The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

17 May 2007

Shock Jock Radio, FREE FM, Opie & Anthony


Paper: FREE-FM Could Soon Vanish From Airwaves

After one too many shock jock- fueled flaps, is CBS about to pull the plug on one or more of its FREE FM outlets?

According to one newspaper report, it may soon be over for the hot talk format in at least one city: New York. In broadcasting, that's by far the industry's most important market.

After seemingly endless rounds of bad publicity, the struggle to generate ratings and nervous sponsors, has the network finally had enough?

If so, it will mark the end of an expensive FM hot talk format, one that was custom- designed to counter the threat posed by satellite radio.

From the Star Ledger in New Jersey:

The post- Imus climate in radio doesn't seem to bode well for hot talk stations like Free FM. Al though parent company CBS Radio hasn't said anything publicly, some industry insiders have predicted that WFNY (92.3 FM, Free FM) may go the way of all flesh in New York by Memorial Day.

It isn't going to help the turbulent climate for hot talk that Opie and Anthony were suspended for 30 days from their XM Satellite Radio show starting today. They also appear on WFNY weekday mornings.

A release issued by the company states "XM Radio deplored the comments aired on 'The Opie & Anthony Show' last week. At the time, the company strongly expressed its views to Opie and Anthony, and they issued an immediate apology."

The segment involved a man the hosts call Homeless Charlie, who made unprintable sexual remarks about Laura Bush, Condoleeza Rice and Queen Elizabeth II.

"The management of XM Radio decided to suspend Opie and Anthony," the release read, "to make clear that our on-air talent must take seriously the responsibility that creative freedom requires of them.

"Comments made by Opie and Anthony on (Monday's) broadcast put into question whether they appreciate the seriousness of the matter."

As far as the future of WFNY, no one at CBS is talking. Tom Taylor, soon to be former editor of the Cherry Hill-based tip sheet Inside Radio, says new CBS Radio head Dan Mason is scrutinizing everything about the operation.

"I think Dan is looking hard at all of these new concepts. He's an experienced programming hand," Taylor says. "The (Free FM station) in Chicago already dropped the name, and it's been de-emphasized in other places."

However, CBS did announce that Free FM midday hosts JV and Elvis, who were suspended early last month for a prank phone call that included several demeaning Asian stereotypes, were officially let go Saturday.

Question: if FREE FM stations do disappear, could issues- based talkers take their places? One could easily imagine CBS considering the format for these now- troubled outlets.

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  • The Problem with CBS is they have too many Dan Rather types running it. They know everything, but do not and will accept forged documents to prove themselves right.

    CBS wouldn't know a good thing when they've got it. In Los Angeles, they tried the "Arrow" format. It was a change of pace for oldies stations that was refreshing. I have not heard it anywhere else.

    By Blogger PCD, at 17 May, 2007 09:53  

  • CBS has no liberal bias, retard. Why on Earth did they fire General Baptiste, the man who commanded 20,000 troops and spoke the truth about the Iraqi war? Is he not qualified to speak of the war? The conservative media wants NO CREDIBLE War sources, but rather hacks, who recite RNC talking points. Rather was fired because demonic anti-American Bush hacks would have started shooting up the studio. Your side are blood thirsty degenrates who get their way by threats of violence. FACT

    you are on heroin, PCD. Your liberal bias is an illusion.

    I don't support the firings of these hack comediasns, as repulsive and retarded as they are, it;s a matter of free speech, they are not hate speakers, but rather idiots.

    and "free-FM" is not a "good thing", it gets HORRIBLE ratings, and they are beaten by leased time stations and low powered spanish outlets all accross America. It is a FLOP. I would can the format for LOW RATINGS, not for the 7th grade humor these hacks get paid to do.

    By Blogger Minister of Propaganda, at 17 May, 2007 11:12  

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