Shock Jocks Opie and Anthony Speak Their Minds

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Sept. 24, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: For the sake of the audience, you are Opie and you are Anthony.

GREGG HUGHES, "OPIE," XM SATELLITE RADIO HOST: Who looks like the Italian guy?

ANTHONY CUMIA, "ANTHONY," XM SATELLITE RADIO HOST: A lot of people ask me, and I just look. Who would be Opie?

HANNITY: All right. You guys have been off the air now — you weren't fired, your show was canceled, but you were being paid, but you were off the air for what, two years?

CUMIA: Two years.


HANNITY: OK. Hard being off the air?

HUGHES: It was brutal.

CUMIA: Too long. Two years of not being able to be creative, do what you do. You have your radio show.

HANNITY: I love it.

CUMIA: You know how much you enjoy doing it. It's a place to go and vent, and that was taken away from us. Obviously, we had some responsibility in that happening, in being taken away. I'm not sitting here saying it was just ripped out from under our feet.

HANNITY: You guys have not done — have you even really done a national interview before?

HUGHES: This is our first TV national interview.

HANNITY: It is? Why didn't you come out in the two-year period?

HUGHES: Well, because we didn't want to exploit what we did. We knew what we did was morally wrong. We knew it was bad judgment, but we didn't want to, like, go on "Good Morning America" or the "Today" show or FOX News Channel and, you know, exploit that.

HANNITY: This is — now we have got to walk people — bring people's memory up to speed here. You guys were on the radio in New York and you were also nationally syndicated, and this was the third time you did a bit, a radio bit called "Sex for Sam," right?

HUGHES: Right.

HANNITY: Sam is the — you would take the winning contestant up to Boston with you for all expense paid vacation. All right. Now to do that, though, they had to — you had five couples competing, and they all had to have sex in public, in multiple locations throughout New York City, and you'd give points for every location, correct?

CUMIA: Yes, they were locations, landmarks around New York City, and they would go to various landmarks and, depending on how popular the landmark was, it would be more points. And we had done this over the years. It was kind of a funny event to listen to on the air for our fans.

HANNITY: All right, but you did it this time, and then where it exploded is because one of the contestants had sex at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

HUGHES: Allegedly.

HANNITY: Well, allegedly — but they did.

CUMIA: We don't know for sure.

HUGHES: Well, the couple was never...

HANNITY: They were arrested for it.

CUMIA: They were arrested for that, yes.

HANNITY: And your producer had to do a week's worth of community service.

HUGHES: And their intention was to, you know, do something to St. Pat's.

CUMIA: We have what they call "spotters" with each couple, and they were supposed to verify whether they were having sex. But the more important thing that we had told them to do behind the scenes was to ensure safety of the couple, to make sure that it was a very discrete location and to...

HANNITY: A church?

CUMIA: There are discrete locations around the church ... the program, too, Sean. It's an entertainment show.

HANNITY: But you knew that they were having sex because they had sex in the room next to where you guys were broadcasting right before they left...

CUMIA: That was in our studio. That's a pretty safe location. We were there to ensure the safety that nobody was going to be strolling in and see something they didn't want to see.

HANNITY: I think people want to know where the line ought to be drawn, in terms of what you can say on the radio, what you can say on TV, what you can do. You guys are now going to satellite radio. You will not have any restrictions from the government in terms of what you can say, but this isn't about free speech here.

This is about — alright, you guys are two radio guys. Do you have a responsibility, if you send your listeners out in a contest to win a prize to have sex in public places, which is against the law, do you think — now that you have had two years think about it, you're saying, Opie, it's morally wrong.

HUGHES: Yes, it was bad judgment at the time. We've learned our lesson. We're moving on. Yes, we're not going do that again, obviously.

HANNITY: Why did you do it — did you know it at the time?

HUGHES: We did a very edgy show, and we were taking things to the limit, and we finally got spanked. What can I tell you? I mean, we were hired to do this type of a radio show.

Our bosses told to us take it to the limit, if we go too far, there were safeguards in place to make sure that we wouldn't get in trouble, the company wouldn't get in trouble, they wouldn't get an FCC fine.

HANNITY: Let's go through the list of places. Empire State building...

HUGHES: Right.

HANNITY: Central Park, they had sex there.

HUGHES: Well, a lot of hidden places in Central Park. That's not a big deal.

HANNITY: At your station?

HUGHES: Right, in front of us.

HANNITY: Carnegie Hall, in front of a hot dog vendor, in front of the homeless people. Carnegie Deli, which is a very public place, and they even said it was a big crowd, the spotter said. Hotels, TGI Fridays, outside of the FOX News Channel.

HUGHES: Oh, yes.

HANNITY: They had sex outside of here?

HUGHES: Hey, you guys...

CUMIA: Big fans, big fans. We love you guys. Just showing the love.

HANNITY: Rockefeller Center, Trump Tower, a library...

HUGHES: See, I know what you're getting at. We can't defend this. We know that. What do you want me to say?

CUMIA: Jesus, what horrible people.

HUGHES: These people should not be able to broadcast. We understand that, you know?

It was done in way where it sounded crazy on the radio. It sounded a lot crazier than it actually was. The couples, if they did have the sex in some of these public places, it was in kind of hidden little nooks and crannies of Tiffany's and such.

CUMIA: The station we were on was pretty much the bastard child of Infinity Broadcasting. We were the only show that was really doing well on the station. They let us do whatever we want.

HANNITY: Do you regret it because you got caught and you got in trouble, and you lost two years of your radio career, or do you really believe it was morally wrong?

