When Did Jim Rome Become The Quintessential Sports Radio Host?

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I know how most of you feel about Sports Talk Radio, but let's shelf that argument for a minute (we all know you still listen). Well back in the 90s, Jim Rome was an egotistical, pompous...well, he was a dick. I hated him on ESPN and the radio, and I thought the Chris/Jim Everett thing was about the dumbest joke ever and that he got what he deserved.

For about 10 years I just never gave the guy another chance. Until recently. When the whole Eric Wynalda stuff came up I started to listen to his show again. And you know what....I f'ing love it. Sure the gimmicks are a little stale and the callers that get "racked" are kind of annoying, but the guy is the best interviewer I've heard in quite a long time.

It's amazing, but over the past three weeks no one has come even close to the level of guests he's had and the depth at which he's covered the recent controversies in Sport. His interview with former Mob Captain Michael Franzese yesterday was some of the best radio I've ever heard.

So I have just one question.....When the hell did this transformation take place?

When did Rome come up with the model that folks like Dan Patrick would covet? The guy is on 200 radio stations around the country....200! To put that in perspective, longtime radio hosts (20 years) Don & Mike have a total in the range of 30 to 40. The guy gets 2.5 million listeners a day.

If someone can answer that question for me I'd love to know the answer.

Phenomenal! Rack me. And feel free to hammer me in the comments.

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 1:22 PM

36 Comments:

Let me be the first to swing the hammer.

I think you've got it backwards. Rome was great in the 90s because he was new, different and yes, he was (and still is) a dick.

I even went to one of his tour stops, and while looking back now it was retarded, at the time I had a blast.

Now he is like everyone else who goes from fresh & new to overexposed & tired(see:Simmons, Bill)--his act is stale and unfunny, and worst of all his callers suck.

Regarding his great interviews, I wouldn't know because I haven't listened to him in years.

J Rose said...
Jul 26, 2007, 2:04:00 PM  

Really J? I hated his act in the 90s...it seemed like he was trying too hard.

Now I think he's toned it down enough to conduct a no-spin interview and not come across like he dick. He's the anti-Colin Cowherd.

Jul 26, 2007, 2:10:00 PM  

I haven't listened for a while, either, but when I did, it was clear he couldn't hold Barbara Walters' jock strap as an interviewer.

Every question in every interview would go something like this.

Rome : Incredibly leading questions full of sucking up and cliches. Such as, "(insert hip nickname here), it must have been hard for you to stay within yourself and try not to do too much when you were so clutch when you hit that game winning shot, wasn't it?"

Athlete : "No doubt, blahblahblah...."

Rome is the Garden Weasel, a unique tool that really doesn't do much.

Rack me, I'm out

maruk said...
Jul 26, 2007, 2:12:00 PM  

Rome has been the best radio host in America for 15 years, however the national run that the Everett story got was just stupid. Jim has explained the whole thing and Everett over reacted. The language of the Rome show is sometimes hard to pay attention to and the callers are idiots, but Rome gets it and brings it hard everyday.

Rob said...
Jul 26, 2007, 2:28:00 PM  

First a reasonably complimentary post about ESPN, now this?

I don't even know who you are anymore, AA.

Jul 26, 2007, 2:32:00 PM  

Maruk:

That was a hilarious and accurate take that didn't suck.

Considered yourself racked.

J Rose said...
Jul 26, 2007, 2:44:00 PM  

Always enjoyed listening to Rome's take on things, I just found his show unlistenable because of the callers. Do they still call themselves the clones? It's kinda pathetic, and incredibly annoying.

BTW, to further the connection AA made, Simmons' mailbag-senders now try to sound exactly like him also.

Matt said...
Jul 26, 2007, 3:01:00 PM  

War Sychophants!

maruk said...
Jul 26, 2007, 3:04:00 PM  

The Sklar Brothers kill on that show, consistently.

Rack off.

hollywood wags said...
Jul 26, 2007, 3:05:00 PM  

I loved his show in the 90s and then I hated it when he tried to go mainstream and not offend any potential guests/listeners, now it just a completely different show but agree with you it has grown on me and is ten times better than anything on ESPN radio especially now that Dan Patrick is gone.

Anonymous said...
Jul 26, 2007, 3:36:00 PM  

This topic. Was. Epic.

I LOVE Rome. He is a great interview who brings on interesting guests. He researches a lot and tells it like it is. As opposed to Colin, I think he actually likes sports.

He is arrogant, he is pompous, but the man is entertaining even if his callers are complete morons.

Have a blog, do not suck.

GMoney said...
Jul 26, 2007, 3:56:00 PM  

I'll be honest.. I liked Rome in the 90's when I started listening to him in middle school and I've been a fan ever since. yes, he can come across as pompous and too "into his schtick" sometimes, but overall its a good show with some hilarious moments and he actually tells you his opinions rather than just trying to incite controversy, like schrutebag... great analogy between Simmons' mailbaggers and Rome's callers... both groups try so hard to follow Rome's/Simmons' exact models that it comes off contrived and cheesy most times. overall, i enjoy Rome and he was a significant influence on my evolution as a sports fan

quiet cardinal said...
Jul 26, 2007, 4:14:00 PM  

I'm kinda neutral on Jim Rome, but then again, I don't listen to his radio show (I think the majority of callers on most sports talk shows are laughable), and the only view I get of him is his loudmouthed ass on his ESPN TV show.

