Opie & Anthony on CBS Radio: It’s Official, Almost Posted by: Dale Franks
on Friday, April 21, 2006
Well, after a couple of months of speculation, it's all but official. XM Satellite Radio's Opie & Anthony show will return to CBS Radio—from which they were unceremoniously dumped after a broadcast scandal four years ago—in at least 7 markets. Former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth, who replaced Howard Stern on CBS, was notified today that his show was cancelled. Mr. Roth already had one atrocious Arbitron ratings book, and the upcoming book is expected to be a similar fiasco.
According to comments from Greg "Opie" Hughes and Anthony Cumia on their XM radio show today, the final contracts were signed with CBS last night and this morning. Under the deal, Opie & Anthony, along with regular sidekick, comedian Jim Norton, will increase their XM broadcast shift from 4 hours to 5 hours per day. Of that, three hours will be simulcast on CBS Radio in several markets—presumably with a lengthy delay to bleep out the racy language of the XM show—including New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Dallas, Palm Beach.
From the beginning, there was always a long view that one day satellite radio could be not a competitor, but an extension [of FM Radio].Many of the details of the deal still remain unclear, with some reports indicating that Messrs. Hughes, Cumia, and Norton will broadcast three hours of the day from WFNY, and the remaining two hours from the nearby XM studios in Manhattan. Some comments made on the Opie & Anthony show today, however, indicate that the entire show will originate from the XM studios.
Former CBS, and now Sirius, star Howard Stern, who has engaged in a long-time feud against the duo, analyzed the deal on his Sirius broadcast. Unlike most analysts, Stern cited the deal as proof that Opie & Anthony have failed on XM. Most analysts, however, seem to hold a contrary view.
Sean Ross, a radio analyst with Edison Media research, says that this deal, the first content sharing-deal ever between terrestrial and satellite radio, may be a harbinger of things to come. "From the beginning, there was always a long view that one day satellite radio could be not a competitor, but an extension."
After the disastrous performance of Mr. Roth on the east coast, it may be just the "extension" that CBS Radio needs. Prior to their cancellation by CBS Radio in 2002, after a show in which a couple was reportedly broadcast having sex in a foyer of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Opie & Anthony were ratings leaders in their afternoon drive-time show on WNEW in New York. Moreover, despite Mr. Stern's highly-publicized move to Sirius satellite radio, only about 10% of his regular audience followed him to become Sirius subscribers. According to the last Arbitron book, that remaining 18 million or so of Mr. Stern's listenership, haven't settled on a new station for the morning drive-time slot. CBS is obviously hoping that Opie & Anthony's previous success wityh a demographic similar to Mr. Stern's can be successfully repeated, and will draw in that remaining portion of Mr. Stern's former FM radio listenership.
Neither CBS nor XM has commented on the deal publicly, yet but an official announcement is expected as soon as Monday.
I’m THRILLED, since I tuned out Roth immediately and bounced around between the news station and the talk radio station. But what sux is that O&A only go until 9- just when most people are getting into work. If they would go until 10 and get listeners for that 1st work hour it would be the best.
Stern hasn’t been funny since the early 1990’s and Opie and Anthony were never funny. I am not a prude by any means, but I find scatalogical humor gets a little tiresome. Fortunanlty for me, here in Houston we have a much funnier morning show available (in only six markets but growing). The Walton and Johnson show.
My 2 cents: The bottom line is that this move is good for radio. Before O&A got big in Boston and NY there really was nothing on the radio. Stern had gotton old and not as funny as he used to be. O&A were fresh and a powerful combo that brought the funny back to the airwaves. Only classified by immatators by Stern and his loyal fans, anyone that knows the show knows that its more than that. My only quesiton is, when will O&A get on the west coast Free Fm?
I think the deal between CBS and the Opie & Anthony Show is a smart move; O&A’s listeners are made up of similar audience demographics as seen with Stern. While O&A may not appeal to everyone, their talent is unmistakable and should attract new fans over time. The O&A show is creative, funny, cutting-edge and honest. While it is easy for critics to characterize their humor as always immature, vulgar or lewd , their show will surprise unfamiliar listeners with its ability to be very multi-faceted. They can talk about music, politics, or other current topics with the same skill as the bathroom humor they are notorius for. This is why I enjoy them so much; They can be unpredictable and never scripted. I believe CBS will succeed with the O&A strategy. New Listeners will need to give them a chance and if they do not enjoy Opie and Anthony, they can always change the station.
Howard Stern only attracted 10% of his audience? Last I checked SIRIUS had 600,000 subscribers when Stern announced and now they’re closing in the gap on XM rapidly and have 4.8 Million subs and growing!! Remember Howard has only been on Sirius for 6 months. Also, remember what Opie said, "FREE FM, you get what you pay for". Well put, Opie. Opie and Anthony were only able to attract 30,000 subs to XM and Howard’s fans are still jumping over. Sure, CBS radio’s ratings will go up due to O&A, but there is nothing to listen to on FM. CBS has nothing to lose and lets face it, its not like O&A earned all their affiliates. It’s a hail mary by CBS to pick up Howards demo. Thank goodness O&A are free or else nobody would listen. Proof is in the pudding, ask XM.