. I had no use for them and I thought they were always detrimental to the show. We were never telling management, ‘Oh that’s a great idea.’ We were constantly saying, ‘Why can’t we do this?’ They were always a hindrance, and I understand that there is a purpose for them, without them we are screaming into an off microphones.

Opie wants to sound like he’s against management, it’s a great character to play on the radio, ‘Well I’ll tell the boss to go fuck himself!’ But in real life, I’ll find out Opie went to dinner with one of the program director guys. I don’t care if that’s happening but I care during contact negotiations. I don’t need any pseudo deals made or any kind of ideas tossed about contracts when my agent is getting paid good money to negotiate my deals for me. So I had a problem with him talking to management in that respect. He would want to be on a friendly basis with management a lot more than I ever did, but on the air, it was a lot of bashing them.

There’s two schools of thoughts on contracts, I gather, short and long term. Each one have their advantages. The short term, which Opie always wanted to do, was in order to get more when the contract expired on the belief that you will have proved yourself and there will be more options out there, so the company will get into a bidding war for you. And that’s one school.

My school of thought was a longer term contract, especially in the situation we were in. We were past our glory days of FM radio and syndication, we had been damaged by firings. If XM, or SiriusXM, wanted to give us a longer contract, I was definitely game on taking a longer contract.

There’s the idea that a contract can be backloaded. The five year contract that was pitched was not for the same amount of money, that is insane and I would never have signed something like that. You work for small increases in the first two or three years, then the last two years you get very big increases. Its meant as an incentive to spread it out. It saves the company money. But it wasn’t the same amount for five years versus a raise every two years. If that’s the math, I should absolutely go back to the third grade.  But that wasn’t the case.

The small increases were between 5 to 10 percent and the large increases were 30 to 50 percent. They were very substantial towards the end of the contract. I liked the idea of job security. And signing up for five years knowing that we are probably going to be there anyways. There was not a shining light at the end of the tunnel because after two years, the networks would be there. That wasn’t happening. FM radio is not paying jocks the money we were being paid. Satellite radio isn’t going to do that. They want their property too.

Opie did not want to get into a long term deal. Maybe he couldn’t conceive working with me that long. But again, business. It’s a business. And people in a business that other people depend on, an entire staff, and making them money. You can’t just say ‘Well you know what I want to do? Every two years. I want to give the entire cast and staff here a freaking ulcer not knowing if they’re ever going to have a job. It makes people that work for a living who have to scrimp and save, plan vacations a few years in advances, its selfish and greedy to them. If someone has a job for five years ,they can plan their life accordingly. But two years, it might end, that holds people up.

I could see him saying ‘I can’t live my life for everyone else,’ but they were good deals the long term ones, but he didn’t want to take them just because they were long term. There weren’t any grand plans he had for the second or third year. He just wanted control over the situation. We always ended up signing two year deals, the first might’ve been a three year deal. I was always arguing for longer term, as was the agent. And Opie got the two year deal. Because again, Greggshells.

Are you pursuing litigation to be paid out for the remainder of your SiriusXM contract?

I went forward with the suit for the contract, and my lawyers are still speaking to their lawyers to figure something out. Any time you have a contract dispute, there are many ways to resolve it. Either straight up pay off or some type of trade, some type of other deal. It’s an ongoing litigation. It was from July till October, about three months of my deal. Yeah, it was quarter of a year. Not chicken feet.

Leading up to the firing, Opie said management began to have issues with you coming in late, calling out and your "race rants." Your agent was to address this with you.

Yeah, I’d been called out a few times for showing up late. I want to qualify late here, but this isn’t a defense. If I showed up and the music was starting, and got in front of the mic, that was I’m late. That was the same category as I’m an hour late. I never came in an hour late. This wasn’t late like Opie and Jimmy are doing the show and I trod in a half hour late. This was literally a minute later. Two minutes late. When you’re driving from Long Island to NYC, a lot of things can trip you up as far as getting in on times. I would try to push it leaving my house later than I should, but anyone that drives on a daily basis knows anything can show a monkey wrench into your commute. But it never affected the show negatively that I ran in and jumped into the mic, but it affected Opie. But Opie lives in [redacted name of building] and has Kenny drive him to work a few blocks from the studio. It wasn’t that often and it wasn’t that late. It was minutes.

Now, not showing up, any time I didn’t show up, it was a sick day. I never went over my allotted time that I took days off. The bottom line there is none of your fucking business to anyone who wants to question when I took a day off because I wasn’t feeling well. I had that day and It was in my contract. Sorry if I can’t preplan being sick. Everything I did, as far as that respect goes, was per my contract.