I think I watch it because of "what the fuck is going to come out of his mouth next?"

Signal to Noise said...
Jul 26, 2007, 4:22:00 PM  

I listen to the first half hour of Rome. I don't bother with the rest of the show after that cause he just repeats himself over and over and over.

He does get good interviews, but I don't really care what a lot of athletes have to say most of the time.

Jay said...
Jul 26, 2007, 4:37:00 PM  

he reminds me of i am weasel. and he's a montonous bore.

gago said...
Jul 26, 2007, 5:32:00 PM  

OK first Lady Andrea admits she likes Screamin A, and now you say you like Rome? Cheese and crackers, Wally; what's going on here? Personally, I'd rather be locked in a room with Carrot Top, with no way out, than listen to Rome.
Oh, and btw; D & M have 27 affiliates at the present time(they lost Pittsburgh several weeks ago when their station changed formats). Back in the mid-90s, they had as many as 50.

Bruce said...
Jul 26, 2007, 5:46:00 PM  

does he still write out his takes ahead of time?

I think The Gnome and That Guy on ESPN are contrarians cut from the same cloth.

mcoale said...
Jul 26, 2007, 5:56:00 PM  

Frank Caliendo has probably been filling in for the last few years. It'd sure explain a lot.

Luke Halpert said...
Jul 26, 2007, 6:01:00 PM  

I always heard that his "show contributor" Travis Whositishit is the one who writes/wrote all of Jim's takes. He's basically reading someone else's script.

Matt said...
Jul 26, 2007, 7:47:00 PM  

I'm with you AA. Jim IS the best interviewer in the business and you can tell he prepares more than most in the craft. Most people who say they don't like him don't even listen to the show and are forming their opinions based on things they've heard from other people.

Oilcanboyd said...
Jul 26, 2007, 8:13:00 PM  

I actually had a program director at a radio station where I had a sports talk show tell me that Rome was not a good example of a successful sports talk radio host. I then proceeded to explain to him that he was the biggest and most successful sports talk host in the world. He still did not buy the fact that Rome was a guy that is successful. Man, I hate program directors for the most part.

Radioman said...
Jul 26, 2007, 8:13:00 PM  

"reading off scripts"?

So this is the guy I have to listen to Dave Smith whine about at the top of every hour on Sporting News Radio? Good to know.

I have to say, however, that the irony of listening to Smith read a script that derides talk show hosts who read off scripts never fails to make me chuckle.

What I'm trying to say is: thank you, Jim Rome.

Jul 26, 2007, 8:23:00 PM  

I agree with gmoney: you can tell Jim Rome thinks Jim Rome is pretty much the greatest guy. But you know what? So do 93% of his listeners. And the other 7%? He pisses them off, but they keep coming back. Love him or hate him, but the guy is clearly doing something right.

Kevin Hayward said...
Jul 26, 2007, 9:18:00 PM  

I used to love Jim Rome but gradually became annoyed with his show. Started with the constant in jokes from the callers who constantly rip other callers.

Then it began to grate on me that anytime Rome made "controversial" or definitive statement, you could bet on the fact that the next half dozen callers would do nothing but agree with him in the most gushing terms.

But I'm surprised you mention his interviews. I find Rome to be one of the worst softball lobbers in the business. Just listen to him talk to someone like Bernard Hopkins - "did prison make you a better man" or Tony Dungy - "how has your faith helped you on the field". I paraphrase, but if Rome does say anything controversial, it's after the interview.

As for the gambling expert and former mobster, Rome brings that guy out once a year.

I'm usually driving around when Rome is on, but I can't listen to him anymore.

Anonymous said...
Jul 27, 2007, 6:23:00 AM  

jim explained the whole rome thing?

pray tell how did he do that?

he's a hack and a jerk.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HNgqQVHI_8

Anonymous said...
Aug 8, 2007, 3:10:00 PM  

Rome is one of the worst interviewers ever. He gets good guests because he his show is in a lot of markets...AND they know they get softball questions once they get on the show.

His takes are fun. If he didn't take callers the show would be tolerable.

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ringtones said...
Oct 30, 2007, 5:30:00 AM  

Rome = best show on the radio. 'nuff said.

War me being smarter than the Rome-haters... Out

Anonymous said...
Dec 21, 2007, 9:48:00 AM  

The Jim Rome Show would be three times better than it is now if Rome would just stop taking callers. They ALL suck -- they sound like high-school losers reading a plagiarized book report in front of English class -- do it as fast as possible (in order to avoid the buzzer,) mangle normal elocution and make sure to use the inside jokes as much as possible.

The emails, however, all hilarious. Some of them are classic one-liners and most are pretty funny...especially when Rome fakes his mock discontent.

And yeah, right now, Rome's the best interviewer out there.

Alpha Wolf said...
Dec 31, 2007, 11:17:00 AM  

Rome can be very funny and entertaining. But for incite and knowledge on sports listen or read any one else. Rome CAN NOT ask a question in an interview that isn't leading. And his annoying habit of repeating the same stupid comments 10-15 times really drags on the radio.

Anonymous said...
Jul 28, 2008, 6:16:00 PM  

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