Infinity isn’t commenting on an online report penned by a former Howard Stern Show regular that suggests that David Lee Roth will be one of the personalities that ultimately replaces Howard Stern.
Chaunce Hayden, a gossip and celebrity writer for New York and New Jersey entertainment guide steppinoutmagazine.com, writes that “an Infinity source has confirmed the signing.”
In February, the SEC reportedly questioned Hayden about possible insider trading of shares in Sirius Satellite Radio. Hayden was in Stern’s studio Oct. 6, 2004, the day Stern announced his plans to move to Sirius in January 2006. The news drove up Sirius shares by 16% at the close of that day’s trading.
What is certain is that Roth is among many entertainers that Infinity has auditioned on-air since Stern’s bombshell announcement last year. Infinity execs have repeatedly made it clear that they are not looking for a singular personality to succeed Stern, who begins his lucrative contract with Sirius in January.
In April, Infinity president of programming Rob Barnett told Billboard Radio Monitor he was working with Roth in Boston at classic rock WZLX. “The station has kind of turned the town on its ear with cab drivers, waiters and waitresses and employees of Barnes & Noble talking about this amazing guy on the radio,” Barnett said. “It’s an example of just being able to surprise and entertain your listeners without necessarily giving them the exact same menu every day.”
In Boston, Stern is heard on Infinity modern rock WBCN.
The Diamond Dave-as-morning-man idea actually sprung from an Infinity station 3,000 miles away. VP of FM talk Jack Silver put Roth on the air for three hours earlier this year at talk KLSX Los Angeles, which Silver programs. “We were so taken by that performance that we created a stunt here in Boston to give classic rock listeners the opportunity to hear him all week long,” Barnett said in April.
Infinity chairman and CEO Joel Hollander said in February, “One thing you should expect not to happen, is one person to be dropped in to replace (Stern) at 27 radio stations.”
While Stern’s contract is set to end Dec. 31, 2005, Hayden says that Roth will hit the airwaves in early September.
Asked to comment on the Roth rumor, Infinity spokeswoman Karen Mateo said: “We are looking at a number of personalities to replace Howard Stern, however there are no imminent announcements at this time.”