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Jim Rome
Birth name James Phillip Rome
Born October 14, 1964 (1964-10-14) (age 45)
Tarzana, California, U.S.
Show The Jim Rome Show
Station(s) Premiere Radio Networks
Time slot 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST
Style Sports radio
Country United States
Children Jake, Logan
Website Official Bio

Jim Rome (born James Phillip Rome October 14, 1964), is an American sports radio talk show host syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks, a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications.

Broadcasting from a studio near Los Angeles, California, he hosts The Jim Rome Show and hosts the TV show Jim Rome Is Burning (formerly Rome Is Burning) which airs on ESPN. His past hosting jobs included sports discussion shows Talk2 (ESPN2), The FX Sports Show (FX), and The Last Word (Fox Sports Net). The Jim Rome show is tied for the #21 most listened to talk radio show in the United States [1] and Rome is the #29 most influential talk radio personality[2] according to Talkers Magazine.

Rome graduated from Calabasas (Calif.) High School in 1982 and the University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in Communications in 1987.[3][4] He lives in Irvine, California with his wife Janet and their two children.[3]


Early broadcasting start

Rome started his radio career at college radio station KCSB-FM while at UCSB, where he was Sports Director for one quarter, and at news station KTMS, also located in Santa Barbara. He eventually moved to XTRA Sports 690 in San Diego, where he started what is now known as The Jim Rome Show, or "The Jungle," with a loop of the instrumental intro of Iggy Pop's song "Lust for Life" and the instrumental intro of Guns N' Roses' song "Welcome to the Jungle" as the show's signature music. The show became syndicated in 1996. It can now be heard on over 200 radio stations across the United States and Canada. In 1998, Rome released an album entitled Welcome to the Jungle, which featured memorable sound bites and music from the show.

In early 2003, Rome was interviewing friend Mark Shapiro, executive producer of programming and production at ESPN, on his radio program. Unexpectedly, the two began to discuss a possible return for Jim to ESPN, and within a few months, Jim was officially rehired to host Rome Is Burning. Jim openly attributes that interview as the impetus to his return to television.

In July 2006, Rome announced that his nationally syndicated radio show would remain on terrestrial radio instead of going to satellite radio. The radio show is heard on more than 200 stations across the United States and Canada and has an audience of approximately 2.5 million.[4]

Broadcast style

Rome's radio show takes calls, emails (formerly faxes), and text messages from listeners, and features interviews of notable people from the sports world. It is broadcast live from 9 a.m. to noon Pacific time (noon to 3 p.m. Eastern). This time slot is often dark for Sports Radio stations, and Rome allows local stations to give listeners a 'national perspective.'

Rome rarely announces for certain what guests he will have each day, preferring not to "jinx" the appearance and giving the impression he prefers to 'hunt down' interviews rather than pre-schedule guests like with most talk-radio shows. 'The Jungle' highlights the most recent players and issues, as well as Rome's 'take' on the latest sporting news. His abrasive manner of mocking and demeaning certain people on air has been criticized by some but applauded by fans as his unique "talking smack" air style. Frequently, he will "run calls" (hang up on callers, sometimes using his infamous "manual buzzer") if they "flame," stammer, fail to make a point quickly, or touch upon a subject that Rome has black-listed. "Talking smack," a kind of quick-witted insult and taunting banter in which callers take to task other callers or people in the sports world, is favored by Rome. This results in most callers quickly summarizing their "take" and "not sucking" on air, and can sometimes leave new callers and listeners unfamiliar with the show's slang, or "gloss". As Rome often advises: "Give the show two weeks, nobody likes it the first time they hear it. I didn't like it at first. Even my wife Janet didn't like it at first. And if you give the show two weeks and still don't like it... well, give it another two weeks."

He frequently references many callers and emailers in his "body of work" and openly admits that they are a huge part of the show. Many fans have heard of callers like Terrence in Sierra Madre, Vic in NoCal, Jeff in "Richmond", Silk Brah, Rachel in Houston, Otis in Austin, Trapper in Dana Point, and John in C-Town not only frequent the show's airwaves via phone calls, but regular emails are a backbone to the foundation of his 3-hour routine.

The most famous emailers like Dave in St. Louis "Non-Hunter," Chad in Portland, Francis in Glendale, Herb in Atascadero, Mike in Edmonton, Brian in Syracuse, Blaise in KC, Dave no longer in Albany, Clay in Buffalo, Tim Bauer in Lincoln, Mike T in C-Town and Scott near Beaverton have their emails read repeatedly, even by guest host substitutes such as Jim Lampley and Andrew Siciliano. They have said "The hottest topic in The Jungle is The Jungle."

