Prediction: Howard Stern will be back on terrestrial radio. And soon. He'll continue doing his pay-radio show, but simulcast the first three hours, with necessary bleeps, on free FM radio, and he'll make even more money doing so. Just wait. It was in the cards from the start.
Since he left the airwaves for pay-radio in January, radio hasn’t been the same and Stern has become instantly irrelevant. He'll pop up in a magazine to complain about lost listeners or in the papers to claim he’d fended off a deranged mugger, but as far as American culture and the everyday agenda is concerned, he’s dead. Gone.
But as his girlfriend's fame begins to eclipse his own hard-fought glory, Stern continues to do the same old radio show. Take a look at Stern’s website and see that with the exception of a smattering of f-words and heavier sexual and gross-out content, it’s basically the same show, without the listeners. Howard has become Rupert Pupkin, doing a show in his basement.
Meanwhile, his free-radio replacements have bombed, big time. Adam Carolla has the worst, most amateurish, self-indulgent, boring, dunderheaded morning radio show in Los Angeles (the way he talked over Dick Cavett with his motormouth, memorized observational bits Thursday morning was grounds for immediate dismissal), and finally lays bare the Kimmel-Carolla comic genius scam (the bosses should give talk radio hotshot Johnny Wendell a go. He has ideas for the morning). And in New York City, poor David Lee Roth was finally fired yesterday.
Roth’s spot in New York and several other major CBS stations will be filled by Opie and Anthony, who currently do a morning show on XM Satellite Radio— Stern’s rival. Starting as early as next week, they’ll reportedly do a 6-9 a.m. simulcast on XM and WFNY, then additional hours only for XM, where the lack of FCC content guidelines permits much more explicit language and graphic content.
That’s what Stern will be doing soon: simulcasting his Sirius show on free radio, then carrying on satellite the rest of the morning.
Stern once kvetched about radio restraints. Opie & Anthony were actually kicked off radio for a sex-in-St.Patrick’s-Cathedral stunt, and went to satellite long before Howard. They’ve experienced the frustration of being forgotten. Now they've set the stage for Stern's return.
By the way, the experts have said that Howard lost ten million listeners and no one can figure out where they went. After four months of surfing the AM and FM dials, through Stephanie Miller (good) and Mancow (very bad) and even Mark & Brian (weird—they spend hours in the morning simply playing Pop Quiz—like they’re killing time on a bus) while waiting for five minutes of Paul Harvey, this listener got an iPod.
(See Stern's gal Beth O here)