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More on Howard Stern
March 25, 2004 10:46 AM   Subscribe

There is no room for a left-wing Rush Limbaugh on the radio. "Do you think Karl Rove might have made a phone call to little General Powell, little Michael and said, 'Let's get this over with. Let's give him the fine and get this done with before Stern gets us all voted out of office,'" the National Enquirer’s Mike Walker asked Stern. "First of all, I know that for a fact," Stern answered. "I can't even tell you how, just like you can't reveal your sources. I have two sources inside the FCC. They know exactly what is going on. They had a meeting two weeks ago, freaking out. I seem to be making enough noise that people are realizing we could hurt George W. Bush in the elections. So they are trying to figure out at what point do they fine me. So, you are absolutely right."
posted by skallas (42 comments total)

 
You know you have problems when the National Enquirer is doing journalism the mainstream is too afraid to do.
posted by skallas at 10:47 AM on March 25, 2004


Stern is an ass. He never had anything political to say until it turned out no one gave a shit if he got fired, so now he's trying to paint himself as some great anti-Bush crusader rather than a sixth-grade class clown who relies on fart jokes and bare tits to make a buck. The fewer people of his ilk on the public airwaves, the better.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:56 AM on March 25, 2004


Stern can't do shit. He's bullshitting like always has done, going for shock value. Next.
posted by angry modem at 11:02 AM on March 25, 2004


Yeah, I certainly didn't care if he got fired until I heard he's on this whole anti-Bush crusade... I could care less if he's genuine about it, because he's reaching people. That's what's important.
posted by banished at 11:03 AM on March 25, 2004


The fewer people of his ilk on the public airwaves, the better.

Wouldn't it be great if the market was allowed to make that decision?
posted by vito90 at 11:05 AM on March 25, 2004


There is no room for a left-wing Rush Limbaugh on the radio.

There was a front page cover story in the NYT Magazine last week about the new liberal talk radio station (well, ok, it was mostly about Al Franken, but still)
posted by gwint at 11:14 AM on March 25, 2004


Yeah, I certainly didn't care if he got fired until I heard he's on this whole anti-Bush crusade... I could care less if he's genuine about it, because he's reaching people. That's what's important.

Hey everybody, let's hear it for partisan idiocy in politics!
posted by angry modem at 11:14 AM on March 25, 2004


gwint beat me to it. Mark Walshs Progress media sounds like it'll be quite good. He chatted about it on the ad show march 6, you can download old shows from the archives. (windows media)
posted by dabitch at 11:21 AM on March 25, 2004


The fewer people of his ilk on the public airwaves, the better.

Rush Limbaugh would be the ilk I oppose on the public airwaves.
posted by SweetIceT at 11:29 AM on March 25, 2004


howard stern is an amazing radio broadcaster and there is more wisdom and genius in his show every day, more real humanity, then most entertainment people do in a year.

He never had anything political to say until it turned out no one gave a shit if he got fired

A. He's always been political, the continuing problem he's had in his life is being allowed to say rude things on the radio. He has been explicitly pro-freedom from day 1, taking on politicians who want to shut down his antics.

B. I think his millions of listeners do care, passionately.

a sixth-grade class clown who relies on fart jokes and bare tits to make a buck. The fewer people of his ilk on the public airwaves, the better.

This is pretty funny coming from someone whose website sidebar looks like this:


Metafilter
Fark
Everlasting Blort
Dong Resin
Cockeyed Absurdist
Piss Resort
Dave Barry

Send Me Pics Of Your Boobs
Click Here
posted by chaz at 11:29 AM on March 25, 2004


I've never purposely listened to Stern any more than I've purposely watched Jerry Springer. I find both shows deplorable but if the market wants it then the FCC should stay out of the way. I know the government has a desire to roll us back to an idealized set of 1950's standards but that isn't the governments job.
posted by substrate at 11:35 AM on March 25, 2004


Hey everybody, let's hear it for partisan idiocy in politics!

Right. Which means you and your ilk hypocritically jumping on whoever this one Stern guy is, all while winking at a vast network of radio stations cozied so far up AWOL's ass they can play volleyball with his uvula. Read the article. Cries of "indecency" and "shock value" ring out against Stern, while right wing Oxycontin addicts and their clones spew hate-filled lies and fan outright racism, strangely tolerated by Our Savior in Decency heading up the FCC, Mr. NipplePhobe hisself -- Colin Powell's wittle man.

Partisan idiocy, indeed.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:37 AM on March 25, 2004


Look, chaz knows how to work a link!

*cheers*
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:38 AM on March 25, 2004


Hey, chaz can put two and two together and make a cogent point, more like.

