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Opie and Anthony Moving Back to Terrestrial Radio
Posted by: Dale Franks on Monday, March 13, 2006

According to David Hinkley in today's New York Daily News, "shock jocks" Opie and Anthony (Greg "Opie" Hughes and Anthony Cumia) may be returning to terrestrial radio.
The local radio biz is crackling with rumors that Opie and Anthony, former morning team on WNEW (102.7 FM) and currently on XM Satellite Radio, will sign a syndication deal with CBS Radio that could include replacing David Lee Roth, current morning man on WFNY (92.3 FM).

So far nothing official has been said and a CBS spokeswoman yesterday that the company would maintain its policy of not commenting on rumors. CBS did send out a press advisory listing Roth's guests for the coming week.

Opie and Anthony also declined comment on their XM show Friday, but in an interview last month, Opie said they were talking with unnamed companies about returning to terrestrial radio "when the deal is right for everyone."

This would likely mean continuation of their XM show, where they like the lack of content controls. But "90% or more of our show," Anthony said, would be suitable for broadcast radio, so a syndication deal would likely use an edited version.

CBS took O&A off WNEW after the infamous August 2002 "sex in St. Patrick's" incident. But by then they were a hit, and CBS' respect for their radio appeal is reflected in the fact the company paid them to sit out for two years rather than risk their being picked up by a competitor.
I find this story fascinating, being a former radio host in LA. I do notice, however, that Mr. Hinckley can't even get through the first sentence without making a basic factual error. O&A were, in fact, the Afternoon Drive team at WNEW, and by extension, Infinity Broadcasting's east coast radio stations.

Infinity, which became CBS Radio, and is now called Free FM, has run into trouble since Howard Stern's move to Sirius Satellite Radio. Stern's replacement, former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth, has seen ratings plummet disastrously in the six weeks he's been on the air, dropping from Stern's 260,000 people per quarter hour in New York to 58,000 per quarter hour.

So, now Free FM, the company that fired O&A when Mel Karmazin was running the show, is apparently looking to replace the aging rocker with their former "bad boys". Karmazin, of course, who is a long-time friend of Howard Stern, now runs The Little Doggie Company, and much of the management of Free FM now consists of people whose reaction to the prospect of an O&A return is less viscerally negative. Of the remainder, their reaction to O&A's return is undoubtedly less negative than a 75% drop in ratings—and ad revenues.

O&A have been hinting in their XM Radio show in recent weeks about something of this sort in the offing. Today, with the story in the Daily News, apparently O&A felt it necessary to address the issue. They gave out no details, but they confirmed that they were in talks with an unnamed company—which they hinted was Free FM.

The way such a deal would work would be for O&A to do a delayed simulcast with Free FM, to allow Free FM to edit portions of the show prior to broadcast. In addition, the O&A show would be expanded by 1 hour on XM, in order, to provide extra material for Free FM for those times when O&A's XM content is unsuitable for general FM broadcast. This, combined with the much greater commercial time demands of FM radio, would provide far more content than Free FM would actually need to fill the 37-40 minutes per hour that Free FM broadcasts per hour, ex-commercials.

Hughes stated that they have created a system that will work, and will allow them to do their regular uncensored XM broadcast, while allowing the FM broadcaster to provide edited content, presumably with a delay. Cumia also reiterated that the XM show would be unchanged, and that they wouldn't compromise the XM show to make it generally suitable for FM broadcast. Hughes also stated, interestingly, that they would be able to promote XM radio during the FM broadcast as well, which may be a sign of how desperate Free FM is to fill the void left by the departure of Howard Stern.

And, apparently, Free FM is desperate. According to Hughes, had they been willing to compromise the XM show, they could be on FM radio today. Instead, Hughes and Cumia have apparently held out on what they consider key creative issues that, while they have delayed the duo's return to FM, Free FM is capitulating on.

Free FM, frankly, is between a rock and a hard place. Adam Carolla is doing a satisfactory job as the West Coast replacement on Free FM, but apparently, due to his television and other commitments, can't be coaxed to either move to NY, or to start his West Coast Show at 3:00 am, to cover both coasts. And, there are no other established jocks available that could nail down Morning Drive with Stern's departure.