Now, as far as the content of the show goes, and my “race rants,” its fucking satellite radio. It was supposed to be and pitched as the medium for open, honest, uncensored speech. It was never, ever hate speech. I was not causing people harm through anything I said about racial conversation. I had many of those discussions with black people on my show, comedians, politicians, community leaders. These were discussions, not hate speech. If the Opie and Anthony show couldn’t handle racial discussions and the recruptions it might bring, I don’t want to be there.

The only time I get an inkling that the race discussions might be an issue was from Steve Blader, he was one of the interim shit heads we had in management when we first got to Sirius and XM. He was one of the stooges running our show. They ran music channels. And it was a passing comment in a meeting. And I absolutely drew the conclusion that it was his personal belief and personal opinion on it.

As far as I said on my show, it was a discussion that I stand behind. Speaking about race and being racist are two different things and the line is getting blurred. Its an uncensored talk show for the love of Christ. Race shouldn’t be talked about openly and honestly?

I’ve noticed over the years that I’ve had some of the most compelling and entertaining race discussions with black guys—Patrice O’Neal, one of the greatest guys and comedians to really hash the issues out openly and honestly, without guilt and having to filter what you’re saying. All we hear about these days is that people want an open and honest discussion on race, but when it gets open and honest, everyone loses their mind and freaks out. But to have that kind of freedom to discuss the topic with people who have real feelings about it like Patrice, Sherrod Small and Keith Robinson, it can be done with intelligence, humor and truth. Isn’t that what its supposed to be?

Did it get brash at times, could people feel it was offensive? Of course. But that’s more honest than I think you’re getting anywhere else. If anyone ever tried to shut me down on that aspect of radio, I would call them out as being crazy. My agent never told me that I should cut back on the race thing. It was one instance with a man I had zero respect for as a boss or manager.

After your firing, it was a ten minute conversation with Opie. Did the other staff reach out more?

Yeah, we had about a ten minute phone call. It was a phone call, not in person. And it was pretty much that shell shock, ‘Oh dude, man I can’t believe what happened, holy shit, what’s going on.’ Not really anything of any real importance, like ‘Hey what do we do, how do we handle it?’ And then there were a few texts.

But you know, as I heard on his show yesterday, it was convenient, my firing. And it was something he saw an out. When they fired me, he could do the show he wanted to do based on the person he was now. As I brought up earlier, the whole married with kids thing changes a guy. Its not a bad thing, but it changes a guy. His idea of the show he wanted to do and the idea of the show I wanted to do were changing. But I still think we had a great show and our dynamic was  good thing.

I heard from pretty much everyone else, me and Jimmy were in very close contact. The other staff, they were in touch. It was a blow to the show. No one knew what was going to happen. Opie and Jimmy, their contract was up in a couple of months. They didn’t know if they were going to have jobs.

Do you resent Opie for getting to keep the show?

No. The resentment I have, which festered since July, was that immediately following my firing and especially after they did sign, I was asked by a lot of people, ‘Are you pissed at them for signing?’ My initial response was no, not at all, they have to live their life and they need a job. I’m not going to have them martyr themselves for the likes of me. And I stand by that.

But as time went on, I started to realize he didn’t fight for me in management. I can assure you that without any doubt and in sincerest honesty: Had Opie been fired for something, I would’ve gone into the show and at least played the card that ‘I’m leaving if you don’t hire him back.’ Make some noise, get some press on it, say you can’t break up a 20 year project I’ve been building because you feel this or that, say that I’m leaving. Say figure something else out, a long suspension. He didn’t do that and I don’t think he came close. That’s where my resentment started bubbling--when it’s starting to sink in that he didn’t try to keep me. You’re being tossed aside by a dumb, corporate entity that doesn’t understand context.

At first, it was an instinct and inkling from shit I was hearing on his show, little comments like to the “haters” and ‘Hey we got 20,000 new subscribers, management loves us!’ That shit got me thinking. Then being there for so long, I have a lot of friends who are still there who are more than willing to fill me in on a few backroom conversations and hallway banter.

It’s been proven, pretty much now, that he really did not want me there anyway. Saving the brand while you still are Opie and whatever, you want to save the brand, its your lifeboat, but I think it’s a lot more advantageous to him to save the brand than it is for me. Why can’t I save the brand? Its always been, ‘I got it, I’ll take care of it.’ It always boiled down to what’s best for Gregg Opie Hughes?

