He’s no Howard

This morning, Howard Stern generously, I thought, had David Lee Roth on as a “mystery guest” to promote himself as one of Stern’s radio replacements in January.

He’s no Stern.

Roth was trying to do radio. He spoke with an eerie formality — eerie for a rocker — sounding like an overaged kid in a bar mitzvah suit trying to get a good check out of Aunt Sadie. Or maybe he sounded like a pretentious, sober, and boring Crazy Cabbie. Or… I don’t know what he was trying to sound like. But he didn’t sound genuine. That’s what makes Stern Stern.

He’s no Stern.

Even Viacom knows that, for they’re replacing Stern with many players.

“Free FM,” which Infinity is calling “a bold new FM format, ” will take root in four of the top five and seven of the top 10 U.S. radio markets, as part of its Howard Stern replacement strategy. Infinity currently broadcasts Stern’s program on 27 of its stations across the country. His last live broadcast will be on Friday, December 16.

It is now official that David Lee Roth and Adam Carolla have been named as morning drive hosts on WXRK (K-Rock)/New York and KLSX/Los Angeles, respectively, beginning on Tuesday, January 3, 2006. Additional markets to broadcast Roth include KLLI/Dallas, WYSP/Philadelphia, WBCN/Boston, WRKZ/Pittsburgh, WNCX/Cleveland and WPBZ/West Palm Beach. Carolla will be heard on KIFR/San Francisco, KPLN/San Diego, KZON/Phoenix, KUFO/Portland and KXTE/Las Vegas.

Jimmy Kimmel will serve as creative consultant for The Adam Carolla Show, as well as advisor for Infinity. He will assist in the development of new talent and show ideas, along with making guest appearances on the program.

“Infinity’s Free FM stations will feature an eclectic mix of personalities, whose distinct creativity, perspective, sense of humor, intellect and unpredictability do not fall under the guiding principals of any particular narrowcast theme or ideology,” said Infinity chairman/CEO Joel Hollander. “An entertaining hybrid of provocative, political, pop culture, news, music and lifestyle formats, our next generation of FM stations will be personified by their conviction, passion, originality, fearlessness and innovation which is not heard anywhere else on the radio.”

Yeah, it’s not heard anywhere on Radio because the FCC got rid of Stern and ballless Viacom and the radio industry let them.

More on Infinity’s plans, as if anyone should give more than a shrug:

KIFR, WYSP and KPLN will convert to Free FM programming as of today. WXRK, the flagship station for the David Lee Roth Show, will debut Free FM on the station in conjunction with Roth’s premiere in January 2006. Current Infinity stations in Los Angeles (KLSX), Chicago (WCKG), Dallas (KLLI), Washington, D.C. (WJFK), Detroit (WKRK) and Baltimore (WHFS) have all been rebranded Free FM as of today.

Penn Jillette, one-half of the entertainment duo Penn & Teller, has also been named as host of a unique one-hour live radio program that will be featured on WXRK, WCKG, KIFR, WJFK, WKRK, KPLN, WHFS and KSFN beginning in January 2006.

Even those guys don’t take all the markets. Rover, whatever that is, and the Junkies, whatever that is, take over other markets and in San Francisco, the land of the different tattooed drummer:

KITS/San Francisco will launch the Morning Music Co-Op, an entertainment-based program featuring alternative music with unprecedented listener involvement/interaction and minimal commercial interruption. The station’s on-air programming attributes will include music-oriented town halls, sponsorship of “locals-only” concerts, monthly music and movie listener correspondents, frequent auditions for permanent positions on the show, listener advisory reports, and Q&A sessions with station executives.

Ooh, Q&A sessions with station executives. Is that what the kids call interactivity?

I’m pissed anew. Stern should not be leaving the airwaves.

: Folks in the comments say it’s time to get Sirius. Yup.

: Gawker asks whether this is the death of rock:

Without Stern, apparently, there’s no more reason to live.

Then again, some would argue K-Rock actually died sometime around 1995, when it overnight stopped playing the classic rock that got us through high school. We got over it.

: Maybe rock is dead. David Hinkley quotes Stevie Van Zandt:

Little Steven Van Zandt, host of the syndicated Sunday night “Underground Garage,” told a Radio & Records convention this summer that radio has shortchanged rock for decades.

“In a real sense, the last big [rock] band through the door was U2, 25 years ago,” Van Zandt said. “When our generation stops touring, it’s over. Rock ‘n’ roll is a living, breathing animal that needs to be fed. With new blood.”

