Joe Ligotti proved himself to this top Philadelphia radio veteran. Now they've teamed up to go national with a new podcast.
After working together in radio in two different markets, the pair recently launched the "Living In Chaos" podcast with a program motto of "debate without hate." It's a nod to the topical and issues-oriented bread and butter of the talk radio format, with a strong measure of levity and humor built in.
Humor comes naturally to Ligotti. His "Guy From Boston" web-based video rants began as a project to amuse his nephew who was deployed as a U.S. Marine in Iraq. They eventually led to TV spots on Fox News Channel, Fox 25 in Boston and WCVB's Chronicle, as well as an appearance on "The Tonight Show." The over-the-top videos also landed Ligotti a weekly radio show on the former FM talk station WTKK in 2009. That's where the relationship with Torres was forged.
Torres had just arrived in Boston from Los Angeles to be producer for the morning show on WTKK. He also began working with Ligotti on his weekend show, and the two became friendly over a meal at Strega.
"I started helping him with his weekend shift, and we just connected and a great friendship grew out of that," explained Torres - who uses the radio handle Diamond Boy Luis - in a recent interview. "There was a lot of good people in that building. I made some pretty good friends."
I had been telling him for the longest time that he should be podcasting. And then we just decided to do it together. - Diamond Boy Luis Torres on Joe 'The Guy from Boston' Ligotti.
Fast forward to 2020 and Torres was a programming executive and on-air personality with VP Broadcasting. He and Ligotti had stayed in touch after WTKK (96.9 FM in Boston) changed formats to music. And then suddenly - thanks to Torres - the Guy from Boston was a popular morning personality on the radio in Allentown, PA. Unfortunately the gig only lasted a few months because the station's format switched to all hip-hop music.
"I had been telling him for the longest time that he should be podcasting. And then we just decided to do it together," Torres said.
Ligotti recalls how he and Torres "hit it off instantly" when they first met years ago - with the long-time radio veteran and former recording artist helping him refine the Guy from Boston persona into a radio-friendly style that really worked with everyday listeners as well as Ligotti's strong social media following.
"He used to give me pointers because he saw in me - I guess - a talent or a spark that (others) didn't. And you know when WTKK broke up he told me the truth. He said: 'Look some day we're going to work together,'" Ligotti explained in a recent interview, noting that the two remained in touch as friends. "Thank God because he became the GM of a big talk station down in Philly. And he calls me and I was at a real low point. I had been sick. And he says: 'Hey Papi. You're going to be my morning guy.'"
The station's format change only temporarily disrupted Ligotti and Torres' quest to create a show together. Out of a home studio near the North Shore the 'Guy from Boston' now records episodes of "Living in Chaos" with 'Diamond Boy Luis' co-hosting and producing remotely. The show is also webcast live with video replay on Facebook.
"We cover all types of topics, you know? Whatever the hot story is of the day. Most of the time it's in the political ring. But we also have our lifestyle stuff," Ligotti said. "I'm an old man now ... the first president I ever voted for was Ronald Reagan. So that shows you how old I am. And then Luis, being a little younger and more hip hop and Latino music oriented, we differ a little bit. I'm a middle aged dad now."
But middle age has not taken anything off of Ligotti's quick-wit fastball. His promo clips - sometimes recorded in his car - still feature the trademark Guy from Boston delivery: starting off calm and building to a rolling boil and finally ending with some kind of BOOM! And his rapport with Diamond Boy Luis is comfortable and friendly while still maintaining the edge that built his following. After all, Ligotti's tagline has been: "I have the balls to say what you're thinking."
"Our podcast is very young. But, you know, the good thing and how Joe explains it is that we don't have to worry about what big radio has to worry about. It's just two regular guys talking about what's going on. And really it's kind of, you know, like the voice of the people we're going back and forth. There's a lot of stuff that people can't say, we still say it," Torres said. "Joe has a great model. It's debate without hate. And we do debate a lot. Some things we see eye to eye, and a lot of things we're at opposite ends. And then either we agree or we agree to disagree."
Luis knows where to point me. And then I just do my thing. - Joe Ligotti
Torres and Ligotti are tracking their early episodes closely and are encouraged by the audience growth so far. They achieved several thousand hits on the Facebook videos they just started doing in January, and Torres feels both the audio and video podcasts "are striking a good chord."
Ligotti says his style and his opinions have earned enough support over more than a decade that he feels confident the "Living in Chaos' podcast will attract the kind of backing that makes a program financially sustainable.
"One of the things that my sponsors have always been, is not afraid. They've always been ... people that understand where I'm coming from. And believe me the corporate stuff and the money is going to come," Ligotti said. "Luis knows where to point me. And then I just do my thing."