Sid Rosenberg: Brooklyn’s radio ‘bad boy’
Sid. That’s all that is needed to elicit an emotion in our town.
No last name necessary.
The emotions are many—love, hate, sad even pathetic – you name it, he has ’em all.
You know him by now for sure – if not – he’s Sid Rosenberg, the bad boy of local radio who’s finally made it back to his roots – New York, specifically, Brooklyn.
“This is really special to me,” he told the Eagle, “being in the Eagle is special, because I’m a Brooklyn guy.”
And to prove it, Rosenberg rattled off some of his Brooklyn bests – including Michaels on Nostrand Avenue and Avenue R.
The grad of Brooklyn’s Poly Prep took the long road back home – and it was a rocky one, to say the least.
He admits, in his book, “You’re Wrong and You’re Ugly: The Highs and Low of a Radio Bad Boy,” that he’s not good at a lot of things.
“I have not been the perfect husband. I love my wife as much as any other husband out there, but I have put my family in some very tough spots. The one time I’m close to great is when that light is on for four hours a day, I’m close to great,” he says.
That would be radio – and Sid Rosenberg does those four hours, Monday through Friday – with sidekick Bernard McGuirk on WABC (770-AM) 6-10- am.
His love for the medium started in the car, when his dad drove him to Poly Prep every morning.
“My dad loved listening to Don Imus,” Rosenberg said, “I remember like it was yesterday, I must’ve been about 12. I didn’t like it – I wanted to listen to music.”
Who knew years later, young Sid Rosenberg would be doing sports for the I-Man on WFAN (660-AM)?
But the road that started on East 22nd Street – near James Madison High School – for Sid Rosenberg was full of potholes.
“My next-door neighbor was a kid by the name of Joseph Iovine. He was my best friend growing up. I idolized him,” he said in his book. “He was good-looking, Italian and drove a Pontiac Firebird back then. He worked out, all the girls loved him, his father was good looking and a prominent Brooklyn attorney.”
And Rosenberg admits he was soon introduced to some of the things that got him into trouble.
Shortstop-to-first was a favorite Rosenberg game as a kid.
“I’d take a tennis ball, stand by my mother’s garage, Joseph would stand at the end of the driveway, and we would throw each other ground balls. Every time you fielded it cleanly and threw it back to the other guy, that was an out. If you missed it,” he wrote, “it was a single, a double, or triple, depending on how badly you missed it.”
The other game Rosenberg played was Dice Baseball.
You’d put together index cards of all the players and put the lineups down. If you rolled a two it was a home run, if you rolled a three it was a triple, and if you rolled a four it was an out.
“The two of us,” Rosenberg remembered, “probably watched 100 Mets games together each year. We were young kids and our dads worked late. We went into Joseph’s basement – he lived next door to me on Quentin Road – put the air conditioning on, and turned on the game.”
A new game was about to start for Sid Rosenberg.
He attended Poly Prep through the 10th grade – money and the crowd he kept forced his parents to transfer him to Solomon Schechter High School on Church Avenue and East Fifth Street.
“I was hanging out with a bunch of kids that were leading me in the wrong direction,” he admits.
The thought was, put him with a bunch of Jewish kids in a yeshiva to see if he turns his life around.
Didn’t happen – not even a little bit. “There was more trouble at Schechter with drugs and gambling than there was at my previous school,” according to Rosenberg.
The Schechter senior trip was a real winner. Rosenberg says they raised money for the yearbook. “I was president of the student council, and council treasurer and I decided to take all the money for the yearbook and buy drugs to take down to Florida with us.”
The result – the yearbook was supposed to be something like 300 pages – it ended up 20. “We had a grand plan for this amazing year book, it was a little collage of pictures and that was it,” he remembered.
More complications in the life of Sid Rosenberg – to say the least.
Next stop –University of Miami for Sid Rosenberg – he lasted some three months – and lost 40 pounds. Classes, no. Drugs, yes.
Brooklyn College next – nope.
But his mom suggested a second-chance reclamation program offered at Kingsborough Community College. He went, got his two-year degree and eventually graduated from Baruch.
He took the seven-year plan.
So, what about radio?
He started in West Palm Beach, Fla on the Sports Fan Radio Network. In 2000, he returned to New York to co-host WNEW-FM’s morning show. There were several stints at WFAN. He even hosted the New York Giants pre-game shows for home games.
Rosenberg and controversy were married at the hip. He caught heat for his statements about Venus and Serena Williams on the Imus in the Morning Show. He was fired from the Imus show after making crude remarks about Australian singer Kylie Minogue’s breast cancer diagnosis.
Along the way there were arrests – DUI – and a firing at WQAM (590-AM), in April 2012.
You get the picture – yet each and every time he bounced back. “You could tell right away he is a gifted individual, and knows how to make a show interesting,” Jim Nantz of CBS Sports wrote. “He’s unfiltered, which is something that is going to bring whatever you want to call it – great radio, provocative comments, controversy.”
Sid joined WABC (770-AM) in 2016 – this after an 11-year stint in South Florida – and teamed up with Bernie McGuirk to launch the now successful “Bernie and Sid” show, 6-10 a.m.
“We moved from all sports to sports, pop culture and politics,” Sid said. “I worry about the disrespect of my country.”
Sid Rosenberg readily admits life at Poly Prep was “intimidating” for him – and he felt tremendous “peer pressure.”
Today the only pressure Sid Rosenberg feels is the daily grid of a four-hour radio show.
And to prove to his peers, he’s truly a Brooklyn guy.
Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected]
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