Backstage: WIOD AM's Jimmy Cefalo and Manny Munoz Express Musical Leanings

Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman offers his insights, opinions, and observations about the local scene. This week: Talk twosome Jimmy Cefalo and Manny Munoz embrace the music... 

Face it -- the world of talk radio isn't exactly a hotbed of musical savvy. Maybe that's why they call it talk radio. Likewise, the divide would seem all the more apparent with a station like WIOD-AM (610), a bastion of conservative thought that harbors irrepressible zealots like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. Not a huge coolness quotient there. Thankfully, though, the station's South Florida's First News morning team delivers a clearer perspective -- with personality, wit, and wisdom besides. As an alternative to the syndication that dominates the majority of WIOD's broadcast day, these two locals -- former Miami Dolphins and multifaceted broadcaster Jimmy Cefalo and his capable sidekick and resource of reason, Manny Munoz -- keep their shows enlightening and entertaining.

Given the fact that Cefalo generally professes ignorance as far as any

current musical trends are concerned -- aside from disparaging most of

today's newbies, he's also confessed that Italian conductor Mantovani's

light pop favorites occupy a rarefied place on his car stereo -- we

couldn't help but be curious about the team's musical preferences.

Munoz, it turned out, was extraordinarily astute when it came to his picks. Cefalo... not so much. But given that the duo doesn't shy away from expressing their political points of view, any insight into their tastes goes a long way toward understanding their actual off-air personalities. Here, then, are Jimmy and Manny's musical picks, with special thanks to Program Director Ken Charles for helping to prod Mr. Cefalo along. 

Jimmy's choices were somewhat obvious and, in most cases, as conservative as he professes to be philosophically... 

"Shake Me Like a Monkey" - Dave Matthews Band

"Why I Am" - ditto, Dave Matthews

"Good Friends" - Livingston Taylor, James' little bro

"One Short Day" - the cast of the musical Wicked

"Dude Looks Like a Lady" - Aerosmith

Hmmm, do these choices reflect Cefalo's political point of view? Could a title like "Shake Me Like a Monkey" represent his desire to shake up those political primates in our nation's capital? Is "Why I Am" about the need to make a difference when it comes to governing our country? Perhaps "Good Friends" is meant to inspire some civility. Maybe "One Short Day" means the time to come to a consensus is drawing short. And "Dude Looks Like a Lady"... that might represent the Birkenstock-wearing, long-haired hippies he's always railing about.  
Or maybe not. Perhaps he just likes the music. And the occasional show tune, no less. Dave Matthews may well be Cefalo's idea of what's hip and happening. 

By comparison, Manny's picks were considerably less orthodox and generally more diverse. Here's what he had to offer: 

"Bleed Red" - "The haunting new single on Ronnie Dunn's first solo album; it's an incredibly moving song both lyrically and musically." 

"This" - "By Darius Rucker... Yes, Hootie does country. A fun song with great lyrics."

"Breathe" - "From U2's No Line on the Horizon album. It's part of my workout music." 

"Five Long Years" - "This is Eric Clapton from his From the Cradle record. I always turn to this one if I am angry or overly stressed. In fact, I can play every guitar lick on my steering wheel as I turn it up to 11 on the car stereo." 

"Done"- "By Montgomery Gentry. Yeah, so this isn't a new song either, but it is one of those tunes I always go back to when I need to work off a little stress. It really gets your fists pumping." 

Clearly, then, Manny's tastes suggest he's somewhat cerebral when it comes to mining his music. As for Jimmy, well, let's just say he's more about the talk than the tunes...

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Lee Zimmerman