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AG News: 1/5/2006

David Lee Roth: Gloomsday In Disguise

You can read what New York Newspapers are saying about David Lee Roth taking over for Howard Stern at any of the radio industry trades. But, you'll only find noted radio consultant John Gorman's take on this "new show" here.

In true objective journalism, I really wanted to be proven wrong about my advance comments on Roth. Wishful thinking.

He opened his show with a pre-recorded sultry sounding female speaking in Spanish and English, saying, "Welcome to David Lee Roth. Prepare to feel filthy, ashamed and completely alive." Following the introduction, he introduced himself and said, “Where do you start out a gig like this?" That led to a puerile discussion with his unidentified sidekicks on the best food to eat for a hangover.

He acknowledged his predecessor by saying, "Howard Stern has gone off into the front edge of American culture," whatever that meant. Later in the show, Roth “invited” Howard to be a regular caller to his show so they could talk about Tom Chiusano, the GM that was a constant thorn in Stern’s side. I doubt Howard will take him up on the offer and I’ll bet Roth feels the same way, too. Either that or he has a serious problem of believing his own hype.

The show hit rock bottom shortly after 8AM when Roth introduced his uncle, Manny Roth, who spent the rest of the show talking about his military duty and running a Greenwich Village folk club in the early ‘60s. It was a boring, almost two-hour interview, especially when you realized that Uncle Manny was more interesting than David Lee.

He also bragged about being able to fly a helicopter (twice) and his emergency medical technician (though I doubt he’ll resuscitate CBS Radio with this show). Here’s the problem. What he can’t master is radio. This wasn’t the flamboyant Diamond Dave of his Van Halen days. What we heard was an ego-deflated has-been rock star who came across like he was on a triple dose prescription of Lexapro.

Even I expected a little of that raw energy and testosterone-charged power that David Lee Roth has been able to summon up on occasion to remind us all that he used to be that epitome of a rock star. Instead, we got a mellowed 51-year old that alluded to his best days being behind him and saying not one word about his future. I doubt there’s any classic rock aficionado interested in living vicariously through David Lee Roth these days. Considering the advance hype and expectation he built up about replacing Howard Stern, was this the best he could do? This show gives flops a bad name. What's the difference between a robber and a David Lee Roth radio salesperson? The robber has the decency to wear a mask when stealing your money.

Memo to Joel Hollander: Did you not get the fact that David Lee Roth can’t make another first impression? Consider that Roth topped the short list of CBS Radio’s choice of post-Stern candidates, which included Jon Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg and Geraldo Rivera. Two questions for Mr. Hollander: When will the blame game begin and do you feel like Hyman Roth in The Godfather II when he said, "This is the business we have chosen?" Please note that to my knowledge Hyman Roth, is not another one of Roth’s family members. I think every one of them already called his first show.

One fact is certain. Roth inadvertently sold a lot of Sirius satellite radio units on his first day.

email John Gorman

From: Anonymous

Thank you for this article. I totally agree, its painful to even listen to that show for a few minutes. We need to start an over/under pool, I'm saying a week after the first ratings book comes out.

From: Akvile

Roth is not a radio star; for the fans of his Van Halen days, we just want to hear the stories.

From: Jerry Price

John Gorman is a Roth-hater who claims Roth was fired from VH for a 10 year older Hagar. The fact is Roth quit, sold 40 million to Sammy's 20 million and people like Gorman are just Hagar fans in disguise. And only an idiot judges someone by their first day/week.

From: C.J.

This just proves what I've always known - that corporate radio suits know absolutely NOTHING about what is entertaining programming. Roth has absolutely no radio experience, no comedic ability and the personality of a used-car salesman. Yet, the geniuses at CBS radio turned over the most-coveted radio spot in the country to this babbling, snake-oil salesman.

From: Daron Lumpkins

I don't thank your giving roth a chance to prove himself. Give him at least by the end of the month. So far I like the show, remember he's not howard, he's roth. Be cool!

From: Craig M. (Boston)

I really liked listening to David and found his stories to be intersting. If you don't like it, change the channel. He tells it like it is and doesn't sugar coat it and also doesn't even try annd want to replace Howard Stern. The show is getting better day to day.

From: Gerome Catalino

I enjoyed David Lee Roth on the radio. I felt like he had something to say. He was energetic and interesting. It kept me listening. Van Halen without him is like the Doors without Jim Morrison.

From: Candace New York

Ok, I've given it a week and it's still bad. No, he's not Howard, and that's OK. But he is simply awful. Yeesh. And PLEASE - no more interviews with Uncle Manny or with anyone who has been to 1,000 bars in a year. It's a train wreck.

From: Kristine New York

I like His show. I think he comes across as a wealthy older womanizer rock star. I love his stories and take on things. Hes funny and entertaining.

From: Dan Freeman New York

David Lee Roth's second guest, Dan Freeman, AKA Bar Man, was, however great. This is a biased comment as I am Dan Freeman.

From: NickD

If you're a noted "radio consultant, than you must be a complete hack to judge a show and proclaim it "Gloomsday" merely based on listening to the first day. The Stern show was also beset by technical glitches and marred by the redundant typical time-killer "bit" humor that has been the trade mark of the Stern show for the past 10 years...But being an apparant sycophant, I think you'd ignore that...

From: Greg, Philadelphia

I don't know why people in Philadelphia (like me) are getting David Lee Roth rammed up they're ass. He's not good enough to be in New York, let alone 6 other cities. Let him start out in Nebraska or something first. His show is awful.

From: Chris K., New York, NY

Great article, and dead on. David Lee Roth is incredibly boring. I listened the first day just to give him a chance...but it completely lacked any substance. Why would I ever bother with him again.

From: John C, New York, NY

Great article, and dead on. The show is a great listen and Roth listens to the callers. Give it a chance.

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