Rome's brashness in advocating for the show in markets that do not broadcast the full three hours (formerly 4 hours), or that tape-delay the show, is characteristic of the host's well-known self-confidence. He regularly encourages listeners to contact their local affiliate program directors (referred to on the show as "monkeys") in order to secure the show live and in its entirety. Rome has jokingly asserted that he never has done a bad interview, only had to put up with bad interviewees. Rome attends many significant sports events, often hosting the show from Super Bowl and Final Four cities. His range of sports topics includes the major four professional sports leagues - NFL, MLB, NBA, and to a lesser extent, the NHL, as well as golf and auto racing. However, he constantly ridicules soccer, bowling and the WNBA, and used to ridicule NASCAR.

Rome refers to his loyal fan base as "the Clones." The nickname stems from the idea that their devotion to Rome, tendency to support Rome's "takes," and their imitative use of "smack" and jargon from Rome's shows makes them different from regular sports-radio listeners but all the same as each other. The uniqueness of this fan base is heard most distinctly when a "Clone" calls another sports-talk show and gives a "take."

A frequent Rome device is to read emails from the "Clones" on the air (usually purported to have been written by celebrities, athletes, or sometimes inanimate objects), and then express faux-dismay to the Clones for sending the emails. Some recurring email subjects of questionable taste include emails purportedly from O.J. Simpson, Nicole Simpson, and/or Ron Goldman, which allude to the double homicide that O.J. Simpson was accused of; Mark Chmura, known as "American Chewy" on Rome's show, referencing allegations that Chmura acted inappropriately with an underage girl at a party; and Rae Carruth Rayenthol.

Rome is also known for referring to various cities by sometimes derogatory nicknames, such as "Albucracky" (Albuquerque), "Bugaha" (Omaha), "The Nati" (Cincinnati), "Crackmore" (Baltimore), "Crapchester" (Rochester, New York), "C-Town" (Cleveland) and "SacTown" (Sacramento).

A staple feature of The Jim Rome Show is the Smack-Off, an annual invitation-only contest in which the best callers (those who gave the best takes and/or smack, in Rome's opinion) compete to see who delivers the best smack. Fox Sports Radio host J. T. the Brick won the first Smack-Off in 1995; the notoriety he gained from this achievement was instrumental in obtaining his own show.[citation needed] In what some would consider an ironic twist, J.T. has since gone to great lengths to distance himself form his "jungle" roots, even going so far as to hang up on callers on his own show if they use the word "take" or "vine" or any other Rome specific vernacular.

Controversy and incidents

Rome gained notoriety for an incident in his ESPN2 show Talk2 in 1994 when his guest was NFL quarterback Jim Everett. Rome had previously referred to Everett as "Chris" (after Chris Evert, the female tennis player), suggesting that Everett shied away from getting hit. Appearing as a guest on the show, Everett warned Rome about repeating the insult. Rome continued his taunt, causing Everett to overturn the table between them and shove Rome to the floor while still on the air.

In 1997, hockey legend Gordie Howe made an attempt to play a shift with the International Hockey League's Detroit Vipers, which would have given Howe the claim of having played professional hockey in six decades. Rome challenged the 69-year-old ex-hockey star, offering a bounty of $3,000 to any player on the team playing against the Vipers to take Howe out of the game permanently by saying, "Putting this old fool back to reality." Howe and his wife threatened Rome with a lawsuit, and the bounty went away.

In 2007, ESPN commentator and former soccer star Eric Wynalda lashed out at Rome's distaste for soccer during an interview with a soccer fan website. Wynalda stated: "Jim Rome can suck my dick! And he should be very afraid, because I’m the kind of guy, if I get too many drinks in me, I will club his ass."[5] Wynalda called into the show the day after the incident, apologized, and explained to Rome that the comments resulted from frustration and were taken out of context. Rome accepted the apology and is "cool" with Wynalda.

Celebrity appearances

Rome made cameo appearances in the movies Space Jam, Two for the Money, and the 2005 remake of The Longest Yard. He appeared in blink-182's music video "What's My Age Again?" and appeared on the HBO sitcom Arliss.

On May 3, 2004, Rome hosted the memorial service for Pat Tillman.[6] On January 28, 2006, Rome was elected to the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.[7]

The Oliver Stone film Any Given Sunday features John C. McGinley playing the brash sportscaster "Jack Rose," a character based on Jim Rome.[8]

Horse racing

After poking fun at horse racing for some years, saying "it's not a sport, it's a bet," Rome seemed to take more interest in horse racing after interviewing great jockey Kent Desormeaux many times on his radio talk show. Rome has recently taken up a stronger interest in buying thoroughbreds. He was a part owner in Wing Forward, who, in his North American debut, made a dramatic last-to-first comeback to win the race. Rome mentioned it as "one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had."

In 2008, Jim and his wife Janet purchased a stake in a two-year-old colt, giving them a potential shot at the Triple Crown stakes races in 2009. Listeners have suggested names for the horse. The colt was eventually named Gallatin's Run.[9]

Jim now owns part or all of seven horses in connection with Little Redfeather Racing and Billy Koch, including:

  • El Manuel
  • Hot n' Dusty
  • Gallatin's Run
  • Surfer Girl (owns outright)

See also


External links

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