Would you have gone to another platform with Opie and Jim?

If there was an option to go somewhere else and do the Opie and Anthony show, sure. I didn’t have any issues. I would’ve loved to have continued doing the show at that point. Knowing that I was fired and my contact was up and I hadn’t heard anything that they were or weren’t going to sign, I couldn’t wait three months before I started putting something together to get my career going again. So I immediately started doing my program again as quickly as I could. I had a studio already in my house as a hobby, I just love broadcasting, along side the Opie and Anthony show, not instead of it.

I would’ve absolutely done the O and A show somewhere else in October if it was viable, if it was financially sound. Opie never brought it up. I didn’t hear from him. I never heard from him whether he was going to sign or not. I did have communication with my agent who is his agent, so I got the news that they were negotiating. That was telling me I was done, that I was out and had to sink or swim on my own. I don’t think the onious was on me to keep calling at that point. I took the silence to mean and the news from Bob, my agent, that they were negotiating a contract that I was done with the O and A show.

How’s your relationship with the other O and A staff?

I think they are all fucking great and talented in a lot of different ways. I love texting with them, texting jokes. There isn’t a Seinfeld reference that goes by that I don’t text Travis about. I listen to Erocks show, he does an amazing job on the air. Sam is fantastic, I can’t think of someone I watched go from an intern to a real broadcaster, and a talented one at that. He asks viably, intelligent questions.

Our support staff was so important to the show. They’re great guys, they are a fun bunch of guys that appreciate what we did. And I only wish the best for them. I would never try to get information from those guys, I wouldn’t want to put them in a spot like that. You get inklings of how they feel in basic, general conversation. I saw Sam last night on Legions of Skanks and he was being grilled and just holding up perfectly. He stuttered a few times but I thought it was hilarious. I just love those guys.

No one else from the show left when you got fired. Do you think Opie stayed, at least in part, to protect the jobs of his friends? Did you try to poach any of the staff to your own show?

Before I knew that Jimmy and Opie could keep doing the show, there was a point after I got fired where I didn’t know, I wanted Jimmy. I definitely wanted to grab Jimmy for this project if there wasn’t going to be Opie and Anthony anywhere else and Opie was just going to retire, so I absolutely did think Jimmy would be up for grabs and I would’ve taken him in a minute. But I wasn’t fighting anybody or trying to steal him away for the show. I would’ve liked to have Jimmy.

I definitely made a move for Ronnie [from the Ron and Fez show] and we will see once I move studios into the city this summer how that goes. You can’t even come up with a word that suits him, he’s that amazing. I’d love to have him some way shape or form on the show.

As for support staff job protection: I can’t say yes or no definitely, but based on knowing him for 20 years and seeing how he worked with people over the course of that time, I would assume no. I don’t think that had much to do with his decision. I think the $7 million apartment and a brand new house in the Hamptons that had to do with it. Every time he bought something, I sighed relief he would sign the contract again. He did enjoy toying with people.

When you started the show, Opie said @TheCumiaShow didn't follow him on Twitter.

I personally handle @AnthonyCumia, that’s the one I go to, handle, and post. Keith handles @TheCumiaShow. So whether or not Keith does or doesn’t follow anyone, I don’t know. But I don’t think there was animosity behind it. It was just…why? If he follows Opie on his personal Twitter account, it was why follow him on two or three accounts? I would ask Keith and it might be ‘Fuck Opie, he treated me like a piece of shit.' But I am responsible for @AnthonyCumia.

You said on your show there had been many little jabs taken back and forth. Can you give more examples?

‘Management is really happy with the show.’ That got me. That and the 20,000 subscribers thing….We had discussed it on and off air how moronic management is with that type of radio. So to go out and say management likes what we are doing here, you aren’t only insulting your own show but you’re also taking a jab at me...I see it as a personal insult.

Twenty years with this guy. The last 8 to 10 at Sirius. Management, to us, and we talked about it on the air, were the guys that knew nothing about on air and what is good on air. There are very few people in management that know that, they are dinosaurs now if not completely extinct. But SiriusXM management, they know nothing of what is good as far as compelling talk radio. They get lucky every so often but for the most part, they look for a celebrity on TMZ and give them a channel.

