There are plenty of local graduates making their mark on the world.
But when one of them is featured on national television — and he’s repping Long Island with a locally made shirt — people get especially psyched.
That’s what happened last week, when Gregg Giannotti, a sports radio personality who graduated from Bellport High School in 2000, and whose parents have long ties to the area, filled in for two days on the televised version of WFAN’s hugely popular Boomer & Carton radio show.
Giannotti actually hosts a national CBS Sports Radio morning show, but it doesn’t air in New York. And it’s not on TV.
“That face-time is totally different,” said Giannotti, 33, whose cell phone was inundated with texts during the two shows Thursday and Friday. “Print [media] is one thing, radio is another; people can hear your voice. But when they can hear your voice and see you at the same time on TV, that freaks everybody out.”
Giannotti wasn’t taking any chances that his buddies in Suffolk County or in Pittsburgh, where he most recently worked, would miss the show. He took care to text his friends and relatives beforehand.
“They were really proud of the fact that I was on there,” he said.
The Boomer & Carton show is normally hosted by retired NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason, also a Long Island native, and Craig Carton, who’s from New Rochelle. Giannotti filled in last week with his regular co-host of the Gio & Jones morning show on CBS Sports Radio, Brian Jones, a former NFL linebacker.
Thursday’s show focused on college football, with Friday being all about NFL star Tom Brady, who just saw a judge shoot down a four-game NFL suspension leveled against him.
Knowing Giannotti would have a Long Island audience, something he’s not used to, he purposely wore a shirt emblazoned with the locally popular Carleton Clothing logo of the island. The shirt, which is made by 1999 Bellport High graduate Reid Carleton, was orange and blue like the colors of the New York Mets (and the Knicks and Islanders).
“I made the conscious effort to put on one of Reid’s shirts, because A, I wanted to represent Long Island, and B, I wanted to support his line and get all the Long Island people who were watching exciting about it,” he said. “I couldn’t believe the response; everybody was asking me about the shirt.”
Loyal listeners of WFAN Sports Radio 660 might recognize Giannotti’s voice from when he produced the midday Joe & Evan Show in New York.
That was before he left to become a host himself in Pittsburgh in 2010.
Non-sports fans might also recognize the name. His dad, Rich, grew up on Terry Street in Patchogue and graduated Patchogue High School in 1964, and his mom, Angela, taught English in the William Floyd district for 20 years.
Gregg Giannotti first joined WFAN as an intern in 2005, and filled several supporting roles at the station until he hosted a few shows himself during a Thanksgiving weekend in 2008. He was then urged by his manager to pursue a job hosting his own sports talk show somewhere else in the CBS Sports Radio network.
So he went to 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, where he soon started co-hosting the morning show. After five years, Giannotti returned to New York. He began co-hosting the national morning show for CBS Sports Radio, which also owns the regional WFAN, in January.
Giannotti got married this summer — his wife’s name is Gina — and lives in Great Neck, though he said they’ll be looking to move closer to his parents in Brookhaven.
“The odd thing about CBS Sports Radio is I live in New York, I work in New York, but I can’t be heard in New York,” he said. “Yet it’s a national station. So it ’s really cool when I get opportunities like I did last week. It’s also really cool to be back in that same building that I left, but now as a talk show host. And just to be home.”