Ralph Riello (left) & Eric Smith (right)
Derek (Eric Smith) and The Riffman (Ralph Riello) have been great friends since the late ‘80’s as traveling road dogs for ESPN Remote Productions. Between them, they have won 12 National Sports Emmy awards. Excellence in sports television is a source of pride for both, but their number 1 passion is music; especially classic rock, the blues, jam bands and behind-the-scenes stories about the bands, bad boys, concerts, and recordings.
Over 30 years at ESPN, Eric won 2 Emmy’s as producer of SportsCentury documentaries and 2 SportsCenter Emmy’s including best feature (‘Escape from Kuwait’). He also produced and created Reel Classics movie series with host Burt Reynolds, Ringside, NBA Tonight, and ESPN Classic Road Shows. Smith was consulting producer at NESN and 2016 Jim Calhoun documentary. He is a serious collector of albums and music catalogues, with over 20,000 songs in his ITUNES library plus over 400 recordings on vinyl. Smith is from Fairfield, graduated from CCSU and lives in Southington.
Favorite Bands : The Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, The Beatles, Bad Company, Cream, The Doors, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Joe Bonamassa, Blue Oyster Cult and The Marshall Tucker Band.
A staffer and freelancer with ESPN for 20 years, Riello earned 8 National Emmys (NASCAR & X-Games). As owner/founder of Barnstorm Productions (1994-2004) Ralph realized a dream, directing nearly 100 major live rock and roll concerts (1995-96). He retired from travel in 2004 to teach media, twice nominated as teacher of the year. He is a guitarist, and performs occasionally with his acoustic band, “The Players To Be Named Later. Hailing from the Bronx and Long Island, he now calls Meriden home.
Allman Brothers, Little Feat, The Beatles, Blue Oyster Cult, Rory Gallagher, Joe Walsh, Jimi Hendrix, Chicago (Terry Kath version), Led Zeppelin, Hot Tuna, The Eagles, The Who, Joe Bonamassa, Eric Clapton, JJ Cale, The Kinks.