And "this Stern guy" that suddenly every Republican has disavowed knowledge of does seem to be reaching a lot of registered voters with his sixth-grade fart jokes, isn't he.

I don't listen to him, but I respect the fact that millions do, and are way more hardcore than the fickle followers of any other pundit on the airwaves, Rush included.

Agree with it or not, you ignore that level of devotion at your peril.
posted by chicobangs at 11:45 AM on March 25, 2004


if he knew how to work a link he'd have linked Everlasting Blort. clearly a dorkut member candidate.
posted by quonsar at 11:47 AM on March 25, 2004


mr_crash_davis: Perhaps you should think about WHY he "got fired" rather than the fact that he isn't on the air (in those markets) anymore. You can take objection to that without liking Howard Stern, right?
posted by callmejay at 11:48 AM on March 25, 2004


um, should have been dorkut member.

note to self: snark not the linkage ingnorant while demonstrating same
posted by quonsar at 11:50 AM on March 25, 2004


What I've yet to hear explained is, how is fining Stern going to make him go away, or at least stop being critical of Bush? Seems pretty far-fetched to me. Short of yanking stations' licenses to broadcast, the FCC can't make any station stop carrying the Stern show, and even if Clear Channel isn't standing behind him, Inifinity Broadcasting is. (They know which side their bread is buttered on.) This article seems to be making much ado out of a little ado. Even if CC did dump Stern either because of political pressure, or because the bosses didn't like the anti-Bush tone he was taking, if there really is any great desire for his show in the six markets he was dropped from, I'm sure there are struggling stations in those markets that will pick him up. Doesn't seem like a good way to shut him up.
posted by deadcowdan at 11:53 AM on March 25, 2004


Howard Stern has never hesitated to make political statements on his radio show, though unlike the dittoheads, Stern's fans do not consider him to be a real political commentator. People liked him because he was entertaining, not because he said things that listeners necessarily agreed with. People get very, very irritated when a media personality is taken off the air, when all they wanted to be was entertained, and they don't like the implication that there were political reasons behind it... in an era of Michael Powell as FCC head and in a white house that lacks a policy arm, it's quite believable that what Stern is saying is true.
posted by deanc at 11:58 AM on March 25, 2004


As long as a preacher has a congregation, he has a home. That's capitalism, baby.

If Stern wants to stop talking about strippers and people pooing on each other for a few weeks, and his listeners are willing to keep listening, then there is no argument. He'll always have a place to broadcast.

Stern is how he is, and though he might lose some listeners who only want to hear about handicapped people and ass-shaving and Pamela Anderson's newest boyfriend, as long as he has a market to preach to, he'll be allowed to keep at it, no matter how badly CC and the GOP may not want him to become politicized.
posted by chicobangs at 12:04 PM on March 25, 2004


Not fer nothin', but Al Franken is the guest on The Daily Show tonight. Perhaps this will be brought up.
posted by tittergrrl at 12:22 PM on March 25, 2004


chico: As long as a preacher has a congregation, he has a home. That's capitalism, baby.

No that's not capitalism when you're paying 3 million a day to regulators (the proposed maximum if this bill passes) just to do a fucking radio show.

The politics here are pretty obvious and Stern is an easy target. Once they get Stern this liberal talk radio will be easy pickings.
posted by skallas at 12:34 PM on March 25, 2004


how is fining Stern going to make him go away

$3 million a day in fines is going to cut into most station's ad revenues.
posted by yerfatma at 12:40 PM on March 25, 2004


If Stern wants to stop talking about strippers and people pooing on each other for a few weeks, and his listeners are willing to keep listening, then there is no argument. He'll always have a place to broadcast.

Chicobangs - what you're saying then, is, as long as he doesn't mind being censored, he's cool? Let me remind you of an amendment that the President and his cronies seem to be fond of ignoring:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

If Al Franken has any guts (or brains, frankly) he'll come out in support of Stern.

The lawyers at the FCC have an easy distinction between Stern and Oprah, incidentally - different mediums.

Here's hoping Stern wins.

I am a Stern listener. Not a big fan of his fart jokes, but I like a lot of his bits. The fact that his fines coincided with his decision to criticize Republicans smacks of exactly the sort of repressive government interference that is anathema to the US, or is supposed to be.

It is with a heavy heart that I will vote for KerryMunster, since I can't stand so much of his platform, but Bush has got to go.
posted by swerdloff at 12:54 PM on March 25, 2004


The problem is, the FCC selectively enforces vague regulations. And they do this sporadically. NBC will not fined for Bono's saying "fuck" even though the FCC declared it to be indecent; meanwhile, the Howard Stern show faces a potential seven-figure fine for broadcasting indecency. Oprah ran a show where they explained and discussed the sexual meaning of the term "tossed salad" at 3pm; yet, if Howard ran the same discussion, the FCC would fine him again. Seems like selective enforcement to me.

