Last Update: Tue, October 25, 2005 8:44 PM (PT)
Infinity Unveils Stern Replacement, "Free FM" Plans
Finally, INFINITY announces its "HOWARD STERN Replacement Strategy,' and as ALL ACCESS was first to confirm, the station is relaunching several stations as FM Talk "FREE FM." As part of the new strategy, DAVID LEE ROTH and ADAM CAROLLA have been officially announced as STERN's replacement in NEW YORK and LOS ANGELES, respectively, starting JANUARY 3.
Also, Alternative WXTM/CLEVELAND syndicated morning show ROVER's MORNING GLORY will add 5 stations and change flagship stations. STERN will have his last broadcast on the INFINITY stations DECEMBER 16.
New Station Lineups
ROTH's show will also air on Talker KLLI (LIVE 105.3)/DALLAS, Talker WYSP/PHILADELPHIA, Alternative WBCN/BOSTON, Rocker WRKZ/PITTSBURGH, Classic Rocker WNCX/CLEVELAND, and Alternative WPBZ (103.1 THE BUZZ)/WEST PALM BEACH. CAROLLA will air on new FM Talk convert KIFR/SAN FRANCISCO, Talker KPLN/SAN DIEGO, Alternative KZON/PHOENIX, Active Rocker KUFO/PORTLAND, and Alternative KXTE (EXTREME RADIO)/LAS VEGAS.
CAROLLA's longtime comedy partner JIMMY KIMMEL will serve as Creative Consultant for CAROLLA's show and an advisor for INFINITY.
Alternative WXTM/CLEVELAND morning man ROVER will add Talker WCKG/CHICAGO, Talker WKRK/DETROIT, Alternative WAQZ/CINCINNATI, Alternative WMFS/MEMPHIS, and Alternative WZNE/ROCHESTER and will be based at WCKG. THE JUNKIES will move to mornings at Talker WJFK/WASHINGTON and will also be heard on Talker/Alternative WHFS/BALTIMORE. Alternative KITS (LIVE 105.3)/SAN FRANCISCO will replace STERN with "THE MORNING MUSIC CO-OP," a music-intensive show.
Rock WYSP/PHILADELPHIA, Classic Rock KPLN/SAN DIEGO, and the new KIFR/SAN FRANCISCO have all launched the "FREE FM" Talk format TODAY (10/25). WXRK (92.3 K-ROCK)/NEW YORK will flip to Talk as "FREE FM" in JANUARY, and FM Talk KLSX/LOS ANGELES, WCKG/CHICAGO, KLLI/DALLAS, WJFK/WASHINGTON, WKRK/DETROIT, and WHFS/BALTIMORE are all being rebranded "FREE FM" as of TODAY as well.
Part of the new programming will be a one-hour daily show starting JANUARY for "PENN AND TELLER"'s PENN JILLETTE. The show will air on WXRK, WCKG, KIFR, WJFK, WKRK, KPLN, WHFS, and KSFN-A/LAS VEGAS.
The new starting lineup at KIFR (1069 FREE FM):
6-10a -- JV & ELVIS (formerly with crosstown KYLD)
10-2p -- DARIAN O’TOOLE & CHAD (she's formerly with crosstown KSAN)
2-7p -- JOHN LONDON (formerly with KNBR-A and KMEL)
7-11-p -- TOM LEYKIS
11-3a -- JOHN & JEFF
KPLN/SAN DIEGO's new lineup includes sister KLSX/LOS ANGELES' HEIDI HAMILTON, FROSTY STILWELL, and FRANK KRAMER (THE TRIPLETS) for middays, WESTWOOD ONE's TOM LEYKIS in afternoons, PREMIERE's PHIL HENDRIE in evenings, and the syndicated JOHN AND JEFF overnights.
WYSP Lets Freedom Ring
WYSP/PHILADELPHIA added veteran local morning guy PAUL BARSKY for middays, with KIDD CHRIS remaining in afternoons. Evenings and overnights will remain Rock with COUZIN ED (moving from 2-5p), MATT AND HUGGY, and RICK ALLEN. TOMMY CONWELL moves to weekends. The station launched its new format with a long collection of clips extolling the virtues of freedom, featuring clips of songs like “I Feel Free” by CREAM and “I’m Free” by THE WHO, interspersed with various drops from speeches and movies mentioning “freedom,” including the REVEREND DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.’s “Free At Last” speech.
The montage was followed by the debut of BARSKY's new midday talk show, on which the host is joined by a couple of co-hosts who he has worked with at other stations, KIM DOUGLAS and VINNIE THE CRUMB. BARSKY promoted the fact that you can “Rock with YSP online” at www.941FreeFM.com.
