With all the hoopla surrounding the departure of Howard Stern to Sirius at the end of the year, many radio industry pundits have wondered what Infinity Broadcasting has planned to replace Stern.
The pieces have been slowly coming together. Today, Infinity will take control of 106.9 KIFR San Francisco (formerly Family Radio KEAR-FM) and launch a stunt in preparation of the debut of “106.9 Free-FM”.
San Francisco will merely be the first station to debut with the Free-FM branding. In late July, Infinity registered the following webdomains: (The stations the domains are for are still mere speculation based on Infinity’s existing properties)
923freefm.com (for WXRK New York – Stern’s current flagship)
925freefm.com (for KDJM Denver – currently Rhythmic Oldies?)
971freefm.com (for KLSX Los Angeles- an existing FM Talker)
freemfm971.com (for WKRK Detroit – another FM Talker on the same frequency)
1037freefm.com (for KPLN San Diego – currently Stern/Classic Rock, this station just jettisoned its program director and is full of market speculation of a flip to FM Talk)
1053freefm.com (for KLLI Dallas – an existing FM Talker)
1059freefm.com (for WCKG Chicago – an existing FM Talker)
1067freefm.com (for WJFK Washington – an existing FM Talker)
freefm1067.com (for KLTH Portland – a floundering AC?)
and the aforementioned 1069freefm.com for KIFR San Francisco.
With the exception of 925freefm.com and freefm1067.com, all of the doimains point to a blank page with the heading of “Radio Mutiny”. Well, last week, Infinty registered the domain radiomutiny.com along with 941freefm.com (presumably for WYSP Philadelphia, a rocker which has flirted with FM Talk in the past, which happened to lose its Program Director, Tim Sabean, to Stern’s Sirius Channels last week).
We’ve all hear the same names thrown about as part of Infinity’s plan to replace Stern. David Lee Roth, Adam Corrola, Mancow. And all of them will have a place on some of these stations. There’s also Jay Severin, the Long Island based host, who has been off the air at his flagship of WTKK Boston since the signing of a contract to enter syndication by Infinity in January. According to Northeast Radio Watch, WTKK claims they will not bring him back until they come to an agreement with Infinity to carry the new syndicated show.