Infinity Announces Howard Stern Replacement Strategy
October 25, 2005
Putting the rumor mill to rest, Infinity Broadcasting has launched "Free FM" and made clear its plans for replacing Howard Stern. Here's how it breaks down:
"Free FM," which Infinity is calling "a bold new FM format," will take root in four of the top five and seven of the top 10 U.S. radio markets. Infinity currently broadcasts Stern’s program on 27 of its stations across the country and a complete list of his replacements can be found here. His last live broadcast will be on Friday, December 16.
It is now official that David Lee Roth and Adam Carolla have been named as morning drive hosts on WXRK (K-Rock)/New York and KLSX/Los Angeles, respectively, beginning on Tuesday, January 3, 2006. Additional markets to broadcast Roth include KLLI/Dallas, WYSP/Philadelphia, WBCN/Boston, WRKZ/Pittsburgh, WNCX/Cleveland and WPBZ/West Palm Beach. Carolla will be heard on KIFR/San Francisco, KPLN/San Diego, KZON/Phoenix, KUFO/Portland and KXTE/Las Vegas.
Jimmy Kimmel will serve as creative consultant for The Adam Carolla Show, as well as advisor for Infinity. He will assist in the development of new talent and show ideas, along with making guest appearances on the program.
“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 Infinity chairman/CEO Joel Hollander. “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.”
KIFR, WYSP and KPLN will convert to Free FM programming as of today. WXRK, the flagship station for the David Lee Roth Show, will debut Free FM on the station in conjunction with Roth’s premiere in January 2006. Current Infinity stations in Los Angeles (KLSX), Chicago (WCKG), Dallas (KLLI), Washington, D.C. (WJFK), Detroit (WKRK) and Baltimore (WHFS) have all been rebranded Free FM as of today.
Penn Jillette, one-half of the entertainment duo Penn & Teller, has also been named as host of a unique one-hour live radio program that will be featured on WXRK, WCKG, KIFR, WJFK, WKRK, KPLN, WHFS and KSFN beginning in January 2006.
“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," added Hollander. "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.”
A variety of morning drive programming options have been developed for the remaining Stern stations.
Rover, currently heard on Infinity’s WXTM/Cleveland and WAZU/Columbus, adds WCKG/Chicago, WKRK/Detroit, WAQZ/Cincinnati, WMFS/Memphis and WZNE/Rochester to his roster of stations. WCKG will serve as the flagship station for Rover’s Morning Glory. WJFK/Washington, D.C.'s TheJunkies will expand their lineup to include WHFS.
KITS/San Francisco will launch the Morning Music Co-Op, an entertainment-based program featuring alternative music with unprecedented listener involvement/interaction and minimal commercial interruption. The station’s on-air programming attributes will include music-oriented town halls, sponsorship of “locals-only” concerts, monthly music and movie listener correspondents, frequent auditions for permanent positions on the show, listener advisory reports, and Q&A sessions with station executives.