Photo courtesy of Tony Reali
In this episode, we visit the “Good Morning America” Studios in Times Square where spent the day with Toni Reali, host of ESPN’s “Around the Horn.” This is part one of a two-part interview, where Reali talks about his Italian upbringing and how it contributed to his work ethic and successful career. We also feature a beautiful story from a listener, Stephanie Piccone, about her grandmother, who she never met.
Tony Reali joined ESPN in July 2000 and in September 2001 became researcher for ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption,” a role that evolved into daily on-air appearances correcting factual errors by co-hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon at the end of each show.
In February 2004, Reali was named host of “Around the Horn,” a show for which he had been a regular fill-in host and guest panelist. Prior to joining ESPN, Reali was sportscaster for WFUV 90.7 FM at Fordham University, serving as the voice of the men’s football and basketball teams and hosting New York City’s longest-running sports call-in show. He also served as beat reporter for the New York Yankees, Mets, Giants and Jets.
“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” – Muhammad Ali
- “I can talk about food, and family, style and hair, but for me, being Italian is about feeling.” – Tony Reali
- “I don’t have an ability outside of staying who I am.” – Tony Reali
- “To come to this country with nothing and to build a family that has been in this country for 100 years now, is wonderful.” – Tony Reali on his grandfather
- “My job is to make my guests have the most natural, human moments they can have on TV.” – Tony Reali
- “Nothing can prepare you for the vulnerability you are going to feel (when you have a child).” – Tony Real
- “My work is all directed towards the family.” – Tony Reali
- “You have to respect all of your work, no matter what field you are in.” – Tony Reali
- “So much of life is rolling with things.” – Tony Reali
- “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a sportscaster.” – Tony Reali
- “Confidence is 90% of what people who perform for a living do.” – Tony Reali
- “I want my show to feel like a family dinner discussion.” – Tony Reali
Some of the key points Reali touched on included:
- Describing how his Italian grandfather was extracted from the rubble of an earthquake in Italy and then came to the U.S. and built a family.
- Tony’s path of getting an off-air/research position with ESPN to the host of a mainstream ESPN program, “Around the Horn”.
- The Italian work ethic, how it is great, and how it is challenging.
- How both confidence and curiosity help Reali in his career.
- Why gripping things tightly in life can take a lot out of you.
- How having a daughter changed the way that he works.
Anthony Fasano and Dolores Alfieri
Co-Hosts, The Italian American Podcast