David Lee Roth discussed being fired by CBS Radio in 2006 in a new Joe Rogan Experience interview.
“You can’t win if they expect you to be the same thing. My ratings were going up — everything was zooming, man. We were booming. And what they wanted was a repeat of what Howard was doing, and I just refused to do that. I was untenable. I was playing black music in the background. I was bringing in guests that had nothing to do with rock and roll.
“What they [initially] said [to me] was ‘be yourself,’ but I think what they expected was a duplication of a hero,” he explained. “And I’m not a duplication… They expected that I was going to duplicate what would have come before, because it seems to be a tradition.
“When you put me in charge, it’s a lot closer to what we’re doing here. You know the term ‘waba-sabi’ — it means that which is a little roughed up at the edges.
“We were changing audience. I would play Bob Marley, and they would say, ‘You can’t play this. You have a rock and roll audience.’ And I’d go, ‘This is what rock and rollers listen to on vacation.’ And they’d go — serious quote — they would say, ‘No, no. We want you to play Nickelback.’ It was Nickelback and Skynyrd. And I said, ‘I have news for you: when Lynyrd Skynyrd goes to the Bahamas on vacation, they listen to Bob.’ [Laughs] Bob Marley is the sound of vacation to rock and rollers.
“I was playing background music throughout my talking. Like right now, I would be having music congruent in the background to what we would be discussing… And I’d have an intro from a Wilson Pickett tune, or I’d loop a musical intro from Kool & The Gang, or I’d loop the musical intro from some ‘Arabian Nights’ something or other. And, ‘No, no, no, no. This is classic rock. We wanna stay in the classic rock mode. We want to stay with classic rock-type guests on your program.'”
“You either love Roth or you hate him. I’m speaking in the third person. You’re either entertained or you really have no taste for me.
“I was not controllable. My subject matter was not controllable. And I was not afraid to upset people.”
CBS’ Rob Barnett ultimately fired Roth. He said, “The meltdown came day one or day two, when he got in the chair … and wouldn’t listen to anyone that was there to do only one thing… to help him.”