We had discussed it on and off air how moronic management is with that type of radio. So to go out and say management likes what we are doing here..you aren’t only insulting your own show but you’re also taking a jab at me. Like I was the problem with management? Now they like the show? I see it as a personal insult. Neither of us can bullshit each other. If it seems a little snippy, it is. We know how the other works. That and the 20,000 subscriber thing. ‘The show is more relaxed now, people seem happier.’ Like Anthony was the guy that made everyone miserable.

 

Erock asked Opie if this could've been avoided had you two just talked after your new show started.

I think a chit chat usually is at least the on ramp to fixing things. Here’s another misconception I’m seeing about that subject, especially on Twitter and Reddit. It seems like, ‘Hey guys! Can’t you work this out? Can’t you get the phone and talk?’ I’m fired. I don’t have a job. If me and Opie talked till the cows come home, it ain’t getting my seat back.

People have a misconception that this is why the show ended. It ended when stupid management let me go. To think that a chit chat will bring the show back...Us talking will not bring that back. It might bring back us tweeting at each other? What is it supposed to bring back that fans are supposed to take hold of like they could the show? I don’t think chit chatting will have anything to do. And I’m really not in the mood to talk to him at this point knowing that I was pretty much tossed under the bus after my firing.

The on-air yelling at each other, I think it could’ve been avoided. I could’ve smoothed it up and not blown up but the onious isn’t on me to make these Goddamn phone calls. The phone works two ways. It’s a control thing. You call me. Then I’ll talk to you. Screw that. I’m pretty much done with 20 years of biting my tongue and making the phone call. If I don’t, I’m the problem.

I invited him on the show immediately. Right when I got it, I texted him and said I’d love to have him on. He said, ‘Dude, lets have a beer first. And talk.’ And Its like…no. I didn’t want that kind of appearance on the show. I wanted us to sit down and just talk about things live on the air. Our whole show is that it’s the most honest show you’re ever going to get. We aren’t the phonies that just have rehearsed shit. We kind of owed the listeners, because of what the show was, a look inside. People have heard so much of our lives on the show so we can’t bullshit them much either. So if we are alone and throws his head back and just goes ‘Come on dude,’ he can’t get away with that on a live program.

When it comes down to talking on versus off the air thing, was it for ratings, as some have implied, or for a bit? Would you talk off the air eventually?

I understand why people would think its for the ratings or a showboating thing. But I offered it on his show too. I didn’t want to get into this personal, you hurt me conversation. I’m done with it. I wanted a conversation about Opie and Anthony on the Opie and Anthony show, not a conversation about my feelings and crying. I wanted to talk about our relationship as Opie and Anthony and what this new chapter is bringing. I don’t want to hash out personal shit with him, I’ve done it for 20 years.

He isn’t changing for me and I’m not changing my faults for him to make it easier for him to deal with me. We are in our 50s. We have to be accepted or enough.

Obviously, not now or in the foreseeable future, but at some point, I think we can meet. I think even old Dean Martin and Jerry Louis shook hands on stage once. Sitting down isn’t out of the question.

Opie said you've never met his daughter, barely knew his son. Had never been to his home. Left his wedding halfway through.

The half way through his wedding thing is hilarious. I hate to use the term drama queen because it does seem like I’m trying to give him a jab. He will take the facts of something and blow it out of proportion. I’ve been in meetings with me, him, Scott Greenstein, he would say ‘Come on guys, we can’t have you doing whatever it is.’ Then after when Opie is conveying the story to other people, he would say how he was yelling. It would always get clicked up 10 notches above what it really was.

But in situations like this, when he’s talking about me, I do take it personally. His wedding was a three day affair, I’m not kidding you. Like the Great Gatsby. I was not spending three days in Philly. I stayed for the entire wedding and entire reception, we had dessert and coffee. Then I got into a Goddamn car with a bunch of people, who we had plans with already, and we went to Atlantic City. I can be pretty scummy but I’m not going to leave during the ceremony.

Now as far as going to that apartment, Jim’s apartment is right across the street. I’ve never been to Jim’s apartment I’ve never been to the homes of Travis, Erock, Sam, Mars, or Roland. I’ve never been to anyones house. The closest I can get to someone’s house was John Osterland in 1997 to watch Alice in Chains Unplugged in MTV.

Unless I’m invited to a party, I’m not pop in guy. I’ve never been invited. What, am I supposed to ask? ‘Oh, you’re having a Super Bowl party, can I came?” I’m not going to ask. I have my own Super Bowl party.

I saw his son once at F.H. Rileys and what a great, beautiful family. Why is he so fucking miserable? So he’s in a long list of people who I haven’t seen their house. He shouldn’t take it so fucking personally. If I’m invited somewhere, I’ll go if I’m free. But I was never invited to his house. I can’t see how I can see his house if I was never invited.

