The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

10 July 2005

David Lee Roth Really Stern's Replacement?

Dave For Howard?

Reports Persist On Stern's Successor

Has Howard Stern's replacement already been chosen?

While there's generally a political talk focus here, the Radio Equalizer does get reminded that raunchmeister Howard Stern is one of the nation's most popular hosts.

His millions of listeners mean big money for affiliate stations. With the earlier announcement of a switch to pay radio at year's end, the radio industry has spent a great deal of time wondering who could possibly replace him.

In recent days, an increasing number of reports say Stern's replacement would be none other than "Diamond Dave" Lee Roth, former Van Halen frontman.

Diamond David Lee Roth
Former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth is known for eccentric showmanship. Photo credit:

I chuckled at the thought of David Lee Roth taking over the show, but what really got me thinking about the change, was a fired-up big city news-talk program director I spoke with late in the week. He's spent years in music, sports radio, TV and a great deal of time in AM news-talk.

"Dave's never worked a day in his life," the programmer noted.

"This job requires a major daily commitment, very early hours, a lot of work. Do you really think David Lee Roth is willing to get up in the middle of the night?

He added, "What about the past substance abuse issues? He sits in a couple of times in two cities and that means he's ready to take over for Stern? I don't think so."

Later, another major-market programmer told me something I think is related, that syndicators and station managers don't seem to realize there's no substitute for on-air experience.

"The talented people in this business make it look easy," he added, "some in the industry mistakenly take that to mean that it is easy, but it's not true."

Many people are rushed into national talk shows based on name recognition, but haven't proven they can handle the daily grind for the long run, he also indicated.

In addition, he said he's tried to reason with broadcast execs on the subject, but it seems to fall on deaf ears. Worse, when hosts are selected based on marquee value, they often aren't coached by industry veterans and quickly develop bad habits.

Sure, Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern have teams of producers and other assistants to help them with show prep and other matters. But there's no way they could have been successful without a great deal of hard work. Even a sleazy sex show requires a lot of planning, from games, to skits, spoofs and guests.

Limbaugh spends many hours monitoring the news and working with staff before the next program. And, he worked his tail off for decades in the industry, with many difficult periods.

Yes, the Williams sisters make tennis look easy, but what happens when you try it? Radio and television hosting are very similar.

David Lee Roth might be a great substitute, but does he really have what it takes to do more than a few shows? Why not use an FM morning show that has succeeded in a major city, with an established ratings track record?

In the coming days, we'll see if the reports are really true. So far, Infinity Broadcasting is only saying that Roth is among those who might ultimately get the job.

With the possibility that Stern could be yanked from radio stations three months early, there is little time remaining to make a decision.


  • I could NOT make money in the same way Howrad does. He's one step above been a drug pusher in my estimation. I grew up with radio in the 50's and just continue to be shocked and stunned by the sewage spread by the misuse of the first amendment. SELF censorship works. Rememer the NAB's Seal of Good Practice? I missed it's funeral. Imagine Arthur Godfrey, Art Linkletter, etc. carrying on in the fashion of STERN. They would have been gone in a heartbeat and no doubt 1000's of vacuum tubes would have exploded (or imploded). This kind of progress in broadcasting has brought us social ills that are untold.....of course, there are other factors in society, too. But, radio is an invited guest into your home or car and should act accordingly.

    By Anonymous Duane, at 10 July, 2005 13:44  

  • Don't worry Duane. With the way things are going politically, Howard Stern will soon be muzzled and the era of shock jocks will be gone.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10 July, 2005 17:30  

  • Duane,
    Hopefully, the next media outlet after the shock jocks to be muzzled will be those homos at PBS and Sesame Street.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10 July, 2005 23:46  

  • My goodness....why is it the liberals are always telling us we need to do lots of good stuff "for the children". I assume "annonymous" must believe Howard is good for the children with his comments?
    Freedom, without responsibility is unhealthy. No where did I suggest the government should come in and censor anyone...unlike the MORON judge in Olympia, WA who is doing exactly that to a talk radio station in Seattle....he's a pinko, activist judge and surely, his decision will be overturned, just like many decisions by the 9th US Circuit court are overturned as often as it rains in Seattle. Moonbat judges, from the left, are the ones who are dangerous.
    Howard can do his thing, but I don't believe it should be done over the public airwaves. Radio once was CIVILIZED. Broadcasting is a licensed priviledge.

    By Anonymous Duane, at 11 July, 2005 00:37  

  • Liberal talk radio trends ahead of Limbaugh among 25-54 in Miami

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 11 July, 2005 18:47  

  • I don't trust the source. And just because it's there, doesn't mean jack.

    Get me Arbitron numbers.

    By Blogger Sailor Republica, at 11 July, 2005 20:48  

  • Hey Sailor, those are arbitron numbers. Not just the summary numbers that you get for free.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 11 July, 2005 22:23  

  • Let's hear from RadioEqualizer on the validity or lack thereof of dick tuck's link. He is the expert after all.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11 July, 2005 23:47  

  • Yeah, he'll tell you what to think.

    By Blogger Dick Tuck, at 12 July, 2005 08:25  

  • *ahem*

    Send me the numbers, not through some namby pamby website that invents stories.

    I want to see the hard copy that comes to Radio Stations. Then, I can give validity. Until then, Raw Story is unverifiable.

    Maybe his name should be Dick Kutov.

    By Blogger Sailor Republica, at 12 July, 2005 16:04  

  • This Miami ratings story is spreading around the Internet.

    I've been getting emails in recent days. The last Miami numbers were released at least a week ago, I don't know what sparked this.

    Trying to find out what is real and what's a 'Net legend.

    Brian Maloney

    By Anonymous Brian Maloney, at 12 July, 2005 20:49  

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