Say what you want about the wisdom (or lack thereof) of placing David Lee Roth in the Howard Stern slot on many stations in the East – but recognize something that might have slipped your attention:
Radio is getting more publicity, thanks to the Stern replacements – and David Lee Roth in particular, than it has had from any other source than Howard Stern. Yes, I know, not all publicity is good, but the fact that listeners – and media outlets – are talking about radio is an indication that our medium can generate incredible attention and interest in the entertainment universe.
There’s more buzz about David Lee Roth than about JACK. More than about HD radio. There is, in other words, more buzz about celebrity content than about music content or distribution channels.
In the long run, it doesn’t matter if Roth succeeds or not. It matters if the larger experiment succeeds – and it will. That larger experiment is hiring talented celebrity voices and placing them on a regional or national radio platform (After all, if you didn’t know who David Lee Roth was, there would be no story).
What the Roth case tells me, more than anything, is that you can get a rise out of your audience if you take a chance.
And in a world where attention is the first step to listenership, that says a lot.