Shock jocks Opie and Anthony are returning to the airwaves.
The irreverent radio duo, yanked off the air in August 2002 after broadcasting a live account of a couple having sex inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan, announced Thursday that they would join XM Satellite Radio beginning Oct. 4.
The big difference: On XM, Greg “Opie” Hughes and Anthony Cumia will operate free of the Federal Communications Commission restrictions that forced their ouster from WNEW-FM and the loss of their syndicated radio program. Their show will air weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., opposite fellow shock jock Howard Stern.
“XM is the future of radio as we know it,” Cumia said, comparing XM and satellite radio to HBO and cable television. “It is the perfect platform for us to entertain our radio fans.”
The pair were dumped by Infinity Broadcasting following the St. Patrick’s stunt, and a clause in their contract kept them off the air — until now. Their new deal was announced at a Manhattan news conference.
Fans of O&A will pay a little bit extra to hear their often crude antics. Besides XM’s monthly fee of $9.99, Opie and Anthony will appear on a premium channel that costs an extra $1.99 per month.
The duo’s downfall came nearly two years ago, during a regular feature on their show in which couples could earn points and win trips for having sex in risky places. A Virginia couple tried to cash in by having sex in a vestibule just a few feet from worshippers at St. Patrick’s.
The shock jocks broadcast a live play-by-play account of the action, which ended when police arrested the lovers on charges of public lewdness.
The Catholic League, a 350,000-member Catholic group, pushed for revocation of WNEW-FM’s broadcast license. The FCC, flooded with hundreds of complaints about the show, imposed a $357,000 fine against Infinity Broadcasting for the stunt.
Until their show was yanked, Opie and Anthony were syndicated in 17 markets outside New York City, including Cleveland, Dallas, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Washington.
The New York firing was their second. The pair were canned in 1998 by a Massachusetts station after announcing on April Fool’s Day that Boston Mayor Thomas Menino was killed in a car crash.