If a deal with Free XM and O&A—and by extension, XM—goes through, this would make O&A the first broadcasters to break through the satellite/terrestrial radio barrier. In the short term, everybody would win with such a deal. O&A would get much wider exposure, XM would get what was, in effect, a massive boost in free advertising exposure, and Free FM could rescue something from the debacle that Stern's departure has wrought in Morning Drive, considering that O&A has a proven track record in grabbing and holding the 18-35 year old male demographic that they're looking for.

Over the long term, Free FM might begin to get a little irked to serve as a free ad outlet for XM. A three-year syndication contract with O&A, however, would give Free FM a decent audience while they regroup, and try to rebuild the brand that Stern's departure has savaged. And, as an aside, it would be worth approximately $30 million-$50 million+ to O&A. That's an extremely attractive payday no matter how you measure it.

Now, if I could only get somebody to pay me $30 million a year to do penis jokes for 5 hours a day...
 
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I wish I’d saved the text, the link to the story is dead. But CNN.com ran a story on 10/3/03 saying that the man who allegedly had sex in St. Patrick’s Cathedral had dropped dead of a heart attack; the man was young, something like 35 at the time of his death. The radio personalities only got fired...
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com
Nevermind all of that, I can’t wait to see what CBS radio fool gets the ax for thinking DLR was the way to go....a more humiliating failure there hasn’t been on the radio
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I wish I’d saved the text, the link to the story is dead. But CNN.com ran a story on 10/3/03 saying that the man who allegedly had sex in St. Patrick’s Cathedral had dropped dead of a heart attack; the man was young, something like 35 at the time of his death.
Well. you know, boiking in a church on a Holy Day of Obligation...always a bad idea.

On the other hand, O&A made $20 million over two years without having to work at all. So, apparently, suborning sex in a cathedral isn’t all that bad a deal.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Nevermind all of that, I can’t wait to see what CBS radio fool gets the ax for thinking DLR was the way to go....a more humiliating failure there hasn’t been on the radio
They’d’ve been better off luring that hack Greaseman from Chicago. At least he has radio experience.

I can’t figure it out either, really. Free FM had 18 months to figure out how to fill the Howard Stern void, and they totally f*cked it up.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Dale what a great article. What I really loved about it was...Raaaamoooooooone, 30 million for you your penis jokes would hardly cover the cost of your AZT!
*sigh*

I knew the Pests would come out of the woodwork if I posted an O&A article. Steve from Yeloowstone is a noted pest.

For those who don’t know, the Pests are O&A fans who are really into the show. If you say bad things about O&A, they make you life a living hell.

Attention whores, the lot of them. Which they acknowledge.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
It’s so wonderful when a writer’s second sentence chastises another for getting their facts wrong, then, a mere two sentences later, commits his own "basic factual error." Mr. Franks’ "Infinity, which became CBS Radio, and is now called Free FM", is wrong. Infinity reverted back to their old CBS name, not Free FM. Free FM is merely a format, a brand name for CBS’ FM talk stations that are not generally political. Free FM has no prior monikers to associate with the firings of O&A; it didn’t exist, in name or in entity.

To put it another way, it’s like saying Ronald McDonald got fired not by the Kroc family, but by the McRib.

Excellent fact finding skills, sir.


 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
$30 million a year to do penis jokes

could be a bit more than that gentlemen
 
Written By: John
URL: http://
Free FM is merely a format, a brand name for CBS’ FM talk stations that are not generally political.
They brand it as Free FM. It’s what people call it. Therefore, I’m not wrong, since I doubt the average person knows that Free FM is a brand of CBS Radio. I’m trying to explain it to a lay audience that doesn’t know dick about commercial radio.

At worst, your complaint is that I was insufficiently precise in explaining it. To which I’d reply that the avwerage reader doesn’t give a f*ck about that level of precision.

But, there’s always one little prick that wants to play "Gotcha", isn’t there, you ass?
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Dale, nice try covering, but you did err (whether you actually knew it or not is irrelevant). You did say that Infinity became CBS Radio, which then became Free FM. That’s not anywhere near true, as Free FM is only the brand.

If you want to stand by your defence that you were writing for the masses, then you are only contributing to their ignorance. Please, we have enough of that already.
 
Written By: John
URL: http://
I am just happy that here in Houston (and the whole gulf coast) we have the Walton and Johnson show. They are funny and topical, and have a libertarian world view.
They also kicked Stern’s ass in New Orleans in head to head competition.
Stern used to be pretty funny but then he became too self absorbed and he went downhill for the last ten years.
 
