Published October 10, 2005
The rumors were true.
I can tell you exclusively that sometime next month, Infinity Broadcasting will announce that David Lee Roth is taking over for Howard Stern.
The one-time lead singer of Van Halen will assume the microphone in New York and several other markets where Stern's radio show is heard.
Still not set is where Adam Carolla, former co-host of "The Man Show," will be in the lineup, but sources close to the action tell me that Roth and Carolla will not be together.
Roth is represented by the all-knowing, all-seeing Creative Artists Agency in Hollywood, so you know he has an ironclad contract.
The president of programming for Infinity Broadcasting, which owns Stern's show, said last winter that there wouldn't be one person replacing the notorious shock jock.
He was right. Roth and Carolla will divide up the territories so that no one person can regain Stern's monopoly of the airwaves. Carolla will likely have the West Coast.
Now comes the interesting part: So far, Roth has no on-air team assembled. He doesn't have a sidekick like Robin Quivers or any of the other necessary cast members to pull off a three- or four-hour comedy show. But I was assured that's all being finalized right now, and that by the time of the announcement, Roth will be ready.
Last July, there were rumors around concerning Roth replacing Stern when one of the regulars on Stern's show blabbed it in an online column.
According to Billboard, that same regular — Chaunce Hayden — was investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission because he'd been in Stern's studio on Oct. 6, 2004, the day Stern announced he was leaving his show to go to Sirius Satellite Radio.
What's not happening is any relinquishing by Stern of his powerful mount until the end of the year, and it's not only because Roth and Carolla don't have their acts ready.
Stern's contract doesn't run out until December, and Infinity isn't about to let him go early.
On the other hand, DirecTV — which, ironically, has a deal with Sirius' competitor, XM — should be offering Stern's show soon, if it isn't already.
And Stern already has a presence at Sirius, where he's launching a couple of "channels" under his own banner soon.
Don't expect it to be Stern all the time. He's too smart for that.
My guess is there will be lots of interesting, thought-provoking stuff, at a much cooler level than you might expect.
At Saturday night's party for Cynthia Lennon, I asked the guest of honor what she would say to her late former husband, John Lennon, on the occasion of his 65th birthday. We were about three hours away from midnight and his actual birthday.
"I would say I'm sorry he didn't make it," Cynthia said. "And I don't mean that in a flip way. I'm sorry he didn't get to see everything that happened because of him and to have enjoyed this part of this life. He would have had a great relationship with his sons."
Cynthia stayed off the subject of Yoko Ono and how the latter stalled for years before allowing Cynthia and John's son, Julian , to have any part of Lennon's estate.
Has she spoken to Ono in all these years? "Let's just say I don't know if she has my number."
Her book, "John," is informative without being bitter. Is it the last word on the Beatles ? Probably not.
But when I told her there were more books to come, she replied: "What's the point? Everything's been said now."
The party was hosted at Chris Noth and Steve Walter's Cutting Room on West 24th St. in Manhattan. The host, May Pang, was Lennon's girlfriend in the early '70s, while he was on hiatus from his marriage to Ono. That 18-month period is referred to as "The Lost Weekend."
Cynthia told me, "May is wonderful. She's the only one who was kind to Julian during that time."
Julian, who had hits with "Valotte" and "Too Late for Goodbye" in the late 1980s, is working on a new album, Cynthia said. "He's just like his father. The muse comes and goes."
Cynthia is remarried (her third husband) to a longtime friend her own age whom she actually met through Julian. The couple lives in sunny, warm Majorca, Spain, which is far from bleak, cold Liverpool.
She told me I should visit the Beatles' hometown, but warned that "two days is plenty, if you know what I mean."
I did ask her about those early, halcyon days of the Lennon-Paul McCartney partnership.
The way Ono likes to portray it — and certainly because John's last interviews were at a time when the wounds were still fresh — the two men never liked each other, or even wrote together.
"Not true," Cynthia said. "They were best friends. They were together all the time, all four of them. John and Paul wrote together or apart, then they brought their writing to each other."
"But we had to be together," she said, referring to Beatlemania circa 1964, "no one else would have understood what we were going through."
He's going to be 83 on Nov. 11, and Kurt Vonnegut is on a roll.
I've heard that he's been photographed and interviewed for the cover of Rolling Stone. The issue should appear in the next month.
As well, check out Tony Scott's lovely essay about our all-time favorite writer in yesterday's New York Times Book Review.
Vonnegut has a bestseller right now in "A Man Without a Country," a short book that collects his recent writings and speeches.
It's published by Seven Stories, a tiny outfit that literally begged Vonnegut to help it. The imprint would not survive if it didn't have a writer of his magnitude. He accepted, and now they're both on top.
And isn't this a propitious time for a Vonnegut renaissance? His novels "Slaughterhouse-Five" and "Cat's Cradle," as well as the brilliant "Mother Night," catapulted him to fame during the late '60s as an anti-war writer.
Vonnegut knows from the horrors: He survived the bombing of Dresden, Germany, as an American POW at the end of World War II, and it has informed his entire oeuvre . We need him now more than ever.
"Can I tell you the truth?" he writes in "A Man Without a Country."
"Here's what I think the truth is: we are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial. And like so many addicts about to face cold turkey, our leaders are now committing violent crimes to get what little is left of what we're hooked on."
The man everyone wanted to meet at Thursday night's T.J. Martell dinner for the dying record biz: Don MacKinnon. He's the guy who started Hear Music, which was later bought by Starbucks and brought into its coffee shops. They're the only ones selling CDs, and they're brilliant at it.
A couple of years ago, MacKinnon was so unknown that stories referred to him as "Tom" by mistake. No more. MacKinnon's newest hit: a CD produced by Joe Henry featuring new recordings by Ann Peebles, Mavis Staples, Billy Preston and Allen Toussaint.
"Believe to My Soul" is like an R&B orgasmic experience and better than any other new release. Bravo to MacKinnon and Rhino Records!
Sources tell me — to further confirm Cindy Adams' excellent scoop — that society widower Thomas Kempner will marry his longtime assistant Anne Bernard shortly.
Kempner's wife, famed socialite Nan Kempner, died July 3.
As I reported some 11 years ago in New York magazine, when Kempner had a long-term affair with Iris Sawyer in the 1980s, he used to sleep with her in his wife's bed while she was away. If this isn't a Jerry Springer show, I don't know what is.
I'm guessing it was a simple omission in Page Six yesterday that Katie Holmes firing her publicist was our lead story on Friday. It happens...