Sports radio should be the home of tough conversations

Sports radio should be the home of tough conversations

As in his 25-year run of hosting overnight, mid-day and afternoon drive shows on WFAN Radio in New York, Joe Benigno knew what his future would entail. This will include spending more time with your family, playing a lot of golf, watching your favorite sports teams, and perhaps, under the right circumstances, dipping your feet in sports radio waters from time to time.

But did he ever think of hosting a podcast?

“I never really did,” said Benigno, who hosted his final show with sidekick Evan Roberts on November 6, 2020.

But as Benigno settled into retirement, his daughter Erin put it on his mind that maybe he should do a podcast so he can continue to share his thoughts and feelings about the sport.

“My daughter told me it was something I should be doing,” Benigno said. “Once football starts, I said you probably know what I should be doing, so at least that’s what I have to say on the weekly Jets.”

And thus oh pain The podcast was born with the first episode dropping on Sunday, September 12, 2021, when the Jets’ season began after a 19-14 loss to Carolina.

As he always said on WFAN and the tradition goes on with his podcast…

“OH PAIN!!!”

“I love doing it,” said Benigno. “It’s basically just giving me something to do and maybe make a little extra money and that’s a lot. I like the fact that I’m not working for anyone. I like the fact that I No need to deal with any corporate waste. You are basically your own boss and you can say whatever you want.”

The podcast, which he does from home, drops every Monday and is available from Apple, Spotify and Amazon. So far, Benigno’s new venture has been a huge success, recently crossing 262,000 downloads. The Monday podcast is audio-only and all that takes its thoughts and takes, but from time to time he’ll do a second podcast with an interview later in the week and that show is accompanied by video via Zoom.

With the help of his wife, Terry, who handles much of the technical aspect of the podcast, Joe has spoken to a number of former Jets, including Wesley Walker, Eric McMillan, Tony Richardson, and Bruce Harper.

“I love interviews,” Benigno said. “I’ve been able to do a lot of different people.”

Occasionally, Benigno takes street shows hosting “Oh the Pains” from local establishments like Hackensack Brewing Company and Sidebar in Hackensack, New Jersey. There have been four remote podcasts so far, with episodes dropping either that night or the next morning right after the show. Benigno has hosted three podcasts with former WFAN host John Jastremsky and one with current WFAN host Kim Jones.

For Benigno, it’s another way to stay connected with his fans.

“It’s been fun doing that,” said Benigno of the live show. “It’s a great place to do it. The turnout went well. It looks like people are involved and it’s a lot of fun.”

Life is good for Benigno these days.

He is enjoying retirement and the podcast keeps him engaged with sports. Every day slapping from his New Jersey home to work at WFAN in Lower Manhattan became a bit tiring and exhausting for Benigno.

WFAN was a big part of his life for a long time, but now he certainly enjoys “working” from home or near home.

“I don’t miss doing (WFAN) shows,” Benigno said. “I don’t miss work. I certainly don’t miss going to town now and commuting after 25 years of all that crap.”

Since his retirement, Benigno has popped up on WFAN several times, including on Roberts’ Saturday solo shows as well as a few guest spots. Tiki and Tierney, They made a brief reunion for a few days during an afternoon drive to Craig Carton last summer. Joe and Evan. But apart from those few walks down memory lane, Benigno has kept his distance from WFAN.

Just like when he worked there.

“Do I hear the station?” Benigno said. “I don’t. I never listened even when I was working there. I only ever listened to the station when they had the Mets. Sometimes, I’d listen to a Yankees game, but I don’t really listen to it at all.

But for 25 years, New York area sports fans tuned in every day (basically overnights) to hear what Benigno had to say about a game or a bigger story from local sports. A horrific loss to the Jets led to his solo monologues overnight and even his must-listen to the radio on his afternoon and afternoon drives.

So the question arises…

Have there been days when something happened and he wished he had a radio show to do?

“Probably not,” admitted Benigno. “Maybe if the Jets ever got to the Super Bowl. I think if it did, a lot is happening to me and I know enough people that I’m sure I’ll listen to.”

He’s no longer doing sports talk shows a week, but Benigno still keeps his thoughts and takes on his favorite teams.

Let’s start with the Mets who finished first in the National League East…

“You have to be thrilled,” said Benigno. “Basic, running base, scoring runs with two outs. Of all the moves he made, the number one move was to hire Buck Showalter as manager.”

What about jets?

“I like what they did in the draft,” said Benigno. “All the moves in the off-season have been great.”

Joe is thrilled about Rangers reaching the Stanley Cup playoffs…

“I like (head coach Gerard) Gallant,” said Benigno. “He’s a tough guy. (Shooter Igor Shesterkin may be the best goalkeeper in the league. He’s got a lot of firepower.”

And finally… Nix…

“The Knicks are a disaster,” Benigno said. “How is it possible that Jim Dolan owns the Rangers and the Knicks and you’ve got the Rangers running like a top-flight organization and you’ve got the Knicks running like a dog hunt?”

While he’s enjoying retirement and isn’t really “working out”, Benigno hasn’t closed the door on a possible return to the radio.

But if it should happen, it should be on their terms.

“I wouldn’t rule out reworking it completely,” Benigno said. “I didn’t see me working on ‘FAN’ again, but depending on the scenario, I think it’s possible I’ll do it again. If it was something where I and Evan would be doing something again And only if it involved Evan would I probably do something in ‘Fan’ again.

But this time, oh pain The focus for Benigno is and that means connecting with your listeners through a variety of ways, such as the podcast’s website ( and social media accounts (Twitter) @JoeBenigno_real and Instagram @the_real_JoeBenigno).

The industry is definitely changing and evolving.

“It seems so,” said Benigno. “It’s not the same anymore.”

But Joe Benigno certainly hasn’t changed. He is still the ardent sports fan who used to call WFAN as “Joe from Saddle River”, who went to the Connecticut School of Broadcasting before being hired at ‘FAN’. He had a long and wonderful career at the country’s first all-sports radio station and is now finding success with his very popular podcast.

One thing is certain… if the Jets ever go to the Super Bowl and dare I say if they actually win, the celebration wouldn’t be complete without Joe Benigno’s reaction!