He’s no Howard

This morning, Howard Stern generously, I thought, had David Lee Roth on as a “mystery guest” to promote himself as one of Stern’s radio replacements in January.

He’s no Stern.

Roth was trying to do radio. He spoke with an eerie formality — eerie for a rocker — sounding like an overaged kid in a bar mitzvah suit trying to get a good check out of Aunt Sadie. Or maybe he sounded like a pretentious, sober, and boring Crazy Cabbie. Or… I don’t know what he was trying to sound like. But he didn’t sound genuine. That’s what makes Stern Stern.

He’s no Stern.

Even Viacom knows that, for they’re replacing Stern with many players.

“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, as part of its Howard Stern replacement strategy. Infinity currently broadcasts Stern’s program on 27 of its stations across the country. 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.”

Yeah, it’s not heard anywhere on Radio because the FCC got rid of Stern and ballless Viacom and the radio industry let them.

More on Infinity’s plans, as if anyone should give more than a shrug:

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.

Even those guys don’t take all the markets. Rover, whatever that is, and the Junkies, whatever that is, take over other markets and in San Francisco, the land of the different tattooed drummer:

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.

Ooh, Q&A sessions with station executives. Is that what the kids call interactivity?

I’m pissed anew. Stern should not be leaving the airwaves.

: Folks in the comments say it’s time to get Sirius. Yup.

: Gawker asks whether this is the death of rock:

Without Stern, apparently, there’s no more reason to live.

Then again, some would argue K-Rock actually died sometime around 1995, when it overnight stopped playing the classic rock that got us through high school. We got over it.

: Maybe rock is dead. David Hinkley quotes Stevie Van Zandt:

Little Steven Van Zandt, host of the syndicated Sunday night “Underground Garage,” told a Radio & Records convention this summer that radio has shortchanged rock for decades.

“In a real sense, the last big [rock] band through the door was U2, 25 years ago,” Van Zandt said. “When our generation stops touring, it’s over. Rock ‘n’ roll is a living, breathing animal that needs to be fed. With new blood.”

That new blood is out there, too, he said, but has too few outlets for exposure on broadcast radio. “Hip-hop and pop can be heard. New rock ‘n’ roll had nowhere to go. [Our show] has played more new bands in three years than anyone since the ’60s.”

: The Infinity press release here.

: Michele Catalano translates the Infinity press release:

Talk, talk, talk, more talk, more blabber about nothing, prank phone calls and “odd” news, bitching about the world with in a post-modern ironic kind of way, fluffy Hollywood interviews, thirty second sound bites about the top grossing movies, some Paul Harvey-esque dude giving you a humorous take on a news subject and, fuck you don’t lie to us there will be no music.

Rock radio is dead….

It’s gone. It’s happening everywhere, not just New York. Rock and roll radio is dead. I don’t care that there are alternatives. It’s still god damn sad that the best thing about FM radio is no more.

: Ed Moltzen also translates the PR:

In other words, he doesn’t have the slightest idea what he’s going to do. He’s going to throw anything and everything against the wall and wait to see what sticks.

: On the other hand: Radio Marketing Nexus says there’s more here than we know (and, frustratingly, he’s not telling us):

The solution, my friends, is not infinite options (a la HD Radio) but a very small number of compelling ones.

I know what you’re thinking: David Lee Roth? But in my book a train wreck waiting to happen is only slightly less compelling than the actual accident scene itself.

I will not dish any secrets. But suffice it to say that Infinity’s FREE FM concept is much bigger than fixing the Howard Stern problem (although not likely to be bigger than Stern).

: New Yorker DrummerDan says:

Congratulations to all the corporate douches that decided this was a good idea.

: Desperate Hours Productions says:

Does anyone else find the Orwellian irony in giving the name “Free FM” to a series of stations full of the same content?