That new blood is out there, too, he said, but has too few outlets for exposure on broadcast radio. “Hip-hop and pop can be heard. New rock ‘n’ roll had nowhere to go. [Our show] has played more new bands in three years than anyone since the ’60s.”

: The Infinity press release here.

: Michele Catalano translates the Infinity press release:

Talk, talk, talk, more talk, more blabber about nothing, prank phone calls and “odd” news, bitching about the world with in a post-modern ironic kind of way, fluffy Hollywood interviews, thirty second sound bites about the top grossing movies, some Paul Harvey-esque dude giving you a humorous take on a news subject and, fuck you don’t lie to us there will be no music.

Rock radio is dead….

It’s gone. It’s happening everywhere, not just New York. Rock and roll radio is dead. I don’t care that there are alternatives. It’s still god damn sad that the best thing about FM radio is no more.

: Ed Moltzen also translates the PR:

In other words, he doesn’t have the slightest idea what he’s going to do. He’s going to throw anything and everything against the wall and wait to see what sticks.

: On the other hand: Radio Marketing Nexus says there’s more here than we know (and, frustratingly, he’s not telling us):

The solution, my friends, is not infinite options (a la HD Radio) but a very small number of compelling ones.

I know what you’re thinking: David Lee Roth? But in my book a train wreck waiting to happen is only slightly less compelling than the actual accident scene itself.

I will not dish any secrets. But suffice it to say that Infinity’s FREE FM concept is much bigger than fixing the Howard Stern problem (although not likely to be bigger than Stern).

: New Yorker DrummerDan says:

Congratulations to all the corporate douches that decided this was a good idea.

: Desperate Hours Productions says:

Does anyone else find the Orwellian irony in giving the name “Free FM” to a series of stations full of the same content?

  • Bob Abouie

    “The Junkies” are actually the “Sports Junkies”, a local show here in Washington D.C. that has been on for a number of years. They are basically a bunch of 30-somethings who talk about sports and other stuff while music plays in the background, the show is unbearable.

    They started doing evenings on WJFK (Stern and Don and Mike’s channel), then got the morning slot on WHFS, which they lost when HFS went from alternative rock to a spanish format. Since then they’ve aired after Stern on WJFK, cutting off his show at 9:45-10:00 to start their own.

    It might finally be time to buy a Sirius receiver.

  • Tony Alva

    I actually enjoyed the Sports Junkies during the evening drive back in the day on JFK. I agree that they cannot uphold a morning slot with what they do though. Roth could be good for some unpredictable behavior due to his delusional behavior, but I don’t know if it’ll work over the long haul.

    Jeff’s right, Stern is/was great because he’s real. He’s immature, and vulgar sometimes, but he is NOT phony. What commentary on our entertainment values when someone being himself on our airwaves is a unique oddity.

  • Justin

    The only person I might listen to is Adam Corolla. I think he works best as a sidekick, but he might be entertaining on his own. Who knows? But of course, he’s in LA, I’m in DC… so… I guess its time to buy Sirius…

  • http://www.tonypierce.com/blog/bloggy.htm tony

    not only am i ready for the switch-over to eh eh eh

    but at $6/share SIRI isnt a bad investment either especially *before* millions move over all at the same time – Christmastime

  • http://www.bloodandtreasure.com Noel Guinane

    Howard Stern started out great. He was intelligent and daring and this is why he gained a following, a following that at the time he really did deserve. But success affects everyone differently and Howard forgot that it was his daringness and intelligence that gathered that following to him and instead made the mistake of thinking that he could say or do anything and his fans would still love him. So instead of keeping his private life private, he flaunted his genitalia and the genitalia of countless dispicable people on National TV. Well I’m no longer interested in Howard Stern. He used to be intelligent and daring. Now he’s a degenerate revelling in his own perversions.

  • Rob

    I’m waiting for the Sirius/iPod (or iPod-style) device. Also being Canadian I’m waiting to see if they’ll let Stern in again – “Sirius Radio Canada has said Stern’s program won’t necessarily be carried in Canada.” or if I’ll have to get an American receiver.

  • Angelos

    Rock isn’t dead. Radio is dead.

  • http://www.allyourtv.com Rick Ellis

    Aside from the issues of why Stern is leaving, it all seems to me to be a very “corporate” response to his exit.

    Infinity is coming up against the problems they helped to create. Crappy music formats have left listeners with little allegance to the local station they listen to, which is a problem when you’re trying to convince listeners to stick around. Especially since many of them were already exiting the station after Stern’s show wrapped up.

