Wearing T-shirts and shorts, Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith are sitting in a booth at a brew pub on a Monday afternoon munching on flat-bread pizza and fish tacos. In about 30 minutes, they will add headsets to their ensembles and spend the next three hours talking about sports, pop culture, current events and whatever else pops into their brains. Dozens of devoted fans gathered at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse laugh along. So do thousands listening in their cars, on their computers and on their mobile devices.
Is it any wonder Papadakis and Smith love their jobs?
The smartest guys in sports radio are approaching the end of their ninth year together on “The Petros & Money Show,” or PMS, airing at 3 p.m. daily on KLAC/570. PMS remains as vibrant and entertaining as ever; there’s no other sports-talk radio show quite like it.
How have Papadakis and Smith managed to keep their show so fresh and interesting? I sat down with them before last week’s remote at the BJ’s in Orange to find out. Here’s how part of that conversation went:
Did you know each other before you started working together?
Papadakis: Matt was a sports guy at KROQ. He was friends with the PR guy at Fox, a guy named Dennis Johnson. I knew Matt as a person through D.J. He called me when USC got hot, and they asked me to come on the show, to “Kevin & Bean.”
Smith: They’re always looking for KROQ-style personalities instead of stiff sports guys. I was watching him on Fox, and I’m like, “This guy’s perfect. He’s the perfect KROQ guy to talk USC.”
Papadakis: That’s how we met each other. I would go there and do “Kevin & Bean.” And I had the little show on 1540 (AM). He came and hung out for like an hour (one) day. That’s how we started a friendship. We would text or talk. He was at 570 for a year. Then I came over, and we started working together.
Did you know it was going to work?
Smith: No. We hoped that it would.
Papadakis: We weren’t thrown together. We wanted to do the job. I think that says a lot. There’s a lot of situations in our business where people are like, “Hey, you work with him, make it work.”
Smith: That’s what happened to me there. “You work with Joe Grande, and it’s gonna work.” And that clearly was not happening. So yes, we wanted to work together.
What is it about you guys that makes the show work so well? Is it that you’re on the same intellectual plane? That you have the same sense of humor?
Smith: I just have fun doing the show. That’s really it for me. So many guys go into work, or girls go into work, and they’re just miserable. They watch for the next commercial break; they’re watching the clock to see when the show’s gonna end. I can’t speak for him, but that’s now how the show is. I enjoy doing the show.
Papadakis: When it comes down to it, once the show starts, it’s fun to do for us. It’s work, just like anything is work. (But) there’s a certain way that we put the show together and a certain way that the show works and the way we work off each other and the kind of roles we play, which change all the time.
Did you know you’d be on the same wavelength when it came to pop-culture references, etc.?
Papadakis: No, I don’t think so. But I think the interesting thing about it is, if you go into a show and say, “Well, you’re going to be this guy, and I’m going to be that guy,” I don’t think it necessarily works like that. You might get three years out of that. I think we’ve both changed a lot since the show started. I got married and had a family and moved three times. Matt had another kid right when we started. His kids are growing up. And he lost like 50 pounds. He’s a golfer. Different stuff happens. I think we can continue to relate to each other as that’s changed. We don’t always play the same role. I’m not always the goofiest guy on the show.
Smith: I think we get enough references. I certainly don’t get them all. I think the key is to get enough that you have sort of the same foundation, same sort of reference point, things that we’re interested in. There’s enough there. There’s enough differences too, which is important. That’s the other thing. There’s enough where we’re a lot different from one another.
Papadakis: It wouldn’t be very fun if we were the same.
Can you see doing this together for the foreseeable future?
Papadakis: I don’t want to not do the show.
Smith: I enjoy it. It’s a successful show. We’re compensated fairly. I love coming to work every day. I don’t know what else I’d rather do.
Papadakis: It’s a pretty big part of both of our lives. It’s like another person – the show.
Your show is different than a lot of standard sports-talk fare. You have specific segments geared to “not-sports.” Did you set out to do that, or was it, let’s do the show we want to do?
Papadakis: I think it was natural given both of our backgrounds. It was a natural kind of thing for both of us to do. He had come from KROQ, where the sports were one minute an hour and he had to do that and whatever else they were asking him to do. I came from a sports background, but I’ve always been interested in a lot more than that. It was just a natural thing for us to do. Some sports shows try to force that stuff in, and it doesn’t sound natural.
Smith: There’s a “Not-Sports Report,” but most of that is organic. I’m just thinking about last week when he just lobbed out, “Last time you beer-bonged?” That’s a four-minute conversation that became the highlight of a four-hour show. You get more tweets and more emails and more conversation, because it was just natural; it was in the moment. And when those things happen …
You didn’t know he was going to ask that?
Smith: No. It just came up.
Papadakis: We try not to manufacture (material). We’re pretty comfortable with each other. Like, there’s a bunch of stuff that happened over the weekend that I’m sure he’s going to want to talk about. And vice versa. He doesn’t want to tell me too much about it before the show because we really want an honest reaction.
Smith: In the moment.
I’ve heard that before – that sometimes co-hosts won’t talk to each other much off the air so everything is fresh on the air.
Papadakis: And when you spend four hours a day on the air with somebody, you kind of let your relationship play out on the radio.
Smith: I think the shows that go, “I’ll say this, then you go here and” … we don’t do that.
I’m going to watch the first half-hour just to make sure you actually follow through on that.
Papadakis: Cool. You’ll love it. We promise. Best half-hour ever.
How has Petros changed? As you mentioned, he’s gotten married, had two kids.
Smith: His whole life has changed. When I first met him he was going out to 3-4 shows a week, staying out late, watching concerts. We’d drink after work a little bit, hang out a lot more.
Papadakis: I still eat late at night. But now alone.
Smith: Now, we’re probably a lot more similar. We have similar schedules. We have children to take care of.
Papadakis: I understand a lot more of what Matt was like. He’d have to get all this work done right when he got to work. I’d want to talk about everything and gossip about people. He’d want to type. He couldn’t work at home like I could because he had kids hanging (on him). When you’re a bachelor, it’s hard to realize that. I recognize it now.
Smith: But professionally, I don’t think much has changed.
Papadakis: We’re still excited about what’s happening, the show and what’s going on. He just got skinny. He got so skinny that his wedding ring flew off at the Bicycle Casino. We were (crawling) under poker tables to find it. He got so skinny that it made me feel fat. Fatter.
It’s always good when one guy is …
Papadakis: To have a fat guy and a skinny guy? I’m so happy to be the fat guy.
Read more of this article at the OC Register where this was originally published