What's especially troubling is that the system is designed so that you'll never get your day in court should the FCC decided to focus its gaze on you. While stations file their appeals, the FCC can decline to renew the station's license -- causing them to go off the air. There's no remedy for this. There are a fixed number of stations on the dial, if you lose your spot while you're appealing your case, you're sh*t out of luck (don't want to get fined for this). There's only room for one Morning Zoo on Z-100.

Or, they can refuse to allow your network of stations to purchase more stations so long as you have an outstanding fine. This happened to Viacomm/Infinity with regards to Stern's show years ago. At the time, it was cheaper to pay the fine (20-some thousand bucks) than to lose out on the income generated by the new stations the company had hoped to purchase.
posted by herc at 12:58 PM on March 25, 2004


If Stern really wanted to protest, he could go on conducting his show exactly as he has been, obscenity and all, but substituting the words "Bush", "Cheney", "Ashcroft" and "Condoleeza" for the actual profane terms. It wouldn't take much imagination to make it at least as effective and frankly far more obscene than ever and the FCC wouldn't be able to do a thing to him.

(I initially misposted this comment to the Kuro5hin thread, somehow.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:01 PM on March 25, 2004


The lawyers at the FCC have an easy distinction between Stern and Oprah, incidentally - different mediums.

How could you argue that the higher-rated program on the more pervasive medium should be subject to *less* regulatory scrutiny than the lower-rated program on medium used by a smaller percentage of citizens? There are more television viewers than FM-radio listeners. I dare say that in most markets the Oprah show has more viewers than the entire FM radio dial has listeners.
posted by herc at 1:04 PM on March 25, 2004


An aside for the people who just can't seem to handle the existence of Howard Stern :
He's been a ratings winner for 20 something years in the highly educated, well paid demographic of the radio market. Consider that there may just possibly be more to the show than the strippers and sexist window-dressing that vex you so. To dismiss it so violently like you do reveals that either you have never really listened to the show you're so opposed to, or are too dim to grasp the tongue in cheek complexities of a simple morning radio show, neither of which make you look very smart.

Ira Glass says something similar, as well as admits to listening to the show himself in the opening of a recent This American Life, and I was very glad to hear it.
posted by dong_resin at 1:23 PM on March 25, 2004


It would surprise me greatly if Al Franken didn't support Stern tonight on The Daily SHow, since Stern has become such a big supporter of him. Stern read Franken's latest book over his most recent vacation, and has been raving about it ever since. In fact, most of the evidence he uses to back up his arguments are from Franken's book. Hopefully this will lead to a large listenership of his new radio show. (Personally, I can't wait for next Wednesday.)
posted by emptybowl at 1:31 PM on March 25, 2004


Herc - I didn't say it was a good argument, just an argument.
posted by swerdloff at 2:04 PM on March 25, 2004


I'm not sure if it was Howard's hype or reality, but supposedly the election of George Pataki, governor of New York, was due to Howard's endorsement.

I'm not a fan of Howard (and even less of one when he was banging the drum for war in Iraq), but chicobangs is astutely correct. There are plenty of people who are fans, and because of him, the man can't be ignored.
posted by crunchland at 2:41 PM on March 25, 2004


Could there be anything more politically tone deaf than this attack on Stern? Howard Stern is a rich guy. If he was concerned about self interest and tax cuts and other things rich guys like, he would be pro-Bush or at least silent on the subject, cause why should he alienate half his audience? Even if they knock him off regular radio, he's a star and he'll have a megaphone.
posted by Slagman at 3:04 PM on March 25, 2004


and dont forget The Kids... the reason we have all these restrictions on the so called public airwaves (so as to "protect" them from the dirty words and sexual conversations).

the reason Oprah should be fined severely for telling America about rainbow parties and tossed salads is because she comes on tv at 3pm or 4pm, precisely when the kids are home from school ALONE.

meanwhile Howard is on in the morning when the parents are usually at home or driving the kids to school.

even if kids are listening to the radio in the morning, odds are they have some Top 40 crap on which is far more dangerous to them than Howard talking about farts (recently he has been talking about the FCC and George Bush, etc. hardly titilating to a youngster).

Oprah, however, is a more likely show for today's youth to click onto. Therefore she should be punished when she crosses the boundaries about talking about sexual and excratory activities.