Written By: Kyle N
URL: http://
I believe adding DLR was a brillent calculated move by CBS. If he did well then great and surprise. but I look at it this way.

Whoever followed Stern had a huge uphill battle, so why not bring in someone like DLR great PR due to his name you know he will fail having no experience and overall suckage. Now you fire him and bring in someone like O&A who have a name/rep/experince and they can’t do anything but win compared to DLR so the company looks like they know what they are doing and the numbers grow.
 
Written By: Waldo Pepper
URL: http://
O and A will NEVER go back to regular radio, nor will there show be aired on regular comercial radio. The Heck with Free FM. O and A ALWAYS WILL IN THE END!
 
Written By: Steve Fom Yellowstone
URL: http://
The only problem I see as a loyal XM subscriber, is that a lot of XM subs in the Free FM listening areas might be cancelled if people realize they don’t have to pay for O&A anymore... the only reason I bought XM over a year ago was to finally hear O&A again, but now I’m torn as to whether I want to keep paying... I probably will though, cuz I can turn on XM anytime and hear the show, except for when Fez and his beard are on... it’ll also be pretty sweet to not have to buy the MyFi I was planning on getting soon, cuz now i’ll be able to carry a regular walkman and hear the show... anyway, no matter what, more O&A equals more gooder, so put them back on terrestrial radio asafp!
 
Written By: Chester
URL: http://
Opie and Anthony are not leaving XM to go back to Free FM, that would be career suicide. I believe that they will not only do their 4 hour show for XM, but maybe they will also do an extra 2hr FreeFM show that can be heard on XM 202, Then, O&A can tell the FreeFM listeners that if they want to hear THE REAL SHOW, they need a subscription. So not only will XM get terrestrial radio promos, but listeners will be enticed to buy XM. Just a thought.
 
Written By: Fredrica
URL: http://
Another factual error is that they are on four hours a day making penis jokes; not five.

It is also bad form for a journalist to use the number 4 in a sentence. You should use the word four. This is basic stuff dude. Did you even graduate from high school?
 
Written By: yawn
URL: http://
But by then they were a hit, and CBS’ respect for their radio appeal is reflected in the fact the company paid them to sit out for two years rather than risk their being picked up by a competitor.
Actually the problem was that CBS execs had approved the contest that led to Sex in St. Patricks. CBS couldn’t fire them because they lacked grounds. So CBS took them off the air, but had to keep paying them for the remainder of their contracts.
 
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
URL: http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com
I got XM a couple of years ago and really loved all the music channels, and the occasional talk radio. Sadly, now almost all I listen to are O&A, so I’m wasting the other 100 or so channels...
I live in a market where we could hear Stern from the Fayetteville broadcast (10 years ago before the Bible belt choked him out) and I actually enjoy O&A a lot more. They should do great on "Free FM" and rise again in popularity to the point where Sirius won’t pull in nearly the subscribers they hoped for with Stern.
 
Written By: Jason
URL: http://
Opie and Anthony always wins in the end!!!
tell’em Fred.
 
Written By: altarboytoy
URL: http://www.wackbag.com
Did you even graduate from high school?
Hey dumba**, you might want to preview your own work before criticizing others.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Hey yawn - He said five hours because in his article he speculates that they would expand the show by an hour in order to have enough material for the 4 hour Free FM show after it is censored. Grrr...
 
Written By: Vinny Fairplay
URL: http://wackbag.com
This is never going to happen... the very reasons that CBS laid out for their lawsuit against Stern is the very reason it won’t... it would be a daily commercial for XM satellite radio.

As for the merits of the blog piece posted... David Lee Roth is actually doing far better than Adam Corrolla in the rolling bridge ratings (these ratings all include the last month of the stern show... so all people actual have presumably lower ratings than those listed)... David Lee Roth is down to a 1.4... Adam Corrolla is a 0.7 in LA and Rover is a 0.4... the ratings have a deviation +/- 0.4... that means in effect... not even the people in the studio are actually listening to Corrolla or Rover.

All of which doesn’t matter... CBS Radio has invested too much to drop someone they have contracted at 4 million a year for 3 years after only 2 months... even if he gets the axe... he is going to be there a while to see if he can build an audience.

