If You’re Rover, Do You Worry Yet?

It seems that almost every move that CBS Radio makes these days, local wags are wondering if it spells doom for the effort to syndicate former WXRK/92.3-based morning chien Shane “Rover” French across much of the Midwest and beyond.

Consider these problems:

PROBLEM 1: CBS Radio, just this week, planted New York-based Opie & Anthony on new stations in Columbus, Detroit, Rochester and Washington DC. Three of those four markets directly impact Rover’s syndication.

In Columbus and Rochester, O&A get dropped into PM drive, with Rover airing morning drive on the FM stations in those two markets (WAZU/107.1 and WZNE/94.1, respectively).

In Detroit, O&A get an AM drive clearance on, of all things, an AM sports station! Rover’s on former Stern affiliate talk WKRK/97.1 “Free FM”.

How does this line up? For one, it could be guessed that CBS is holding O&A “in waiting” on all three stations, getting ready to displace Rover in morning drive.

We’re not reading too much into that in Columbus, in particular, where O&A’s afternoon drive placement mirrors their time slot on those stations in 2002 – much like here in Cleveland. But in Detroit – without an afternoon drive hole to put them on WXRK (a popular local show airs there – “Deminski and Doyle”), WXYT/1270 officials felt the need to blow up a local morning drive sports talk show for the XM/CBS pair.

There, it wouldn’t be difficult to move O&A from 1270 AM to 97.1 FM in morning drive.

PROBLEM 2: Many of Rover’s CBS Radio syndicated markets are on the list of markets the company wants to sell off. That includes not only Columbus and Rochester, but Memphis and Cincinnati. In fact, Chicago, Cleveland and Detroit are the only CBS Radio markets he’s on that are not being sold by CBS. (Emmis’ WPNT/105.7 St. Louis airs him as well.) And on that list, he’s only pretty much assured of good ratings out of…Cleveland, on WXRK.

A new, non-CBS owner may not be as patient with Rover and his ratings. (We haven’t heard yet how he’s doing on the Emmis St. Louis station known as “The Point”.)

PROBLEM 3: There are rumblings out of Los Angeles that CBS Radio is losing patience with the third major Howard Stern replacement, Adam Carolla. The former “Loveline” host is getting basically awful ratings in his home market, and the numbers we’ve seen bandied about from Rover in Chicago are not any better.

Industry scuttlebutt – reaching Inside Radio’s website earlier this week – is that CBS is giving Carolla’s show another month or two to hit its stride. We wouldn’t find it difficult to believe that Rover is getting the same feedback, at least in Chicago.

Like in the other markets, the rumor is that O&A would be considered as a replacement… in Los Angeles, presumably on the “Howard Stern” plan of a live airing at 3 AM PT, followed by an immediate “as live” repeat at 6 AM PT.

If Rover happens to read OMW, and wants some confidence, we advise him to look at his WXRK numbers even after the switch, which we’re told look really good. If nothing else, Cleveland would apparently welcome him back with open radio listener arms.

But most importantly to Mr. French – NONE of this has actually happened yet…aside from O&A’s placement on the Rover stations listed above…

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