The clock has been ticking for the 27 Infinity Broadcasting-owned stations to come up with a credible scheme for replacing mega-super-uber morning drive shock-jock Howard Stern, who is fleeing to the warm, luxurious confines of Sirius Satellite Radio in January, where he will be free of the depredations and linguistic confinements of the FCC.
Today, Infinity announced that multiple talk personalities — including ex-Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth in New York and comedian/personality Adam Carolla in Los Angeles — will replace the vanishing hero Stern under the rubric "Free FM" - a not-veiled-at-all jab at satellite radio, which requires a special receiver and charges a fee to listeners.
Diamond Dave's show will originate from WXRK-FM in NYC and also be aired on WBCN-FM in Boston (where Roth apprenticed earlier this year in preparation), KLLI-FM in Dallas, WYSP-FM in Philadelphia, and WRKZ-FM in Pittsburgh.
Carolla — former cohost of radio's Loveline and current star of Comedy Central's Too Late with Adam Carolla and TLC's The Adam Carolla Project — will host mornings on KLSX-FM in L.A. and air on KIFR-FM (formerly KEAR-FM) in San Francisco, KPLN-FM in San Diego, KZON-FM in Phoenix, KUFO-FM in Portland, Ore., and KXTE-FM in Las Vegas. Corolla's pal and mentor Jimmy Kimmel will serve as creative consultant and make guest appearances on the show.
"Infinity's FREE FM stations will feature an eclectic mix of personalities, whose distinct creativity, perspective, sense of humor, intellect and unpredictability do not fall under the guiding principals of any particular narrowcast theme or ideology," said Joel Hollander, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Infinity. "An entertaining hybrid of provocative, political, pop culture, news, music and lifestyle formats, our next generation of FM stations will be personified by their conviction, passion, originality, fearlessness and innovation which is not heard anywhere else on the radio."
It's the Balkanization of Stern's republic, with the Midwest going to Rover, currently morning host on WXTM-FM in Cleveland and WAZU-FM in Columbus. Rover will add to his roster of stations WCKG-FM in Chicago, which will become the host's new flagship, as well as WKRK-FM in Detroit, WAQZ-FM in Cincinnati, WMFS-FM in Memphis and WZNE-FM in Rochester.
The Junkies, a foursome of mid-morning hosts on WJFK-FM in Washington, D.C. will move to mornings and add WHFS-FM.
Penn Jillette, the big, talking half of Penn & Teller, has also been named as host of a one-hour program that will be featured on stations in New York (WXRK-FM), Chicago (WCKG-FM), San Francisco (KIFR-FM), Washington, D.C. (WJFK-FM), Detroit (WKRK-FM), San Diego (KPLN-FM), Baltimore (WHFS-FM) and Las Vegas (KSFN-AM), beginning in January 2006.