When Howard Stern announced his departure from terrestrial radio in late 2004, then-Infinity Broadcasting was left with a year to put together plans for replacements. In October, they announced a new initiative called Free-FM, branding all of its FM Talk stations under that name and included 4 different shows replacing Stern in various markets. Infinity also announced they would be flipping additional stations to the format including K-Rock in New York.
K-Rock, which was New York’s only source for current Rock music, had only earlier in the year refocused from Alternative to Mainstream Rock in an attempt to hold on to the audience leaving after Stern’s show ended each day. The new format was built in an attempt to keep the same audience all day.
On December 16th, 2005 following Howard Stern’s final show, the transition to Free-FM began with a preview montage leading into “Free Rock”, the broad Rock programming that will be featured on the weekends.
Finally, on January 3, 2006 at 6:00am the new 92.3 Free-FM debuted with the launch of The David Lee Roth Show, one of four syndicated programs brought by Infinity to replace Howard Stern. The complete inaugural line-up on Free-FM included:
- 6:00am – 10:00am – David Lee Roth
- 10:00am – 2:00pm – JV and Elvis (formerly known as The Doghouse on KYLD San Francisco)
- 2:00pm – 3:00pm – Penn Jillette
- 3:00pm – 7:00pm – The Radio Chick (Leslie Gold, formerly middays on WNEW and mornings on WAXQ)
- 7:00pm – 11:00pm – Booker (former afternoons on K-Rock and previously mornings on WNEW in its Blink incarnation)
- 11:00pm – 3:00am – Jake Fogelnest and Jackie Clarke
Related Changes: 92.3 Free-FM WFNY Reverts To K-Rock