You called his your dream job. Was working with Opie your dream job, or just being a radio host? Is your new show your dream job? 

Well, that changed. Initially, it was the whole package, the new exciting job in broadcasting and figuring out what works, what doesn't. Opie and I spent lots of time together talking about the show. Going out to dinner with the girls. It was a great time. Some of the greatest times of my life that I can remember were those times because it was so exciting and new and challenging. It was just amazing. So I always look back at that very fondly.

But the show absolutely took precedent over the friendship but that didn’t bother me as much as it did him. But I didn’t feel any less about the friendship we had. I just knew the show was great and important in my life, I wanted to continue doing it. It wasn’t a nasty thing, not just that weren’t so close of friends that we were enemies. That’s something Opie confuses. Just because I wasn’t this great friend that I was when we started broadcasting doesn’t mean I was his enemy, and Opie confuses that sometimes.

I would call this new show a dream job. Its new, challenging, a little scary, especially at first. I wouldn’t have left the O and A show to pursue this but being shoved out like that and having no choice, making of it what you can, there was so much potential here. Its fun to do, I don’t have my stomach in a knot wondering if someone will be in a bad mood when I get to work. It was a big issue, it was very stressful wondering who would open the door and walk in—fun or suck. I can't work with people like that anymore.

Would you ever do radio with Opie again?

I don’t think we could do the Opie and Anthony show ever again. Whether there is some room in the future for something, I don’t know, stranger things have happened, but right now, I don’t see it.

Do you miss Opie, particularly the way your friendship in the beginning?  

Its so odd to miss something that was already gone. I remember that I did enjoy that, you can hear it in my voice. That was an amazing time. But that was so long gone by July 2014 that looking back at it like something that you miss or was just lost, that’s ridiculous. Its no different than looking back at a relative that you lost years ago and thinking you lost them yesterday. Time does go by.

But I don’t miss Opie. I miss the show, I miss the dynamic of sitting there. Opie to my left, Jimmy to my right, guests coming in. But him as a person, seeing him on a daily basis, I don’t miss that.

What did you think of his breakdown on air? It was touching to many.

If I didn’t know for as I knew him, and was looking in from the outside, I would probably feel the same way. But I’m sorry. I see it as very self-serving. It fits together with that whole personality perfectly. I think its pulled out and used when there is an inability to debate the real actions and facts. For God sakes, I hope that’s it. If not, have your estrogen levels checked.

Now that you aren’t part of O and A, where do you stand with Howard Stern?

This is an interesting misconception. You can go back through all of our recordings and every time we brought up Howard and the ‘War with Howard,’ you’ll hear me doing Howard impressions, trying to keep it fun and funny, never trashing Howard’s ability and what he’s done over the years.

Opie took it a lot more personally and really had this personal hatred towards Howard Stern. I’ve always said through my entire career, and even before I got into radio, I was a Stern fan. I would let jobs go for hours when I was doing air conditioning and heating, because Gilbert Gottfried was on the Howard Stern Show.

In the SiriusXM hallways, I would see his staff, laugh, a few quick hellos. I never had an issue with any of those people. I think its an amazingly talented staff over there too. You can say what you want about him, but to be in broadcasting for that many years and be that successful.

The O and A show was at war with The Howard Stern Show but I don’t know them well enough to not like them. We butted heads professionally, behind the scene especially with management, but it was business tuff. As far as personally, I don’t know them enough to not like them. Everything I have seen, I have nothing but respect for those guys. I never had a real huge issue with Howard Stern personally. I’d love to do the show. I would go on it in a second.

I do have other ideas about radio hosts. I think Mancow is a lump of shit, he a chameleon who will put himself into any situation, there’s a lack of actual passion. The lack of actually being passionate about something. I think people see that. We had our problems with Bubba the Love Sponge but I’ve ever seen him live in person. But that’s such a staple of radio, it was old school radio, it was fun years ago to go ‘Fuck that guy, we rule he sucks.’ Its so nostalgic now to think about. I don’t have a legitimate problem with anybody. We are all just trying to eek out a living in a world where everything is available at any given second.

Would you go on Jenny Hutt’s show?

I want someone to listen, so...Well, I love Jenny. Rather than go on Jenny’s show, I’d just hang out with Jenny.

Do you listen to Opie Radio?

