NEW YORK – Fans of the booted Opie and Anthony radio show were flooding the Internet over the weekend with speculation that their afternoon heroes may soon be back on the air -- to face off against ratings leader Howard Stern in the morning.
Supporters of the degenerate duo, fired by WNEW-FM for airing a bit in which two of their fans had sex in St. Patrick's Cathedral, say they believe Opie and Anthony are talking with radio giant Clear Channel.
Clear Channel owns New York's classic-rock station Q104, which recently went the shock-jock route by hiring raunchy "Radio Chick" Leslie Gold for its morning drive-time slot.
While Gold has added listeners to the station, Opie and Anthony, who were WNEW's top ratings grabbers, could further boost Q104's numbers and become a threat to Stern's dominance.
Calls to Opie and Anthony, whose real names are Gregg "Opie" Hughes and Anthony Cumia, and calls to Clear Channel and Q104 were not returned last night.
But chat rooms on Opie and Anthony Web sites were burning up with speculation that a major new deal for the pair, probably with Clear Channel, is imminent.
Clear Channel already has a relationship with the team: It is sponsoring an Opie and Anthony comedy concert featuring stand-up Jim Norton in Westbury, L.I., next month.
Meanwhile, the trash-talking team's producer Paul Mercurio, who was arrested as he gave a play-by-play description of the St. Patrick's sex romp, bashed the Roman Catholic Church during a nightclub comedy appearance on Saturday.
He told a cheering crowd at the Supper Club in Times Square that the church had no reason to be mad at him in light of the numerous sex scandals involving pedophile priests and young boys.