Monday, February 27, 2006

schadenfreude, say it with me... "schadenfreude"

Excellent word for the day.

(from our friends at wikipedia) Schadenfreude is a German term meaning "pleasure taken from someone else's misfortune".

Today I experienced a super-sized, turbo-charged, Big Gulp of Schadenfreude.

It was barely three months ago when the word came down from on high, David Lee Roth, aka Diamond Dave, aka David "Weave" Roth was stepping out of his temp job as a NYC paramedic to assume the spot occupied for the past decade plus by Howard Stern, self-appointed King of All Media. (We all know that title genuinely belongs to Rupert Murdoch, but I digress.)

Stern, well past his heyday, decided to step away that which made him both rich and famous and venture into what he calls the "future of broadcasting" - satellite radio. No one should ever slam Howard for cashing in. After all, there is no maximum wage here in this great country, he is quite welcome to make as much money as he possibly can. God Bless him for doing so.

This entry is about the hideously stupid decision to cast David Lee Roth as the replacement for Howard. Granted he was only given access to a portion of Howard's empire, but that portion included the NYC radio station once known as "K-Rock" now called "Free FM."

What in the wild wild world of sports were the suits at CBS Radio thinking?

David Lee Roth? Once a huge star as a rock and roller singer for Van Halen. Never a broadcaster. A man about whom much has been speculated, but little is really known. Quite the opposite of Howard.

David Lee Roth? Unknown quantity. Untested. Inexperienced.

But that did not stop Infinity/CBS Radio from hiring him, purchasing hundreds of thousands of dollars in promotional support for him and giving him unfettered access to the millions of listeners who had developed a dependency for a product so strong that one expected a government warning to accompany it.

Many of us tuned in for week one and brushed off DLR's rough edges and discomfort to rough edges and discomfort.

Then came weeks 2,3,4 and 5... with little or no improvement. Just a tabloid truckload of rumours about how unhappy the staff is and how CBS Radio was already planning on making a change. If, as a listener, you made it into that February, I'm guessing you have "Poundcake", "Panama", and "Hot For Teacher" on your iPod.

Today came the very first proof of what we already knew. 2/27/06 was ratings day, judgment day, a day when you could probably hear Celine Dion singing that song from the giant sinking boat movie just outside the K-Rock/Free FM studios.

The radio ratings were published and (according to Diamond Dave is more like Cubic Zirconia Dave. Where Howard had a 7.9 rating, David Lee Roth came in with a first report card of a 1.7. There are other tales of even worse devastation in specific key demographics like the coveted 18-34 yr olds.

Oddly enough, just seven weeks into his first big radio gig, David Lee Roth started a weeklong vacation today.

For the sake of great radio, let's all hope CBS Radio has the smarts to make it a much longer, more permanent vacation.

And until they can find a suitable replacement, why not bring in Sammy Hagar... he knows how to follow Dave. And he certainly couldn't do any worse.


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