Updated: Sirius has released an official announcement saying they have terminated their relationship with radio personality Gregg “Opie” Hughes. Frequent show co-host Sherrod Small has also confirmed that the show will no longer air on SiriusXM but says the show will continue. Read more updates here.
While there has been no official announcement, it’s starting to look like long time talk-comedy radio host Gregg “Opie” Hughes is no longer with SiriusXM, or at the very least, OpieRadio is no longer a SiriusXM Show, and the speculation is that he has been dismissed by the company. His contract isn’t up until October (if you believe what has been said on air), but as of the afternoon of Wednesday, July 5, listeners of the afternoon radio show hosted by Hughes started to notice that past episodes of the show had disappeared from SiriusXM’s On Demand platform, and soon after, SiriusXM’s page for the Faction Talk channel, where the show aired, bore no mention of the host or his show. Some schedules list Opie’s time slot only as “Faction Talk” programming, while others list a replay of the “Jim and Sam Show” at 3 pm now. Opie Radio has been airing from 3 pm to 6 pm ET on the channel since October 2016 along with regular friends of the show restaurateur Carl Ruiz, and comedians Sherrod Small, and Vic Henley. While fans continue to speculate on reddit.com and on Twitter, some have already started canceling subscriptions choosing not to wait for official word.
— nick borg (@natanbang) July 6, 2017
Opie’s contract was scheduled to be up in October, and without an official announcement it would be impossible to tell exactly what happened, but fans have been speculating that Opie’s disappearance from the channel is connected to a controversy involving Opie and a former show booker. The incident was discussed in detail on Hughes show last week before the show left for vacation, and involved Hughes filming his former booker in the bathroom as a prank. Hughes maintained that it was not a big deal and no different from other past pranks but others disagreed.
There’s been no comment from Opie other than a one-word tweet “cool” responding to a fan saying he was canceling his subscription, “because of how they have been treating the show..catch ya wherever you land next.” His former co-host Anthony Cumia seemed to confirm, although somewhat vaguely, saying, “Kind of odd. The last bit of what we built for all those yrs is gone. But such is life I guess.”
— opie radio (@OpieRadio) July 5, 2017
Prior to hosting Opie Radio on afternoons, Opie was the co-host of the wildly successful Opie and Anthony show for twenty years until 2014 when co-host Anthony Cumia was let go from SiriusXM (coincidentally, also over July 4th weekend) also under controversial circumstances. Cumia was fired for a series of tweets deemed to be racially insensitive. Since leaving SiriusXM Anthony founded his own podcast network- Compound Media, which hosts nine radio shows currently, and could be a potential future home for Hughes since the two started being on friendly-ish terms again last October when they called each other’s shows.
— Concerned Citizen (@jknash1979) July 5, 2017
Throughout their twenty year history, the duo had survived multiple firings, in at least one case using a dismissal from a gig as a stepping stone to more publicity, larger audiences, nd larger paychecks. They left Boston radio station WAAF in 1998 after pulling an April Fool’s Day prank announcing that the Mayor of Boston had died, and subsequently moved to New York, where at the height of their popularity, they were fired for over the infamous Sex for Sam contest when they discussed a couple having sex in St Patrick’s Cathedral. Throughout the twenty year career, Hughes and Cumia always stuck by each other, at least professionally, until Hughes opted to stay with the company after Cumia was let go.
After Cumia left the platform, its been a rough run for Hughes. From July 2014 until October 2015, Opie co-hosted the short-lived Opie with Jim Norton show from July 3, 2014 until October 2015. That show dissolved due to hostility between the hosts. Norton teamed up with former producer Sam Roberts and took over the morning timeslot, while Hughes moved to afternoons for his solo show. Then in January SiriusXM announced they were changing the name of the channel from Opie Radio to Faction Talk. In February, Opie joked that he might get fired after he made news by taunting radio host and long time rival Howard Stern, by sneaking into Stern’s off limits facilities at SiriusXM.
If the speculation turns out to be true, the only surviving members of the Opie and Anthony Show who still has a show on SiriusXM are co-host Jim Norton who joined the show in 2001, who currently hosts the Faction Talk morning show with former O&A producer Sam Roberts. Opie’s producer, Erik Nagle, known as Erock to fans still has a show listed on SiriusXM. “It’s Erik Nagle Show” airs Saturday nights at 6pm.
Wednesday morning on the Jim and Sam Show, Jim Norton and Sam Roberts didn’t confirm outright, but seemed to support the idea that Opie is no longer with the company. Both Jim and Sam implied that they were asked not to make any announcements. “A lot of people’s speculation is, I’m sure, correct,” Norton said. The topic came up when the show took a call from a listener asking if they knew what was happening. Jimmy initially avoided the issue saying, “I typically don’t check the sirius website,” but added “I would say it doesn’t look good.” Norton continued, “Full details I don’t know… what we’re allowed to say. You feel like a pussy not just….the fans are not stupid.” Roberts added, “there’s very clearly stuff going on.” Both Jim and Sam said that if Opie is gone, they would feel sorry about that, with Sam saying “If it was my choice, I’d say let him do his show,” and Jim saying, “If he’s gone for good, its a shame because he loved doing that show,” Jim said, adding, “If he’s moving on…he’s going to get a gig.”
So far, SiriusXM’s only statement on the topic comes via the SiriusXM Help Twitter account, promising to get more information.