    And ironically, the success of their syndication of Stern also left Infinity with few local choices to bring up the ladder. Sure, NY, LA or DC has a bit of talent pool to draw on, but medium-sized markets are literally tapped out. The pool of people with the experience and innate ability to do compelling radio nowadays is so small that it’s tough to find an “unknown” to do the job. Which is why you see Infinity hiring celebs, instead of actual radio people to do the job of replacing Stern.

    I wasn’t always a Stern fan. I enjoyed his interviews, but found the endless stripper stuff boring. But at the end of the day, Stern had enormous skills as a broadcaster and an entertainer. It’s not something that comes easy, and I expect a lot of these new “Shows” are going to be gone after a couple of bad ratings books.

  • http://unbeknownst.net KirkH

    According to this Forbes Article the National Association of Broadcasters and their buddies in congress have made fair competition illegal. Satellite and Internet radio have to pay huge fees to broadcast music. That’s not the case with AM/FM.

    They’ve figured out how to crush the longtail and it’s terribly sad.

  • Greg Toombs

    I’m tempted to agree with Angelos, above, but I’ve too much nostalgia invested. It is true: modern radio has been terrible for new rock’n’roll bands.

    Great new groups are out there, though. New, quality music is still being created – may it always be so – it’s just hard to find in the dreck of hip-hop-pop by bands that don’t sound different ; the record producers are unfortunately easy to identify. For those willing to look, college radio stations may have ‘variability’ in content and quality but are worth the search, especially on the internet. WXPN 88.5 in Philaelphia is a great example and they stream on the web at http://www.xpn.org

  • http://countertop-chronicles.blogspot.com countertop

    Spent three hours exploring the Sirius and Crutchfeld web pages last night as I look at my Sirius options for the car. Looks real good – I just don’t think I drive enough to warrant it – but I am about to cancel cable, so who knows.

    Anyway, the problem with celebrities is, as you point out Jeff, they aren’t real. The only celebritiy DJ I could ever listen to was Joe Walsh and even he got real tiring after a day or two.

    Howard is the last of a long line of true radio pioneers. As far as I am concerned, Rock and Roll died when WNEW became “Alternative” before it became “Talk Hell.”

    Stern is partly responsible for that, he killed eveyone in the ratings, but had Radio nurtured soem replacement talent or simply been able to think outside and box and see the synergies WNEW and rock could have survived. Why couldn’t they play U2, the Stones, Foo FIghters, Dave Mathews, Pink Floyd, Springsteen, Red Hot CHilli Peppers and Led Zep on the same station. Forget the balkanization of rock and endless subcatagorization, these were ALL rock bands and the right programer would have seen that and developed an appealing mix. They didn’t and they failed.

    Its sad and strange at the same time, but Howard is going out on Top and forging new ground. Good for him. He joins a long list of other “real” radio personalities who succeeded before him – Prof. Scott Muni , Dave Herman, Pete Fornatale and don’t forget the stars of WPLJ Pat. St. John and Carol Miller or San Fran transplant Tony Pig.

  • DMcK

    Hey, there’s always WFMU. Pretty healthy broadcast signal in the NY/NJ area, live webstream, podcasts, archives, MP3 library, and more new rock (and a lot of other stuff…they’re a freeform station) than they know what to do with. They are 100% listener supported, so there’s no commercials or government/corporate underwriting to bollocks it up. My dial hasn’t budged since I discovered them over a decade ago.

  • DCThunder

    Don’t forget that Sirius isn’t your only satellite option. Yeah, XM doesn’t have Stern (yet) but they do have 5 million subscribers now, not sometime in the future and a real good line-up of channels, including MLB and the NHL, as well as a very ecletic mix of rock channels. They’ve had Opie and Anthony for over a year and it’s the place where Air America airs on satellite for those who swing from that side of the plate.

    I just wonder when Sirius goes broke from paying Stern his zillions and the NFL their zillions and the two satellite systems merge or XM takes ovah.

  • John

    I’ll be interested to see how Sirius and XM built around their uncensored AM drive shows that are the cornerstone of their plans. Currently, XM has Ron & Fez following Opie & Anthony, which is basically a semi-recreation of WNEW-FM in New York from four years ago. ‘NEW didn’t get the greatest ratings, but the two shows do get along with each other creating a bit of synergy between shows. But that still leaves XM 202 with 17 hours of repeats a day, and 48 hours on the weekend.

    Stern’s signed Bubba the Love Sponge after he got booted by Clear Channel in Florida, but I’m not sure how much of a connection Howard’s fans will feel with the other shows or re-runs on his channel(s), which was the problem with the now-terminal WXRK rock format in New York — once Stern went off the air each day, their ratings sank like a stone. And Howard’s only working four days a week once he gets to Sirius, which boosts the re-run factor even higher.