I tune in to the Opie Radio channel. I love Dr. Steve. Bonnie and Rich are insane, listening to them is a lot of fun. I’ll even listen to Opie and Jimmy. I’ll be driving and they’ll have a guest in. Jimmy will say something and I’ll blurt something out at a radio. I could hang them right there and he would be laughing his ass off. It would’ve been a funny line. It’s a little awkward and weird to listen to sometimes. But I still listen to all the other shoes, Erick and Sam’s show.

Does Lady Di call you?

Lady Di calls my show every day and I just leave her on hold. Its gotten too sad to air. I don’t mind having someone on the show who is already at the bottom of the barrel and talking to them, or anyone between the top and bottom of the barrel. But to watch that woman degenerate over the years, and she is a human being after all,  its just sad. So I don’t know. I don’t think its good for entertainment value anymore. It was. Now its just sad.

Anything else you’d like to add?

The reddit and twitter people are hilarious. Social media has really changed everything. In radio, early on, you’d get a fax that spit out ‘You suck.’ And it would bug you. Now it’s a carpet bombing of hatred and criticism. Not even in entertainment. ‘You’re a lousy carpenter.’ There are people catching that. Whereas you had to have a tough skin years ago, your skin now has to be teflon or Kevlar.

If I could say anything to help Opie out, its to not let that shit bother you. He plays right into it and it makes it bigger. It’s like the blob, you keep feeding it and it makes it bigger. There will be people out there that hate you for no reason with an anonymous face and you just have to deal with it. And you just have to deal with it if you are in the public eye. If you are want to be a big boy on the radio, deal with the fucking shit that will fly your way because you are who you are. To handle it like you are better than them or you don’t deserve you, you will be ten times as fucked on a daily basis. Deal with social media. Don’t tell them you’re too good for them. It doesn’t work well.

If you know anything about me from the interviews you’ve done, its that I don’t like dishonesty. I don’t like not telling the truth. But when I want something out there, I just throw it out there. I’m very open and honest about my life. I’m not always right but I’m always honest about how I feel.

The Jim Norton Interview 

Newsweek: Has Anthony ever been to your home?

He’s never been here but personally it never affected my friendship with him because I always liked going to his house. He has a giant house with a pool in the backyard. If he came to my house, he would’ve just come to my house and we would’ve sat on the couch like an old married couple. Opie has a much nicer house, I understand if for Opie, it was more about his family.

I don’t know if it was a slight to Opie as much as Anthony just liked to be in his own house. Perhaps Opie was more sensitive to that because he has a family. They’ve also known each other longer and better than I have. He might have thought it was a slight to his wife and kids, to his family.

Did Anthony express any frustration over your hiring when you first came on board?

Its hard to say because Anthony and I didn’t get really close for a while. I wasn’t privy to those conversations and I’m okay with whatever the answer is, honestly, if he was pissed or not. Opie and I hung out a lot more back then. If Ant says he was fine with it, I believe him. And if he wasn’t, I’m cool with it because we didn’t really hang with him back then. We just became close over the years, I never thought about it. Ant was probably just enjoying doing the show.

Was the F.H. Riley’s, “He won’t even look at me text” meant for you?

I honestly don’t believe it was. I would’ve been shocked to get that text. I remember it happening because I was sitting across from Opie, I had no idea what they were talking about. It took a second to catch on what was going on. There was no moment where I thought it would be for me. Anthony said he was sending it to his girlfriend, and that seemed plausible to me.

Will you continue doing both shows?

I would always do Anthony’s show, I won’t choose between those guys. Opie and Anthony, no matter what they say to each other. Me staying at Sirius was not a choice of one friend over the other. Nothing will discourage me from doing either show. 

Do you think they’ll do radio together again?

I could see them doing radio again but they have to clear the air. And forgive. They aren’t good at speaking to one another; it’s like two stubborn spouses. I mean, Pam and Tommy Lee got back together. There have been shittier couples that got back together.

It wasn’t a soft, ‘Let’s do a fun bit!’ show. It is an aggressive environment and everyone has strong personalities. It is really miraculous there were not more breakdowns in the system. In the Godfather, they say ‘These things gotta happen every ten years. Helps to get rid of the bad blood.’ I love both of those guys.

Do you think Opie did everything he could to save Anthony’s job?

In the beginning, we both knew Anthony wasn’t coming back immediately but it never occurred to me that it was a permanent thing.

