Among the most popular radio shows, the Tony Kornheiser Show makes the cut. Hosted by one of the most highly regarded and extremely outspoken people, Tony Kornheiser, the show discusses mainly sports; however, it quickly escalates into politics, current affairs, and other hip and happening in the entertainment world.
Active since the early 90s, the radio show has a wide range of listeners. As of late, the radio show technically works as a podcast. The host, co-host, guests, and the callers have a lot to express, and Tony brings the best out of them by diving right into the topic. Come on, readers, let’s learn more about the podcast and the people that are responsible for its success!
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Tony Kornheiser Show | The Man Behind the Mic
The main man, Tony Kornheiser, born as Anthony Irwin Kornheiser, initially worked as a sportswriter for Newsday, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Later, he moved to host for television and radio while still working as a writer. The writer-turned host was born in Lynbrook, New York, United States, while celebrating his birthday on July 13, 1948.
At age 71, the podcast host is still active and vocal as he was in his early days. Apart from being a writer and a host, Tony is also a color commentator and a restaurateur. Dubbed by ESPN executive John Walsh as the “most multi-talented man ever,” his journey to this point started as an editor for the school newspaper.
The one and only child of his parents, Estelle and Ira Kornheiser, Tony attended George W. Hewlett High School and went onto graduate from Harpur College, latter of which played a significant part in kicking off his journalism career. Departing with an English degree, the Newyorker has fond memories of his student years.
Tony Kornheiser Show | The Beginning
The show first commenced on 25th May in 1992 and had its first producer in Mitch Levy. Likewise, three months later, Gary Braun would take on board operator’s responsibility that was previously held by Gregory Thomas Garcia. Very early on the show, Kornheiser had two working rules; no athletes will come as a guest as they were too cryptic.
Similarly, another rule was that callers had to spare the pleasantries and directly jump to the topic. Kornheiser believed in a mission statement, “Help your friend, Crush your enemy, and have free food.” In the beginning, Janet Elliott, a WTEM traffic reporter, would sing the show tunes. The WTEM, via its sales representative, sent free foods, which caused Tony to remark that the show is all about free food.
However, on Thursdays, Andy Pollin would step-in for Kornheiser as he directed his focus for the Washington Post. In like manner, until his relocation to New York City, Wanner Wolf would guest host the show throughout late 1995 to 1996. Added to the list of hosts are Kevin Kiley, Johnny Holliday, the voice of the Maryland Terrapins, Al Koken, etc.
In his later years, Tony would take time and read emails sent by the listeners. Over the years, the show has had several co-hosts working alongside Tony, some of which are JeanneMcManus, Chris Cillizza, David Aldridge, Gary Braun, Liz Clarke, and Torie Clarke.
Tony Kornheiser Show | Over the Years
On January 5, 1998, The Tony Kornheiser Show made its first-ever debut on ESPN Radio. Contrarily, Tony was wary that callers from WTEM would get alienated due to a new broadcasting network. Moreover, The Dan Patrick Show needed a time slot; hence, Korheiser’s show got bumped to a 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. time slot, which he remarks as his favorite.
As a result, The Jim Rome Show had to move only to a 2-hour timeframe. It further fueled animosity between the shows’ hosts. To add a little fun to all this displeasure, Tony would reply with sarcastic humor and occasionally used “Snackdown,” “Clahhsic!” and “Epic!” intending mockery towards Rome.
Every day, the show would conclude with a segment called Tony’s Mailbag that saw the host reading the shows’ listeners’ emails. Later, Denyce Graves made alternate jingles for the section. Despite being a sports-related show, Tony would deviate towards music, entertainment news, current events, and sometimes about the dog he owns.
Moreover, Tony used to evoke rage from his employers, fellow employees, and even from the core audience who specifically wanted to hear sports news but as usual, the host would dive into sarcastic and witty humor that ranged from cooking a chicken to Packers’ win, or kvetching on age, kids, and baldness.
To give a behind the scenes treat to listeners, Korheiser would leave the mic on during commercial breaks. It was infamously dubbed “Internet Show,” and a few segments later, some angry listeners came forth to express their hate for the show as a whole. The portion was ultimately canceled after alleged racist comments.
After the last gig on ESPN, Tony would move back to WTEM in late 2004. Andy Pollin, Gary Braun, Keven Sheehan, Marc Sterne, whose accents seemed familiar to Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Moving on, Sports Talk aired the show for 2 hours, 9 am to 11 am ET.
A particular segment titled “Andy Polley’s Happy Funtime Sports Extravaganza” discussed various sports scores throughout the show. In particular, the section started after the 20-minute mark in the second hour. A piece of typical carnival music and random soundbites opened the segment. Hootie and Blowfish gave a unique tune for Tony’s Mailbag segment as well.