    While you woudn’t think listern share is a problem on satellite radio, due to the manditory $12.95 subscriprion fee, Mel Karmazan’s strategy is to earn back a lot of the money they’re paying out to Stern and the other new talkers by selling ad time on the stations. XM’s done the same thing with Opie and Anthony and have gotten a couple of national ads and a few regional ones, mainly from the New York and Philly areas. But XM has far less of a financial debt to O&A than Sirius has to Stern, and any XM channel as of now starts out with a potential 2 1/2 times the nunber of listeners than the same stations on Sirius, because of the subscriber base (XM’s base is over 5 million, while Sirius is about 2 million). That means the advertisers on Stern’s station are going to be wanting to see some major upward spike in subscribers within the first six months after Howard goes to satellite in order to Uncle Mel to get the ad rates he’s hoping for from Howard’s show and the other R-rated talkers.

  • EverKarl

    Did I miss all the rock records Stern played?

    BTW, I think it was Paul LeMat’s character in American Graffiti that said rock ‘n’ roll has been going downhill ever since Buddy Holly died.

  • DCThunder

    Just curious, but do Robin and Artie and the rest of the Stern crew get paid by Howard out of his money or do they have their own deals with Sirius?

  • http://senshineko.com/weblog/ John Steven

    People still listen to music on the radio? O_o

    The only stations I listen to over the air anymore are the two local varieties of NPR. All my music listening is done through noncommercial streams online or (if in the car) downloaded onto iPod with iTrip connector to play through the radio. I can’t stand radio commercials anymore… a couple of months ago I was lounging outside and tried listening to the local music stations for a couple of hours, and the ‘three three-minute songs followed by 10 minutes of advertising’ model annoyed the hell out of me after becoming used to listening without interruption via online and iPod. Aside from that, over-the-air doesn’t play my favorite genres (japanese pop and euro-dance), something I suspect is happening with more and more people who discover new types of music online or in filesharing that they would never have been exposed to on radio.

  • http://www.tonypierce.com/blog/bloggy.htm tony


    If you recall, before Artie there was Jackie the Jokeman who left because he wanted a bigger contract. He was negotiating with the originating station K-Rock, not with Howard. Therefore it appears to me that the station makes the contracts including the one with Howard.

  • http://www.laurencehaughton.com laurence haughton

    Angelos: Good point. “Was it a suicide or a homicide?”

    Noel Guinane: Great analysis. You’re a pleasure to read.

  • Todd

    Aren’t Sterns ratings sinking in many markets already? I know in Boston, which was a Howard stronghold for over a decade, he hasn’t been the number one morning show for quite a few ratings periods. I’ve been bored with the show for 3 or 4 years now whereas I used to listen a couple hours every day. Now I’m just as likely to listen to Imus or sports talk – anyone else think he jumped the shark? No way I’d pay $12.95 plus the cost of the equipment to listen to him.

  • http://rightfromleft.blogspot.com kent

    The departure of Stern is a non issue as far as I’m concerned.

    I’ve always thought his show could be so much better. Rather than interviewing smart, intelligent people, he books inane porn stars and washed up actors. And there really was a sea change in his behavior after his divorce. He became nice, which ruined the dynamic of the show.

    I’ve always loved David Lee Roth. I think he is uniquely qualified to engage in radio, which is ‘theatre of the mind.’ He’s always been one crazy bastard. Too bad his show is going to be only on the East Coast.

    I’m much less enthused about Corolla, maybe because he’s so over-exposed, as is Jimmy Kimmel.

  • http://countertop-chronicles.blogspot.com countertop

    My understanding is the deal Howard struck was foir him to produce the show. My educated guess is that he will have to pay all the salary’s out of that 100 million a year, including staff and other assorted production costs. He still takes home a bundle.

    Also, I tend to agree with Kent in that the show has gone downhill in recent years. Not sure if it was the divorce, I always timed it to the departure of Jackie the Jokeman. Artie just doesn’t do it for me, I don’t mind the dumb strippers (when he makes them do funny things like triva contests with homeless people) but the washed up celebrities and the constant focus on gambling just aren’t my thing.