I think the genesis of this is really nothing more than a trial balloon by O & A’s PR people to see if they spark some interest from CBS Radio... though considering the rules now on censorship, fines, and CBS Radio’s demonstrated practice of filing suit if you leave... I can’t imagine that O & A really want to do this... but I do think if it catches on in enough media sources that it is a clever idea to get their name in the press and generate some interest outside of XM into listening to their show.
 
Written By: paul
URL: http://
You did say that Infinity became CBS Radio, which then became Free FM.
No. I didn’t. I said it’s called Free FM. That’s what you do when you brand something. You call it by the brand name, not the corporate name.
It is also bad form for a journalist to use the number 4 in a sentence. You should use the word four.
I’m not a journalist, so I feel perfectly comfortable using the number instead of the word. And, as it happens, I didn’t use the number 4. I used the number 5. But, thanks for sharing.
Opie and Anthony are not leaving XM to go back to Free FM, that would be career suicide. I believe that they will not only do their 4 hour show for XM, but maybe they will also do an extra 2hr FreeFM show that can be heard on XM 202, Then, O&A can tell the FreeFM listeners that if they want to hear THE REAL SHOW, they need a subscription. So not only will XM get terrestrial radio promos, but listeners will be enticed to buy XM. Just a thought.
Try reading the blog entry before commenting. Just a thought.
Another factual error is that they are on four hours a day making penis jokes; not five.
And the speculation is that they will do another hour or so of radio for the simulcast. Again, reading the article is always a big help before commenting.
O and A will NEVER go back to regular radio, nor will there show be aired on regular comercial radio.
O&A’s public statements on their show indicate otherwise. Whether it’ll happen is an open question, but they are clearly attempting something of the sort.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
I’m surprise Howard didn’t invent simalcasting in Satellite and Terrestrial Radio first. Hoo Hoo Hoo tell’em Jimmy! Apparently Howard finally forgot to invent something.

Hopefully this is true so Anthony can pay for his new mansion in cash.

Also, give E-Rock a raise he’s earned it!

An XM subscriber……..
 
Written By: Dirk Diggler
URL: www.opieandanthony.com
Free FM is not a company. It’s the name of the radio station in New York, formerly K-Rock.
 
Written By: John
URL: http://
Dale Franks, you a whining, sniveling baffoon. You wrote a great article, so just let it stand and don’t get into comment wars with people who are obviously just trying (and succeeding) to get under your skin.

This is news to me and I listen to O&A damn near every day, so now I’m all a-quiver.

I think in the end that this won’t have that much of an effect on anyone. I LOOOOVE O&A but I don’t think competing on a talk platform nationwide makes much sense. I wish O&A had millions of listeners now but they don’t; morning talk radio is nothing outside of the major markets. The only reason piece of trash Stern is so big is becausefor awhile he did transcend pretty much every media platform out there, but it’s all a NYC-driven facade now....90% of the country could give a rat’s ass about him now.

the XM/Sirius war won’t be fought on the talk radio platform, it’s going to be fought in the marketing and distribution channels. It just seems like it’s this big "O&A vs. Stern" because they’re the ones talking about it on the air.

Wanna talk about a killer?? How about VW ripping XM out of their new cars for the next five years. Now THAT blows. And that’s going to hurt more than losing the hook-nosed loser to the little doggie company.
 
Written By: Pete
URL: http://
ChatAgents now offers a complete Offshore Call Center solution with fully integrated voice, chat, and email support. Simply forward your inbound calls to our call center, or integrate us with your existing PBX
 
Written By: amir
URL: http://www.chatagents.com/call%20center%20services.htm
I bet you don’t know any good penis jokes.
 
Written By: SOS
URL: http://www.wackbag.com
who would pay anybody 30 million a year for penis jokes? do u know somebody that makes 30 million a year for penis jokes? hmmmmmmmmm
 
Written By: Artie Fartie
URL: http://www.sirius.com
I had a dream that O&A came back to terrestrial radio and now it’s true. I loved them in afternoon drive, but the Radio Chick seems to be doing very well there. She’s got a great show-best of the lot, so far, although Booker is getting better. Anything but poor lost soul DLR, who doesn’t have a clue how to run a radio show.
 
Written By: THE MOVIE MAVEN
URL: http://

 
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