INFINITY's JOEL HOLLANDER says “when we set out to find a replacement for HOWARD STERN we took the opportunity to cultivate a wide array of talent, from both in and out of the radio industry. With ROTH, we’ve found someone who continues to evolve his career and deliver for his legion of fans. ADAM’s depth of entertainment experience is unmatched in radio. And JIMMY has a proven track record of creating winning shows for both radio and television. Couple that with an impressive roster of emerging talent and formats and we have all the necessary elements for INFINITY to continue as the major player in morning drive.”
Hollander Conference Call
On a conference call TUESDAY, HOLLANDER called the strategy "the culmination of ten months, a lot of work, a lot of sweat." He noted that the plan involves "a total of 10 different solutions" including local solutions in AUSTIN and TAMPA. HOLLANDER said he and Pres. of Programming ROB BARNETT spoke to JON STEWART and came away with the idea of doing several different replacement shows, which he said would not be a competition. "It's not gonna happen overnight, it's going to be a 12 to 24 month period before you see what the shakeout's going to be."
Asked what the difference will be between the present FM Talk programming on KLSX and other stations and the new "FREE FM," BARNETT said that "with FREE FM we've opened up the doors to new talent" (referring to celebrities like ROTH and JILLETTE) with more to come, but the difference for existing FM Talkers is mostly a "new brand" and imaging.
About ROVER's addition in several markets, HOLLANDER said that "we want to get a little bit younger on some of our stations." "He's definitely less edgy than HOWARD," HOLLANDER said of ROVER.
On the possible revenue hit the company will take from STERN's departure, HOLLANDER said "we view it as an opportunity... the bigger opportunity for INFINITY is to fish in a bigger pond of advertisers we were not able to secure for the HOWARD STERN show," citing several advertisers that would not appear in STERN's show that the company can now go after. He also said that announcements about possible WESTWOOD ONE syndication of some of the new shows may be "forthcoming in the next 30 days."
Mindful that most of the questions and publicity were centered on ROTH, HOLLANDER told the conference call "don't underestimate the role of JIMMY KIMMEL in the ADAM CAROLLA show." HOLLANDER added that KIMMEL "wants to help us develop talent in radio."
BARNETT said that ROVER, who he called "one of the hottest young guys in radio," was assigned to WKRK/DETROIT rather than ROTH because of a late decision to give ROVER an opportunity in some major markets.
The conference call was pranked by someone claiming to be "MIKE JOHNSON from RADIO AND RECORDS" that turned out to be STERN wack packer BEETLEJUICE. HOLLANDER asked for the call to be dumped, and it was. HOLLANDER said that he was glad STERN thought the call was important enough to be pranked but that INFINITY would not be putting "farting and people with mental illness" on the air, a shot at STERN's SIRIUS stunting.
KIFR's new lineup that includes THE DOGHOUSE in mornings, is for a "10 week tryout," according to HOLLANDER, after which CAROLLA will do mornings and THE DOGHOUSE may be retained for a different time slot.
At KXBT (THE BEAT 104.3)/AUSTIN, STERN's replacement will be the syndicated STAR AND BUC WILD.
Alternative KHWD (HOWARD 93.7)/SACRAMENTO won't be replacing STERN, as it flipped to the JACK-FM Adult Hits format with the new calls KQJK today. The station will continue to carry STERN through his last last day on 12/16. PD "DEAD AIR DAVE" SOZINHO and the entire KHWD staff are out. Reach out to DEAD AIR DAVE at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“With HOWARD’s showing ending in just a couple short months, we were presented with the opportunity to go in an entirely new direction and bring a format to SACRAMENTO that will be unique to the listeners,” said VP/GM STEVE COTTINGIM. “There’s no disputing the popularity of the format, with its variety of song titles, limited interruption and random on-air presentation. We look forward to the same success in this market.”
Meanwhile, Classic Rocker WBUF/BUFFALO and Classic Rocker KFJK/FRESNO, already carrying the JACK-FM format, will also extend the music programming and HOWARD COGAN-voiced imaging through morning drive rather than replace STERN with a traditional morning show.
Meanwhile, KIKK-A/HOUSTON will extend its CNN HEADLINE NEWS carriage to mornings to replace STEEN, and WBZZ-A (1010 THE BUZZ)/TAMPA is listed by INFINITY as "changing format to Talk" (the station is presently in a "hot Talk" format).
If you are into checking out the FREE FM station sites, here we go:
KIFR/SAN FRANCISCO 1069freefm.com
KLXS/LOS ANGELES 971freefm.com
KPLN/SAN DIEGO 1037freefm.com
And for a complete overview of the FREE FM format, just click here.