The Tony Kornheiser Show lasted two years, concluding on April 28, 2006. It mainly came about to rearrange Tony’s sleep time as he undertook the role of color analyst for ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Likewise, Kornheiser remarked that the tenure was entertaining and extremely noteworthy.
Years: 2007/2008 to 2009/2016
The American host heard a calling towards Washington D.C. after receiving offers from both WTEM and WTWP and considered these. Ultimately, the decision was to venture with WTWP, and from February 20, 2007, onward “The Tony Kornheiser Show” would go live from 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. on weekdays.
Furthermore, Kornheiser considered WTWP because of its affiliations with the Washington Post, as the host was a part of that institution since 1979. With a short gig at WTWP, Tony Kornheiser show moved back to WTEM, news circulated through Twitter. The show went live on September 8, 2009, from 10 am to 12 p.m. timings almost similar to the previous timings. Marc Nigel, a longtime collaborator, retained his position as a producer.
For the latest segments, Tony and Marc (aka Nigel) welcomed two rotating co-hosts in every iteration with spots named as a guy chair and a chick chair for the two guests. A set of entertaining casts kept the show lively and fun with the usual discussions. Here is the list of some notable guests:
- David Aldridge (co-host), Turner Sports.
- Gary Braun (co-host), WTEM, and Vice President of Braun Films & Video, Inc.Chris Cillizza (co-host), The Washington Post.
- Torie Clarke (co-host), former Pentagon spokeswoman.
- Marc “Nigel” Sterne (producer), an immigrant from England
- Kim Burton, wife of Gary Braun and former radio host on WASH-FM.
- Arch Campbell, former movie critic for Washington’s ABC affiliate.
- Howard Fineman, The Huffington Post
- Mike Freeman, Bleacher Report
- Tracee Hamilton (co-host), The Washington Post.
- Sue Palka, a meteorologist for Washington’s FOX affiliate.
- Adam Ferrara, actor and comedian of Rescue Me, Nurse Jackie, and Top Gear
- Bill Simmons, formerly of ESPN and Grantland
- Andy Pollin, co-host of WTEM ‘s The Sports Reporters
Tony Kornheiser Show | Now a Podcast
Contract restrictions impeded the show’s transition and availability as a podcast via iTunes. To begin with, avid listeners had to wait for almost 24-hours before the show was available as a podcast. Nonetheless, concerned fans came to the shows rescue, started a #FreeMrTony movement and regularly filed a complaint to the station.
Eventually, the host, thrilled and relieved, announced on March 23, 2015, that there wouldn’t be any delays from that day onwards. To accommodate his convenience, Tony decided upon making the show totally podcast. Although the format remained the same, only the runtime changes were 60-70 minutes reduced from 80 minutes.
The show converted to podcast starting from September 6, 2016. Simultaneously, Michael, Tony’s son, helmed to executive produce the show and was likely responsible for handling the social media account and the show’s website with a subscription facility.
Similarly, the now-podcast show entered a partnership with IMG, a sports talent agency, and DGital Media, an on-demand audio company. You can listen to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, ART19, and Google Play for old and new fans alike. The podcast time is 11 a.m. ET.
Tony Kornheiser Show | Guests & Quotes
The podcast welcomes a host of mostly recurring guests and even some new ones on some occasions. Below are the lists of guests, past or present, that made an appearance on The Tony Kornheiser Show:
- Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post (Movie Reviews)
- Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post
- Michael Wilbon of ESPN
- Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports
- Bob Ryan, retired from The Boston Globe (Dubbed “The Quintessential American Sportswriter” by Kornheiser)
- Marc Fisher of The Washington Post
- Ron Jaworski of ESPN (Football picks)
- Joe Barber of WTOP (Movie Reviews)
- Norman Chad of ESPN
- Tarik El-Bashir of Comcast SportsNet Washington
- Stephen Hunter retired from The Washington Post (Movie Reviews)
- Mel Kiper, Jr. of ESPN
- Mike Lupica of New York Daily News
- Brent Musburger of ESPN and ABC Sports
- Rachel Nichols of ESPN
- Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe
- Fred Barbash of The Washington Post
- Ron Sirak of Golf World
- Mark Maske of The Washington Post
- Dave Sheinin of The Washington Post
Apart from the show, the most memorable aspect was the witty and funny catchphrases or even some references taken out of movies, presentations, or other entertainment media.
- Clean out the mouse cages, Harry, and carry the urine specimens upstairs:
- Death Star Radio
- Go measure my penis and let me get on the airplane
- If you’re out on your bike tonight, do wear white
- La Cheeserie!
- Old People’s Network (OPN)
- Phil’s Mom
- Refugee Safeway
- Rolling With Phil’s Mom
- Tell Michael
- This Show Stinks