Anybody who has listened to Sid Rosenberg on sports radio knows: he doesn't do humble.
But when he steps back up to the microphone, he will have had four months of practice: "My name is Sid, and I'm an alcoholic."
How will the radio loudmouth who's had to take a hard look in the mirror keep his edge when he returns to the airwaves at 6 a.m. Monday on WMEN-640?
"Excellent question," he said. "It's going to be a challenge."
On April 5, the sports radio shock jock
was charged with driving under the influence and soon fired as afternoon host on WQAM-560. That was only his most recent bout with drugs, alcohol and gambling, addictions
that had sent him to rehab twice and cost him at least five jobs, by his count.
"I don't blame them. I fired myself. I'm accountable," said Rosenberg, whose April case is pending.
He said he hasn't had a drink in four months and has attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings daily. He also attends Gamblers Anonymous meetings, going eight months since his last bet. (He lost $750 when Florida State didn't cover the point spread in its 23-19 win over
on Nov. 12.)
He's trying — really trying — to be humble. That's the first of AA's 12 steps to a successful recovery.
To start the day off right, he reaches for a morning meditation, from AA's "Daily Reflections," then hits the gym for a workout.
"Trying for a healthy body and a healthy mind," said Rosenberg, who now realizes he can't even substitute a glass of wine for his usual vodka.
At previous jobs — including at 790 The Ticket in South Florida and WFAN in New York — he pushed the envelope of taste. He once suggested
Venus and Serena Williams were better suited for National Geographic than Playboy, and said the U.S. women's soccer team was "a bunch of juiced-up dykes."
South Florida fans because the
in love with New York sports, especially those stinking Knicks.
He has no plans to tone down the bombast at WMEN, a small player in sports radio.
"I can't change who I am, and what you hear on the air is who I am," said Rosenberg, who in 2010 wrote the book "You're Wrong and You're Ugly: The Highs and Lows of a Radio Bad Boy." "And, no disrespect to the other sports shows here, but I think I'm the best at what I do, hands-down."
Then emerges the Sid he's been working on for the past four months. "The difference now is that I'm grateful for the opportunity. I had a tremendous sense of entitlement before. It was all about me," he says.
WMEN is counting on Rosenberg's fans — and his haters — to boost ratings, general manager Steve Lapa said.
"He's proven, he delivers and, without overstating it, he's the first guy in South Florida who can potentially do what Neil Rogers did," Lapa said. "He can bring an audience to three different stations."
Rosenberg said guests — "we have conversations, not interviews" — have already committed for his first week: basketball's Pat Riley and football's
, Phil Simms,
and Al Golden.
Lapa said WMEN, which airs
baseball and sometimes Giants and Jets football, is a better fit for Rosenberg. Rosenberg's show has a herd of loyal advertisers, so almost 95 percent of the morning airtime has sold, Lapa said.
That's if Rosenberg can stay out of trouble.
Jack Kelly, a counselor at the Treatment Center in
, said any kind of recovery is difficult, and up to 90 percent of those fighting addictions have relapses.
"They don't want to do the work," said Kelly, who has not counseled Rosenberg. "If they don't build up that spiritual muscle, they're screwed."
This is Rosenberg's third try with AA. That's not a reflection on the program, but on him, he said.
This time, Rosenberg said, he's motivated by two things.
First are his two children and his wife, who has stuck with him for 21 years. He said she hasn't enjoyed all the media coverage of his troubles, and especially doesn't want to comment on stories like this one.
"Her actions speak for themselves," Rosenberg said. "My family is my driving force, and I'm a very, very lucky man."
The other motivation is the image of April 5, when police stopped him at 1:45 a.m. near a strip club as he was trying to make himself vomit out the evidence of drinking. They dragged him away sobbing, according to a police report.
"I'm 45, and I don't want to be in that place again," he said. "Not ever, ever again."