Jim Rome (b. October 14, 1964) is an American sports radio talk show host syndicated by CBS Sports Radio. Broadcasting from a studio near Los Angeles, California, he hosts The Jim Rome Show weekdays from 9 AM to 12 noon Pacific Time. He also hosts the television show ROME on the CBS Sports Network. His past hosting jobs included sports discussion shows Jim Rome Is Burning (on ESPN), Talk2 (on ESPN2) and The Last Word (on Fox Sports Net).
Rome achieved notoriety for an incident on his ESPN2 show in 1994 when he repeatedly called NFL quarterback Jim Everett "Chris" (after Chris Evert, the female tennis player), from the argument that Everett shied away from getting hit. Appearing as a guest on the show, Everett warned Rome about repeating the insult and then challenged Rome to do so. When Rome did, Everett physically attacked Rome while still on the air, overturning a table and knocking Rome to the floor. Years later, many believe the incident was actually staged, which Rome denies (see External Links).
Rome also caused controversy when, in 1997, he challenged 69-year-old ex-hockey star Gordie Howe's plans to play a shift with the IHL's Detroit Vipers, which would have given "Mr. Hockey" the claim of having played professional hockey in six decades. Rome offered a bounty of $3,000 to any player on the team playing against the Vipers to take Howe out of the game permanently. Howe and his wife threatened Rome with a lawsuit, and the bounty went away.
His current radio show takes calls from listeners and features interviews of notable people from the sports world. His TV show primarily features interviews with athletes and other people associated with sports, but his main influence both started and remains with sports talk radio.
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.
Rome was at the center of controversy again in summer 2012 when he was interviewing NBA Commissioner David Stern. There was speculation that the draft lottery had been fixed in favor of the New Orleans Hornets, and Rome asked Stern point-blank, "Was the fix in?" Stern denied the allegation, then said, "Shame on you for asking that." He then asked Rome if he had stopped beating his wife yet and accused Rome of "making a career out of cheap thrills." This lead to a very heated exchange between the two, with Stern concluding the interview by saying he had "someone more important to talk to like Stephen A. Smith." The interview became the topic of the show, with outraged Clones e-mailing and calling to denounce Stern.
A graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1987, Rome started his radio career at KTMS, located in Santa Barbara, California. He eventually moved to XTRA Sports 690 in San Diego, California, where he started what is now known as The Jim Rome Show, or "The Jungle" (after "Welcome to the Jungle", the Guns N' Roses hit song that opens some segments of the program). The show became syndicated in 1996 and 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
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 situation comedy Arliss.
Jim married his wife Janet in 1997, and they have two sons, Jake (born in 2001) and Logan (born in 2005).
On May 3, 2004, Jim hosted the memorial service for the late Pat Tillman. On January 28, 2006, Rome was elected to the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
Callers and e-mailers to The Jungle seem to delight in giving Rome nicknames when talking to him. Some of these are:
- Mr. Rome
- Van Smack (How Rome got the nickname "Van Smack")
- Pimp In The Box
- Romeus Prime
- Romeo & Stu-liet
- Snags To Riches
- Slim Jim
- Romeo Van Snagglepimp