HUGHES: I totally believe it is morally wrong.

CUMIA: Yes, when you think about it, and have two years to let it stew, yes. You think, OK, it did offend a lot of people. And, you know, that wasn't our intention going into it.

HANNITY: You just want to entertain people on the radio.

CUMIA: That's all we want to do, and that's what we were doing.

HUGHES: Plus, you have to make, you know, split-second decisions when you do the type of show we did. And, you know, when we went to the phone call, for the last two years, I wish we never went to that phone call. Of course.

HANNITY: Are you going to change? What's going to be different? Now that you are on satellite radio, you have the ability to curse, you have the ability to say anything you want to say. Will the show be different?

CUMIA: Isn't even what it's all about. It's about being able to do the show we were doing, the show we want to do, without having the FCC over our heads every day wondering if you are going to get fired.

Yes, we can curse. You know, that's not what it's all about. We want to go out and do a show and be able to talk about adult-oriented subject matter without going into the office after the day is over and wondering if the boss is going to come and fire us.

HANNITY: You guys have this history of being on the edge, because when you were in Boston, April Fool's, you went on the air and said the mayor was dead.


HANNITY: And the mayor was alive.

HUGHES: Yes, we did that on purpose.

HANNITY: You wanted to get fired?

HUGHES: Well, we knew if we got fired, we would probably end up in a better place and make more money.

CUMIA: Back then, man, if you screwed up in radio big, you were going to a better market.

HANNITY: So you guys actually planned that out and you sat down and you made a decision among yourselves, "We're willing to get fired over this."

HUGHES: Well, we were unhappy, so we started really taking it to the limit and to the edge, you know?

As far as the new bosses, they've looked at Anthony and I, and said, "Look, you guys can now get as crazy as you want on satellite." And I'm thinking to myself, because I know, you know, I'm out of control at times, I'm thinking, do you really want to tell us that?

HANNITY: But this is what — one of you told me earlier that they were telling you, "Do every show like it's your last show, and we're going to back you up." And then when push came to shove, they didn't back you up.

HUGHES: Not at all.


HANNITY: This case wasn't about free speech, because I think conservatives that are out...

HUGHES: No, we would never argued that. We would never argue this was about free speech. No.

CUMIA: The broadcast itself — what went out over the air that day — was completely within FCC guidelines.

HANNITY: Now here's the question. There were a couple places that bothered me more than others. You had sex at FAO Schwartz, which is a toy store.


HANNITY: The library.

HUGHES: The library bothers you?

HANNITY: The library? Well, a lot of kids go to the library.

HUGHES: Have you seen the freaks that hang out in the library?

HANNITY: I haven't been to this one in a while.

HUGHES: But I will defend FAO Schwartz.

HANNITY: A toy store?

HUGHES: No, we had meetings before this went down behind closed doors, and we told our people that were going out there. Yes, the toy store sounded really risky, kids could really, you know, see this. We said, "Make sure no kids are around. Make sure there's nobody..."

HANNITY: So have sex in public, but just don't do it in front of the kids?

CUMIA: You know, there was a set of rules that were laid down. We had worked for three years at this station, and we were very good at protecting ourselves from getting in trouble that would get us fired.

HANNITY: Let me ask you this before I let you go. Give me some boundaries. What should the boundaries be?

You guys are going on XM Radio starting October the 4th.


HANNITY: What should, if any, boundaries be on you, in terms of what you say? In this particular case, to get to your dial, you have to get XM Radio and you have to pay extra, an Opie and Anthony premium.

HUGHES: Right. There's a lot of protections.

HANNITY: So, there's going to be cursing on your show, you...

CUMIA: Obviously, language isn't an issue anymore.

HANNITY: No holds barred?

CUMIA: You don't have to adhere to FCC guidelines as far as language goes. And subject matter, adult conversation, things that you find interesting hanging out at a bar with your friends, sitting and watching a game with your friends, that's the type of stuff we do.

HANNITY: So this was really not something you did on a regular basis?

CUMIA: No. Those shocking moments that the media always picks up on. I mean, that's what they're there for. We want to get people in and go, "What did they do?" You know, "What's this show about?"

But then on a daily basis, you have to entertain these people and that's done talking about family, friends, hanging out with your friends and, yes, adult-oriented subject matter that concerns women and your sex life and things guys talk about.

HANNITY: All right, do you guys worry that you don't know where the line is? Sometimes, maybe, a little concerned?

CUMIA: You know something? You're kind of right there. With the type of radio we do, it's very hard to find the line, you know?

You kind of know it when you cross it over. I know that, because right when we took that call, we were like, "Uh-oh, this in trouble."

HANNITY: You guys knew at the time?

CUMIA: Yes. Right when plunked the phone down, we were like...

HUGHES: It went too far.

CUMIA: You know, church was on the list, but contrary to popular belief, we didn't send people out to have sex in a church. That wasn't the mission.

It was on the list. Why? It sounded shocking reading the list. Did we expect someone to go to a church? Not really. We didn't want people to go to the church.

When we plunked the phone line down, and there he was at the church, it's one of those decisions you have to make and it's a split second. Thank God it isn't pushing a button to an a-bomb, but, you know, it blew up our career for two years.

HUGHES: And we knew we were in deep trouble.

CUMIA: So line is kind of made, unfortunately, as you're doing the show.

HUGHES: ... pushing, you know, pushing the envelope no matter what in this society. You know, the other side is getting way out of control, you know, protecting the children and what not. So I feel good that we actually pushed the limit on a daily basis.

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