Last weekend, I googled the man I hired for the awesome little job called “replace Howard Stern.” I found an anonymous blog that smelled like something rotten was stinking up the kitchen at CBS: http://somedudefromjersey.blogspot.com/2007/12/shit-in-my-awesome-sandwich.html
Adam Carolla has a playbook filled with more options and winning strategies than any idiotic morning zoo or any hack program directors can ever hope to create. Danny Bonaduce was a desperate hail mary pass thrown by people too short-sited to see that it took Howard decades to build his radio empire. When Stern first syndicated, it took four years for him to lay waste to the competition. Adam was always first to say that Howard was irreplaceable. I couldn’t have agreed more. But when ‘the KING’ departed for a new throne, someone was left having to figure out how to start over. That someone was me.
I went home the night that I was given the ball and told my wife there was good news & bad news. The good news was that I was made President of CBS Radio programming. The bad news is that I had to figure out how to replace Howard. We’ll skip the long stories here about who the REAL choice was for NY & save all that for later. The ONLY choice for LA, and for the west coast Stern stations was the man who’d been on Howard’s show for scores of LIVE appearances – the man who rocked THE MAN SHOW with Brother Jimmy Kimmel – the man who made LOVELINE a latenight hit – the man with unique comic skills to improv and create immediate compelling content out of every scrap of raw material – the man who can build a house with his bare hands – and you get the drift: C-A-R-O-L-L-A.
We gave Adam a new start in a new format called FREE FM.
Our mission wasn’t complex. Hire BIG talent and give them the support and freedom they need to build better radio on their own terms. People are sick of over-formatted radio with too many commercial interuptions. No breaking news there. Talent is the only answer to better ratings and revenues. But old media doesn’t have a terrific track record backing talent. The current writers’ strike is front page news that tells the same story in Hollywood.
A great drama seems to be unfolding. Morning radio fans in LA, Vegas, San Francisco, Seattle, Sacramento, Reno, Fresno, Palm Springs, Portland (Oregon & Maine), Boise, and Pittsburgh wait to find out if Adam Carolla will be back on January 2nd.
I’ll lay down this bet with a song:
Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer’s gone, and all the flowers are dying
‘Tis you, ’tis you must go.