Friday, March 13, 2009

CBS cuts ties with Opie and Anthony, officially gives up on Stern-cloned "Hot Talk" personalities and format

Ever since Howard Stern left in December 2005, CBS Radio has been in a tailspin of sorts. It added former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth to take over from Stern in January 2006. It even reformatted a number of its stations that carried Stern to a shortlived "Hot Talk" format known as "Free FM". Roth only lasted three months as CBS swiftly replaced him with former WAAF afternoon hosts "Opie and Anthony"(Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia) to take over mornings on its stations, including WBCN 104.1FM locally. Their new syndicated show on CBS stations was supposed to serve as a promotional vehicle for XM Radio where they've been heard since 2004. CBS was using them to build around its "Free FM" format.

However, with corporate radio revenues steadily sinking for the past few years and with the 'Free FM' format already in its rear view mirror(the format was cancelled in most markets in May 2007), late last year CBS began to pull the plug on O&A syndication deals with its local stations and re-formatting its FM talkers. The impact locally was not as great as in other CBS markets where formats were drastically changed and many staffers got laid off.

After Stern left CBS at the end of 2005, WBCN 104.1FM kept its 41-year rock format and unlike its CBS rock counterparts in NYC and Philly never got converted into "Free FM' format. So when WBCN's management cancelled O&A this past December and moved "Toucher and Rich" from afternoons to morning drive, it didn't seem like a major shift in station's overall programming direction.

Earlier this week, O&A lost their final CBS outlet - their New York flagship WXRK 92.3FM - which flipped to teen-oriented Top 40 hit radio format. With the flip of the former K-Rock, that is it for their CBS syndication of their show. But Opie and Anthony will continue via their Sirius XM satellite gig. The loss of the show on CBS signals that the company has virtually cut ties with the Howard Stern shock-jock era as a whole, though they still have one 'hot talker' in Washington DC market(WJFK 106.7FM), and still syndicate that station's Mike O'Meara (one half of the former "Don and Mike" show. Other than that, there's not much left.

Opie And Anthony still have one sole terrestrial outlet left. It's WROX/96X in Norfolk, VA, though the station delays the show and airs it on tape-delay.

BRW Notebook :

Rush in Review : Starting this Saturday(3/14), WRKO AM 680 will be adding “Rush’s Week in Review” to its weekend lineup. The three-hour show will feature the best of Rush Limbaugh throughout the prior week. It will air 11 AM to 2 PM each Saturday.

“Rush’s incredible ratings are indicative of his power to incite conversation and passionate debate. Love him or hate him, people on all sides of the issues tune in. This show will recap the best, and most rousing moments of the prior week’s shows,” said Entercom New England Vice President of AM Programming and Operations Jason Wolfe.

Sports shorts : Mike Salk who lost his midday gig at ESPN 890 last month lands on his feet in Seattle. Salk has been named as co-host at Seattle's brand new sports talk entry 710 ESPN which debuts next month. ...In other ESPN 890 news, the all-sports talk station is adding an extra hour of ESPN Radio's "The Herd With Colin Cowherd" to its weekday lineup, effective Monday(3/16)....."Sports Blast" with Joe Murray heard on WBNW AM 1120 every morning is now on the air from 6am to 8am. His show can also be heard on Zone 1510 from 5 to 6pm on Thursdays....Speaking of the Zone, the Young Guns has switched to a postgame show format and is now heard AM 1510 from 10pm to Midnight.

U8? : At least 8 Boston radio stations were running U2's little promo show form Somerville Theater this past Wednesday. Here's a list of the locals running U2's hype machine : WBOS 92.9, WMKK 93.7, WKAF 97.7, WBMX 98.5FM, WZLX 100.7FM, WFNX 101.7, WBCN 104.1FM and WAAF 107.3FM. A number of suburban signals like Worcester's WXLO 104.5FM, Providence's WHJY 94.1FM and Manchester's Rock 101 also fed the Somerville gig.

Radio hack watch : Looks like Tom Finneran, a political hack caught in a radio exile, will be serving out the remainder of his 3-year WRKO contract as his professional career as an attorney is pretty much done reports today's Herald.(Ed. Note : Also, in the Herald's piece check out the "Should Finneran be disbarred from radio,too?" poll. Funny stuff.). But first, there's the annual St. Patty's Day Breakfast from Boston Convention Center this Sunday. Finneran and Todd Feinburg will be doing their 2-hour pre-show before the granddaddy of all Mass. political hackarama events airs from 10am to 12:30pm on AM 680.

Big 3-0 : This year, Kiss 108's annual Kiss Concert celebrates the station's 30-year heritage as one of the nation's Top 40 signals. Kiss Concert 2009 is scheduled for Sunday, May 17 at Comcast Center in Mansfield. The ticket pre-sale begins this week(3/18) as the station will be announcing big-name performers at this year's event.


dbvader said...

In other 890 news, Lew Goldstein mentioned that he is leaving "Lew and Mike."

So is CBS flipping WBCN or not?

Anonymous said...

Ha ha...Radio hacks O & A are done!