Opie always indicated to me that he was trying to save Ant’s job. I never at one point thought Opie didn’t want to keep him. When Ant got fired, no one’s first thought was, Let's save Ant. It was, Oh my God we are getting fired too. I get why Anthony feels this way, but there was never any indication that Opie wasn’t fighting for Ant. I know it sounds like I’m playing both sides but I literally don’t know the answer to some of these question.

I believe he did fight for Ant because he told me he did at that vulnerable time, I really can’t see why he would be thinking about moving along alone. As time went on, I think he realized he could see his own show more.

How did you feel during contract negotiations?

I was afraid Opie was going to walk. Ant called me and said, ‘He isn’t going to sign.’ Opie said he knew what he was doing but I didn’t have that privilege the two of them have. I was definitely nervous many times during contracts.

Opie and Anthony make money than Jimmy Norton. You should do another article on how unfair that is. Whenever I talked to our agent, I literally do not know what kind of money they make and I didn’t want to know. Whatever they were doing, I would just ask if they signed.

I thought Opie might use it to walk. And I really wanted to do a longer term deals well, I was nervous about it. During negotiations, I thought Opie would quit. 

Did you threaten to quit to keep Anthony? Do you think Opie should’ve?

I didn’t threaten to quit because they would’ve let me go. Opie has a lot more power to quit and threaten it.

I knew if i threatened to quit, they wouldn’t care if i quit. Now, they probably would care, but they would’ve let me walk in July. They probably would’ve let Opie walk too. I don’t remember Opie ever saying he was going to quit if they didn’t work to keep Ant. I don’t know if Opie threatening to quit would’ve made a difference. I don’t know what his threat might have done but mine--they wouldn’t have given a shit.

This was something that didn’t happen in the studio, this went up to the CEO. Newspapers were calling the CEO of the company. I think if we said we are going to go, they would’ve said go, because they aren’t used to dealing with calls like that. I think if it was an in studio thing or on the air, it would’ve been different. 

Anything else you’d like to add?

The fans who think that I stayed and that’s an indication that I don’t care about Anthony are literally stupid people. I’ve defended him in every interview I’ve done. I do a hunk on him in my new stand up special, about our society and apologies. He never should’ve been fired. The fans who think I didn’t care about Ant, they are stupid people. 

The Gregg "Opie" Hughes Interview 

Newsweek: Is Anthony still your friend?

He’s an old friend. Our lives just went in very separate directions. We grew apart. We were very close. We still had amazing chemistry on the air.

Anthony said he had no qualms with Jimmy joining the show. What’s your opinion?

We definitely had a different perspective on that. He wasn’t like outraged Jim was coming on board but he was used to having just me and Anthony. My thought was having a comic would grow the show and alleviate some of the tension that was in the studio.

Did you threaten to quit to keep Anthony’s job in July 2014?

I didn’t feel like we were on that page anymore. In July, we were no longer in the situation that we quit together. We never discussed moving on together. I did try to keep his job though, we all tried. He shouldn’t have gotten fired in the first place.

Both Opie and Anthony seemed stressed by contract negotiations and thought you would quit. Were you ever planning on leaving the show?

It was a negotiation tactic, I was not going to leave. Once again, [Anthony] could’ve talked to me about it and I could’ve told him what I was doing there. I assumed he knew what I was doing, but if he didn’t, fair enough. I just wish, once again, he would’ve discussed it with me.  

Did you take Anthony’s F.H. Riley’s tweet seriously? He said in his interview he meant it as a joke. What did you think of the text?

Once again, a different perspective. I thought it was some shots being taken, people were tweeting at me thinking it was real as well. If it wasn’t, I don’t know what to tell you. My recollection was very different.

I don’t feel like going into the particulars on that, obviously it was meant for someone, not me. The mistake I made was that I was mad about the F.H. Riley’s tweet, and I did feel like it was real. The fans definitely thought it was real at the time. Was it real? It was obviously a misunderstanding. I was really mad and upset about it and the mistake I made was that I didn’t know how to talk about it, so I came across as being grumpy, moody and pissy.

You mentioned management took issue with Anthony coming in late, his days off and bringing up race.

It was frustrating when he would not come in and call out last minute, it makes it tough to figure out what you would do that day. It would go to my point that as entertainers, you try to stay on the same page as long as you can. Race wasn't my number one topic to talk about on a regular basis but certainly the audience didn't mind it.

Could you discuss the change that happened in 1999 as related to Anthony’s girlfriend? He mentioned you wouldn’t allow her into the greenroom or the dugout at a baseball game in New Jersey.

