FRIDAY MEDIA COLUMN
Four months ago, Sid Rosenberg sat next to his car on a Broward County street, curled up in a fetal position, tears running down his face, according to a police report.
Within minutes, he was charged with driving under the influence.
Within days, his WQAM career was over.
But Rosenberg, 45, is a survivor, a man with a knack for rebounding from self-destructive behavior and steering his life back on track.
He has done it again, fortunate to have found another radio station willing to take a chance on his unique talent and off-air baggage.
Off the South Florida airwaves since WQAM dismissed him in April, Rosenberg returns Aug. 13 as morning host on WMEN-640, a Palm Beach station whose audiences in Dade and Broward consistently lag behind 790 The Ticket and WQAM.
“I’ve missed it a lot,” he said in a phone interview. “I have changed a lot over the last few months.”
He knows his addictions to gambling and alcohol are “lifelong diseases,” but he is encouraged by his personal growth since the April 5 incident. Rosenberg said he has been diligent about seeking treatment and has achieved a “serenity” that was lacking in the past.
“I’m working on myself,” he said. “I go to [Alcoholics Anonymous] meetings every day, sometimes more than once. I go to [Gamblers Anonymous] meetings. I have not had a drink in [nearly] four months. I haven’t made a wager of any kind since Nov. 12.
“I have found a higher power I haven’t been able to find. I finally found the spirituality I was never able to find. I don’t know why. This time around, the compulsion has been lifted. I haven’t miss [alcohol or gambling] at all.”
Rosenberg regrets his missteps and how they affected those closest to him, including his wife and two children.
"I’ve put my family through hell for a long time,” he said. “I’m grateful they stuck by me. I’m a lucky person. For people who have had multiple issues, it would be easy to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ It took me until this time to realize how lucky I am. I really feel grateful.”
Steve Lapa, who runs WMEN, said he believes Rosenberg’s problems are behind him: “He’s a talented guy, and he wants to work.”
He would have been on the air sooner, but Rosenberg and Lapa rejected WQAM’s offer to shorten his four-month non-compete clause, in exchange for Rosenberg promising he would say nothing disparaging about WQAM or its employees.
Rosenberg said he harbors no resentment toward WQAM but did not agree to the clause because “if somebody says something about me, I need to be able to retaliate. I will not attack anybody. But it’s unfair to say I can’t do this or that.”
His said his 6-10 a.m. WMEN show already has sold all its advertising spots for the first day “and advertisers haven’t lost faith” in him.
His desire to talk about New York sports “was a constant battle” at WQAM and before that, 790 The Ticket. But at WMEN, “I have been given free reign. This station’s audience is more North Broward, Palm Beach.”
So he will opine whenever he wishes on the Jets, Giants, Yankees and Mets, but “the majority” of his show will focus on South Florida sports.
Listeners should expect no change in his on-air style: “I will still have bravado.”
But off the air, “I’ve been humbled.”
Does he trust himself that his problems are behind him?
“I do,” he said. “I do meditation every day. It’s one day at a time. I can’t say six months from now I won’t fall off the wagon. But I’m in a better place mentally and physically than at any time. I’m confident that if I continue to do the things I do today, I will enjoy this serenity for the rest of my life.”
### Not only is Jorge Sedano the top choice to replace Michael Irvin on WQAM’s midday show, but Sedano also is a candidate for the program director job. Former WQAM program director Lee Feldman left to open a bed and breakfast in Costa Rica.
### Through four nights, Miami-Fort Lauderdale’s 16.7 average prime-time Olympic rating on NBC-6 ranked fourth-worst among 56 metered markets. West Palm Beach’s ratings have ranked in the top 10. Nationally, NBC's ratings through four nights were the highest for an Olympics since the 1996 Atlanta Games.
### Though Jimmy Cefalo will remain the Dolphins’ play-by-play announcer on WINZ-940, the team said it will allow studio host Jesse Agler to call the second and third preseason games, with Cefalo sharing analyst duties with Joe Rose those nights.
That’s being done so the Dolphins can keep a three-man radio booth while radio co-analyst Bob Griese works CBS-4’s preseason TV telecasts with Dick Stockton and Nat Moore. Keith Sims will join Cefalo and Rose for the other two preseason games on radio.