Radio show host Opie talks listener out of suicide attempt
Thursday, June 12th 2008, 6:07 PM
The hosts of radio's "Opie and Anthony Show" talked a severely ill man out of killing himself on the air Thursday morning.
In a dramatic live broadcast, the fan named Tom told the often raucous hosts that he planned to commit suicide.
"I just want to say, you guys entertained me quite a bit," said Tom, who is a regular caller.
"I just was going to say goodbye. Things are getting a little harder."
Tom suffers from a debilitating lung condition, according to program director Steve Carlesi.
In the past Tom had said would kill himself on air when his condition got unbearable. Opie and Anthony had jokingly agreed.
Tom was serious.
Today he told the show's call screener that he had a gun.
"He said, 'I think he's serious,'" Carlesi said of the screener.
"My mind's made up," Tom said during the broadcast on 92.3 FM. "It's not that bad."
Show hosts Anthony Cumia, Opie (Greg Hughes) and comic Jim Norton, realizing Tom wasn't kidding, tried to talk him out of doing anything serious and to seek help.
"I don't think we really want you to off yourself on the air," Cumia said. "Jesus."
Tom, who had identified himself in the past as being from White Plains, said he'd already written a suicide note.
"Had a great run, my time is now, have fun," Tom said, reciting the note.
"I have a weapon, loaded," Tom said.
"Oh, Jesus," responded Cumia.
"Tom, let us call people for you," Hughes said.
Eventually, the "O&A" crew talked Tom out of doing anything. At one point, as he was unloading a gun, there was a blast heard.
"When we heard the gun go off," Carlesi said, "that's when it got really, really serious."
They also got him to give them his phone number.
Carlesi said once Tom was on hold, police were notified. He would not reveal what town Tom lives in, but, said it was near White Plains.
Soon after police arrive, they told Carlesi Tom was on his way to the hospital.
"They said, 'we got him,'" Carlise said.