Or they, the FCC, should just say, f that, we just want Howard's ass to remain in a sling.
posted by tsarfan at 3:05 PM on March 25, 2004


I don't have an opinion on whats currently going on, but I heard him talking about George W. Bush more than a year ago. Maybe hes hyping this up, either way its textbook howard stern.
posted by Keyser Soze at 4:04 PM on March 25, 2004


he got fired
The above has been mentioned a couple times. Stern said they cancelled his contracts which has happened before. He said they will pay unfortunately for him he will have to use the courts.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:27 PM on March 25, 2004


The fact that Oprah can have a nice TV Rating in the corner of the screen after x number of commercial breaks excuses her behavior and avoids the fines? I applaud the moral conservatives for forcing TV ratings on the producers. It has ever so expanded my options for crass and questionable programming. Please do it for radio too.

If local communities actually had a say in what their local stations carried this would be a moot point. Since the communities could determine decency and revoke licenses and all. But that is not how Uncle sam works.
posted by infowar at 6:57 PM on March 25, 2004


No that's not capitalism when you're paying 3 million a day to regulators (the proposed maximum if this bill passes) just to do a fucking radio show.

Well first of all, it won't be 3 million a day. No way are they going to pass regulation that was that harsh. It would literally kill radio as we know it, and certainly alienate what would immediately become "the Stern vote." You think those people could deliver Kerry? Effin' right they would. It wouldn't be even close, and with the brutally partisan atmosphere in Washington, everyone involved in this decision would be out of a job inside of a year.

Not that killing the radio industry as we know it would necessarily be a bad thing.

Secondly, if you make more from what you're doing than what you're ultimately fined for doing it, the fines become a business expense. Stern has factored fines into his business model for decades, and though the game may be changing, that part of his plan won't.


what you're saying then, is, as long as he doesn't mind being censored, he's cool?

Actually, swerdloff, I said (or at least meant) quite the opposite. Especially for Stern, not-being-censored (or at least walking that line closer than anyone) is his stock in trade.

If he winds up being forced out of radio for this, the world is worse for his absence. My only point was that as long as he doesn't alienate his huge and devoted audience, someone will figure out a way to keep him on the air and turn a profit from him (and them), whether he's talking about boobs, bestiality or broadcast law.

That's capitalism.
posted by chicobangs at 7:09 PM on March 25, 2004


Hell, even Bill O'Reilly, of all people, is defending Howard Stern.


Stern is indignant about the situation, and has even accused me of some kind of duplicity I don't quite understand. Now I'm on the record as saying that Howard Stern's direct style and no B.S. approach made it possible for me to do what I do. But I've also told him face to face he often goes over the line and doesn't have to. He's plenty smart enough to put on an entertaining program without grossing everybody out.

Personally, I could not care less what Howard does on his program. That's up to him. He's not a gangster rapper encouraging people to sell and use narcotics and commit violence.

Stern is simply a comedian who traffics in sex and bodily functions. But the government has a right to set standards and enforce them over the public airwaves. That's not a violation of anybody's freedom of speech.

However, the government must define what is acceptable and what is not. Holding Stern and others accountable for what they've gotten away with for years is not fair.

Summing up, Talking Points supports fining broadcasters who abuse the public, but the rules must be clear. Otherwise, it's a selective prosecution. And that's not what this country is all about.


And now it looks like Stern is following O'Reilly's advice. Heh.
posted by calwatch at 10:08 PM on March 25, 2004


Ira Glass says something similar, as well as admits to listening to the show himself in the opening of a recent This American Life, and I was very glad to hear it.

I was glad to hear it, too. And, boy, if swerdloff has abandoned the Dark Side over this, then we are so living in an ancient Chinese curse.
posted by y2karl at 10:23 PM on March 25, 2004


y2karl, check out this piece at salon.com. I've also run into a couple Reagan-loving cons who have serious doubts about voting Bush this year. It just puts a smile on my face. There's hope and sanity in homo sapiens afterall.
It's a quandary afflicting many moderate Republicans, who feel alienated by their party's rightward lurch and economic irresponsibility, and who fear that another four years of Bush will consolidate the power of the party's most hard-line conservative elements. Even as moderate Republicans make gains in liberal states like New York and California, they're feeling squeezed by their own party. Elements of the Republican right have declared jihad on the values party moderates hold dear, and though the White House claims to embrace all Republican factions, for most moderates there's little doubt where its loyalties lie.
posted by skallas at 11:27 PM on March 25, 2004


Oh, and there's a new Republicans for Kerry group.
posted by skallas at 12:02 AM on March 26, 2004


My ilk's better than your ilk.
posted by wsg at 3:27 PM on March 29, 2004


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