I don’t have a complete recollection on the things I may have done to his girlfriend at the time but I’ve certainly made some mistakes. The big problem here is that I had no idea any of that stuff bothered him over the last 15, 20 years. That was probably something that really stuck with him and really built up resentment towards me. I wish he would’ve brought it up sometime along the way.

I know he shut down after he got a divorce and had a new girlfriend and it took away from what I was used to as building a radio show. It took away what I was used. I didn’t have the same exposure to him to build a radio show. I probably unfairly took it out on girl, but I just do want to stress that I wish he brought it up over the years.

But its so in the past. I respect him for saying that but I just truly wish he would’ve brought it up and he would’ve talked about it. We were able to talk about some of our issues over the years. But the girlfriend was a game changer unfortunately.

Do you dabble at all in the Opie and Anthony reddit page? Anthony has been vocal on it since this issue began.

I don’t give Reddit any credibility whatsoever. It is just not a healthy place.

Do you feel like your personal issues seeped into on-air shows?

I don’t necessarily think there was a change on the air. You do grow differently but you hope you can stay on the same page. A lot of this stuff, its so far in the past.

The phone call after Anthony’s firing was only ten minutes. Why was that?

I wish it was longer, of course. It was really strange at the time because we didn’t have much to say, we were both in shock, we just barely talked off air. It was kind of sad to be honest with you. It was very sad. And there was no guarantee I wasn’t going to get fired. There was no guarantee they’d continue with me. I wish we could’ve talked longer.

Do you think Anthony resents you?

I don’t know if he resents me, I’m not in his head. I just wish him nothing but the best. He is really talented and funny. Obviously, he was in a tough spot. I think if i was I was fired, I would resent the guys who went on without me but I would understand.

Would you have gone to another platform with Anthony and Jim?

We never discussed taking it to a different platforms. We did have offers but nothing that was serious, I can honestly say.

Anthony took things you said about gaining new subscribers and management being happy with the new show as a jab to him. Is that how you intended it?

I absolutely did not mean it as a jab towards Anthony. Because [Norton and I] stayed, we get a lot of negativity heading our way. It was our way of saying things were going well for us. And you don’t know if you can do it a different way after doing it for 20 years one way. I can honestly say it was not a jab and I wish we had a relationship where he could’ve called me out on that not publicly. A lot of this, unfortunately, was lack of communication. I would’ve explained what that was about and he would’ve understand.

I can see where he could take it as a jab but I was not thinking that way whatsoever. We didn’t know how to talk to each other off air anymore which is sad. I did want to grab a beer or dinner with him.

Why didn’t you want to air grievances on air?

I just don’t want to go down that road. Now, as for what he said about accountability, we had an amazing 20 year run. No matter what problems we had, you can’t deny the success we had. We have amazing lives because we teamed up. I had no desire to air dirty laundry in front of everyone, let’s talk, then we do a show and have fun with it.

Do you think you’ll be able to meet and talk off the air one day?

Yeah, we need a little time to breathe, but yeah of course.

Why do you think it happened so publicly?

I think he needed to finally get it all out. In a strange way, it was really freeing. We know each other really well through a lot of this stuff. I wish we would’ve talked about it and squashed this stuff. I just knew this is how he felt. I didn’t want to talk about it on my show because I’m trying to move on. I would’ve rather kept it off the air but I get why he did it and I understand. It was freeing, which is weird.

The theme here for me is real simple: I wish we both had the skills to communicate what was really eating away at us over the years, on both our parts. That is what’s really sad here, we could’ve avoided this.

Anthony called radio and doing radio with you in the past a dream job. Do you feel the same way?

It was my dream job, of course. I remember the first time he came in, it was instant chemistry. He just sent in a cassette tape and I got to listen to it. I knew in my soul that we had something and immediately we were working towards something great.

Anthony doubts the sincerity of your crying.

It was a real moment. I was just thinking back to when we were inseparable. We would spend hours after the radio show, laughing and joking. We were just doing radio shows for each other. It’s too bad he thought it was an act. It was embarrassing to me. It was a real moment.  

Would you ever do radio with Anthony again?

I would never say never. I wish him nothing but the best, he truly is brilliant and funny. I think he will be successful and I’m happy with the direction I’m going. He knows what we’ve been through.  

Anything else you’d like to add?

I spoke the truth on my radio show about everything that went down. I can say this, I have no desire to make it a me versus him thing. Just be fair.

The reporter of this story is not currently nor has she previously been a subscriber to SiriusXM or The Anthony Cumia Show