UPDATE: 5:30 PM 4/20/06 - An Associated Press article on this quotes two unnamed sources "with knowledge of the deal", and says there will be an "official announcement" next week, assuming all the I's get dotted and T's get crossed. It says that CBS Radio's WNCX/98.5 - David Lee Roth's local outlet - will be among the stations airing Opie & Anthony.
Well, we take that back - the Akron Beacon Journal's local edit of the AP story says it'll be "WCNX" carrying the show. Arrgh. Don't get us started about newspapers' inaccuracy about radio...
Our original report is below...
It's not been confirmed yet, but it's being reported all over the place as nearly a fait accompli - former CBS Radio bad boy duo Opie and Anthony are set to return to the terrestrial airwaves, taking over for the faltering David Lee Roth "within weeks", according to several reports today in trade publications and papers as diverse as the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal.
Billboard Radio Monitor reports that O&A would indeed take over for Roth in all of his seven markets, which would mean their return to the Cleveland airwaves...this time, via current Roth and former Stern affiliate WNCX/98.5, CBS Radio's Cleveland classic rocker.
According to the Billboard report, the new arrangement would actually keep them on XM Satellite Radio. The show would actually air for three hours on the CBS over-air stations, and that part would be simulcast on XM. The pair apparently intends on then going to XM's studios in Manhattan (about a block away from the CBS studios) and will continue on the satellite service alone each day after the CBS-originated show.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the three hour CBS part of the show will be somewhat cleaner over-air, though the reports say XM would simulcast it uncensored.
A deal has apparently not yet been signed officially, but is considered likely.
You'd have to imagine that WNCX management is thrilled with the idea. Not only has Roth done badly, but O&A racked up pretty impressive ratings in their brief stint on then-WXTM/92.3 in afternoon drive. We haven't seen the exact numbers, but depending on who you believe O&A at very least gave highly rated WTAM afternoon motormouth Mike Trivisonno a run for his money...if not beating him in some young demos. Even if they don't duplicate that performance up against icons like WMJI's John Lanigan (who would presumably not skew as quiet as young), it'd have to be better than whatever Roth is managing to attract.
No word on if their new contract includes a clause keeping them away from churches...