NY Newsday O&A article

More Raunch to Launch WNEW duo to hit top nine radio outlets By Peter Goodman STAFF WRITER Three years after driving away the devoted audience of classic rocker WNEW/102.7 FM, introducing the concept of "Whip 'em Out Wednesday" to New York and turning the whole station into their brand of raunch, the radio team of Opie and Anthony is about to burst onto the national stage.

After weeks of speculation and rumor, Long Islanders Gregg "Opie" Hughes and Anthony Cumia have reached agreement on a new three-year contract that will put them in nine of the top 10 markets in the country (all but Houston) and 22 of the top 50, according to officials at the station and parent Infinity Broadcasting.

"I don't know that anyone has ever launched a four-hour show on that many stations in that many markets," general manager Ken Stevens said yesterday.

"It's testimony to how hot they are." Opie and Anthony ranked No. 2 among the prized listeners aged 25-54 in last winter's Arbitron ratings, while WNEW as a whole languished at No. 18. More important for the station, they were No. 1 among male listeners, the prime target.

"We feel great," Hughes said yesterday. "Finally someone listened to us. We got everything we wanted." That includes the right to talk about Howard Stern, who rules the mornings from sister station alternative K-Rock (WXRK/92.3 FM). Supposedly riled by some of their antics, Stern had allegedly demanded that no one on any Infinity station could mention his name.

"We're back to being able to talk about whatever the heck we want to talk about," Hughes said.

Although the official announcement will be made today, the pair will not be heard on all the stations immediately. On most East Coast stations they will be live (3-7 p.m.), Infinity officials said, and on the West Coast they will be on tape.