EXCLUSIVE: Tom Leykis Finalizing His Talk Radio Return

Tom Leykis fans have April 2, 2012 clearly marked on their calendars. On that Monday, Leykis–having happily and dutifully fulfilled a guaranteed five-year CBS Radio contract—will launch a new weekday radio talk show, a little more than three years since he was faded out at flagship KLSX 97.1 FM.

“The question we’re in the process of trying to actively answer right now,” Leykis explains to FishbowlLA via telephone, “is whether the program will originate as a radio show at a traditional brick-and-mortar station, or whether we will actually do something which to my knowledge has never been done on a large scale… We would produce the call-in show live on the Internet, and then make it available secondarily as a syndicated radio show. In which case [my company] The New Normal Network would be the syndicator.”

“I own all the [old show] intellectual property, and much of it is service-marked, everything from “Flash Friday” to “Leykis 101” to even my name,” he continues. “This is not like when David Letterman left NBC all those years ago… I own them all, and when my contract expires with CBS, I will have the freedom to do them all.”

Leykis says the amount of tried-and-true content to be resurrected will depend on a number of factors, including whether or not he is partnered with a radio station that has specific demographic needs. The new program will be either three or four hours long and will be taped at twin studio facilities in Los Angeles and near his ranch in the Santa Ynez mountains. He says searches are currently underway for both locations.

Leykis never really went away after departing 97.1 FM Talk along with Frosty, Heidi, Frank and the rest. He has continued to syndicate and podcast his weekly epicurean program “The Tasting Room” and also produces four New Normal podcasts, including one–“The Gary & Dino Show”–that showcases his former KLSX partners in crime Gary Zabransky and Dean DeMilio.

Leykis says one of the things that fascinates him most about Internet broadcasting is how much more accurate audience tracking is than extrapolated Arbitron estimates. “The Tasting Room” podcast for example currently gets approximately 5,000 downloads per month, and with it and other spoken word or New Normal musical content, he can determine exactly where people are listening from, for how long, and more.

“I have direct access to the potential listener, without having to depend on a radio station to run a TV commercial or bus-side billboard,” he notes. “I may have a radio partner next spring, but right now, thousands and thousands of people have written to us that they know about April 2, 2012 and will be tuning in.”

Ultimately, Leykis says The New Normal Network has taught him what is now possible. At one point, one of his musical streams had garnered 102,000 listeners, more than some twenty terrestrial LA and Orange County stations. “We could potentially have a bigger cumulative audience on the Internet than we had on the radio,” he marvels.

[To follow Tom on Twitter, click here]