Mel & Sol
“Big City Talk”
Mel Zommerzberg and Sol Rubenstein have been hosting Big City Talk since 1968. They’ve just about had enough, but not quite. Born in Queens, New York, Mel and Sol first took to the airwaves in Manhattan as teenagers, and have since broadcast the multi-award winning Big City Talk out of cities including Los Angeles, Austin, Boise, Phoenix, Chicago, Tallahassee,
Honolulu, Salem, Dubai, Minsk, Tehran, Monaco, and London.
Big City Talk helped break many acts at radio, including The Hooters, David Cassidy, Bertie Higgins, Bruce Hornsby, Patti Labelle, Huey Lewis & The News, Talking Heads, ABBA, Iggy & The Stooges, Fairground Attraction, Nirvana, Leo Sayer, The Moir Sisters, and Gino Vannelli. Mel & Sol also made uncredited guest appearances on TV shows including Fantasy Island and The Love Boat.
Big City Talk famously conducted the final radio interview with Mr Elvis Presley in 1977, an event the team still refuses to discuss all these years later, despite offers of up to $18,500 (plus airfares, meals, accommodation and per diem). The interview, in which Mel and Sol teased their old friend Elvis mercilessly, has never been replayed, and all air checks were destroyed by the radio station at the time. The only known copy lies in the Big City Talk Big Ol’ Gold Vault, which is drilled in place in an unspecified location.
In 2007, on the eve of Big City Talk’s 40th anniversary, Mel and Sol fled suddenly from Los Angeles and wound up by accident in Sydney, Australia. They were accompanied by their executive producer Carroll D’Zommer; Eddie Winner, the world’s oldest panel boy; and Big City Talk’s long-time executive chef Botany Woo, all of whom have been with Big City Talk since the beginning in 1968.
The reason for their sudden departure has never been fully explained, however sources say it was related to the Internal Revenue Service sniffing around Big City Talk’s raft of woefully managed side businesses, which included, but were not limited to:
• A synthetic meat factory in Kentucky servicing end-of-days hillbillies who wanted to stock up on produce with a 20-plus year shelf life;
• Soft & Saggy, a chain of discount bean bag warehouses and;
• A collection of 14 Bavarian-themed restaurants called Riesig Weisswurst (“Enormous White Sausage”), featuring huge jugs of beer, lederhosen-clad Oompah bands, vast chunks of meat on the bone, and plump, foot-long white sausages, served with all-you-can-eat potatoes.
Unable to return to the USA, Big City Talk continued to broadcast from Sydney by satellite and shortwave from 2007-2017, circumnavigating the American radio stations that had abandoned them to the wolves. The ratings were high and wide and Big City Talk was back, bigger and better than ever!
In 2017 Sol made the executive decision to relocate Big City Talk to Orange, NSW, with FM 107.5 chosen as the host broadcaster.
Sadly, Mel, Eddie, Carroll and Botany Woo refused to join Sol, and Big City Talk was rendered asunder, as blocs within the show jostled for supremacy. It was an ugly time for Big City Talk as Mel threatened to sue Sol, Sol threatened to sue Mel and Botany, Botany and Carroll threatened to sue Sol and Mel, Mel threatened to sue Carroll, Eddie threatened to sue Sol and Botany, and then threatened to sue himself.
After the dust settled Mel repaired to Fiji to consider his future, Carroll went on a shopping spree in Paris, and Eddie took time out to deal with a raging crème de menthe habit.
Despite doing next to nothing, Mel, Carroll, Eddie and Botany Woo shamelessly continued to draw a wage from Big City Talk, which eventually led Sol to sue the others for “extreme laziness”. The matter was settled out of court in early 2018, with Judge Judy rumoured to have brokered the deal.
Since that time Mel, Carroll and Eddie have made sporadic appearances on Big City Talk, while executive chef Botany Woo has returned to the Big City Talk kitchen to wok and roll.
Big City Talk is syndicated to over 490 radio stations worldwide.
“What you need to understand is that we’ve been doing Big City Talk since we were kids,” said Sol in an exclusive interview with FM 107.5. “Mel and I grew up next door to each other in Queens, so we have been fighting and falling out and making nice for 60 years, including 50 years doing Big City Talk! I hate the guy, he is a bum, but I love the guy too.”
“What I would say is that I’m semi-retired, but still getting paid a full salary, with perks,” said Mel in an exclusive interview with FM 107.5. “Sol is too enthusiastic about all of this. I’ve had about enough, but if he wants to keep churning it out, go for it. It’s all gravy!”
Big City Talk broadcasts live every Wednesday from 8-10pm.