The top local morning-show ratings in the coveted 18-to-34 demographic will be up for grabs when Stern departs late this year. Unlike most of the 45 stations nationwide that air Stern's show, KPNT has yet to anoint a successor.
"It's just a wide-open gate right now," says Kyle Guderian, the station's marketing director. "We're considering anybody, everybody and everything that's available out there."
Make that anybody, everybody and everything except David Lee Roth. The former Van Halen frontman a newcomer to talk radio has already been announced as Stern's replacement in a number of markets on the east coast.
"My honest opinion on David Lee Roth is it's a big unknown," says KPNT program director Tommy Mattern. "I don't think we have great faith that it's gonna be an exciting, compelling show."
His first choice, Mattern says, would have been comedian Adam Carolla, whose new radio show seems to be the consensus choice to replace Stern in west-coast markets.
"He did a great job with Loveline, that we air here at the Point. He's a celebrity, he fits the demo. If you look at his show The Man Show that pretty much appeals to 18-to-34 men and adults, and that's our primary focus."
The problem is that he'll broadcast from Los Angeles, two hours behind St. Louis time. "He wouldn't start until 8 a.m. our time, and we wouldn't want to replay his show the next day," Guderian explains.
Mattern says the station is considering local talent. He won't name names, other than to narrow down the roster to "people that have been on the air [in St. Louis] before." A syndicated out-of-town possibility is Rover's Morning Glory, which originates in Cleveland and which achieved national press last year when one of its regulars stuck his tongue in a bug zapper.
Will Stern's replacement bring in Stern-like cash?
"Maybe," says Mattern. "It's kind of a Catch-22 with Howard: There's obviously a lot of clients that won't advertise with him because they believe his content is too edgy, like McDonald's. When he signs off, we'll probably recoup a lot of those dollars. So I think it kind of washes out."