    Still, while I dont drive in to work every day, when I do I listen to him. As I posted earlier, I am exploring whether to buy the Sirius deal. Stern won’t sell me on it, but the SEC football and Elvis channel might. He is a nice bonus and I like their programing choices better than XM (plus, DC is all XM all the time and it gets a bit tiring)

  • Jim

    Howard’s show has sucked for the past 3 years. For the past year, all he’s been doing is bitching and hyping satellite. He’s trashed the show, and now he expects his “loyal listeners” to shell of money to hear a show that jumped the shark in 1996? Good luck! For me, Howard bit it when he praised Bush until Bush came after him, then he changed his tune. Bu-Bye Howard – don’t spend too much of that fortune on that poon of yours – you’re gonna need it down the road!

  • http://www.drcookie.blogspot.com JennyD

    How about this theory: Howard is turning into Imus. An old man with listeners, and looking like lunch for the next, hot radio thing.

    His show really lost it about five years ago. Actually, he was best when he was married. Now he’s just an old pervert, a la Lolita. Too bad. He was better as a married man with desires.

  • Doug C

    Now that I have XM, the only time I deal with FM is to find a station to broadcast my SkyFi2 on. I’ll NEVER miss it.

    K-ROCK has been crappy for years – the only reason to listen was Stern. Stern, in turn, has been a shell of his former self for awhile. I strongly recommend XM and Opie & Anthony. You’ll never see them getting the press Stern gets, but the show is unbelievably clever and intelligent.

    In any case, I don’t think DLR will be much of a replacement but… que sera sera.

  • http://www.nobordersnolimits.typepad.com Matt

    Maybe I’ve been out of the loop, but do people still listen to Howard Stern? His shtick wore thin for me when I was fifteen- and that was a wee while ago. It shouldn’t be difficult to find a morning host who is at least as entertaining.

  • Ben Sparks

    XM > Sirius

  • http://www.tonypierce.com/blog/bloggy.htm tony

    jeff ive said it before, i’ll say it again, you have the dumbest commentors in the blogosphere.

    they talk about Stern like they know something, but they dont know anything. they pretend that all he does is have strippers on. bro is on 4-5 hours a day – if theres a day that he has a stripper on it’s for 20 minutes tops.

    what these people are are fakers who watch the E! show. theyre not listeners, theyre not fans, and theyre far from educated.

    in the last month howard has had probably 3 strippers on tops. if that.

    he did had Stevie Wonder on – who sang for howard, despite howard asking him every single uncomfortable blind-question imaginable which produced amazing radio.

    but that wasnt even as good as when he had Weezer on last week. he had Rivers talk about not having sex for the last 2.5 years. they sang two songs for him. they talked for a half hour. i’m a huge fan of Weezer and Rivers and I’ve never seen or heard Rivers open up to anyone the way he opened up to Howard. Rivers is the shyest man in showbiz but for the king of all media he answered every question because he loved howard.

    these people dont listen and thats their problem.

    howard hasnt been any good for 5 years? oh really? during the last election he was so good they had to sick the FCC on him. on 9/11 he may have delivered THE best radio show around. Artie’s meltdowns and struggles with booze and food and fame more than made up for Jackie’s departure – shoes i never thought could be filled. but they were perfectly.

    Win Fred’s Money and Stump the Booey showed that Howard’s co-workers were not only funny, but ridiculously smart. Beetlejuice, Gary and Wendy the Retard, the farters, Miss Howard Stern, KC, Richard Christie and Sal the Stockbroker have all been introduced in the last five years and have provided song parodies and classic Stern moments that had nothing to do with strippers or bits of the past.

    But these people dont talk about them because they dont listen.

    they should shut up and sit down and keep finding ways to defend BushCo.


  • http://www.elflife.com/cgi-bin/txt.cgi/ Carson Fire

    I used to be a big Stern fan, listened to him for hours on end while working at a warehouse. I only stopped listening because I decided that I didn’t have the time to listen anymore.

    I have no problem with Stern or his content… he’s a brilliant humorist, and one of the most fearless.

    However, I can recognize that current Stern listeners are being ruled by pure emotionalism. Stern did a superior job of arranging his transformation to pay-for-play (which he has always liked) in a way that made Everybody Else villains, and deflected any potential listener animosity away from him, which would have been deadly to his career.

    Stern even has normally sensible people saying things like “Stern should not be leaving the airwaves”, even though he is not leaving the airwaves. He is “leaving the airwaves” like Dowd and Krugman left the internet.

    Diff is, NYT will probably come to regret their decision; Stern’s move will make him very rich, directing more of his show’s profits away from the dull, empty suits who have plagued him in the past and more to himself and his show’s contributors.

    I applaud Stern’s move; I’m not so sure if I respect the smoke and mirrors employed to cover his ass, but I at least understand why; but I’m certainly not impressed with the naivety of media pundits who are bedazzled by the soap opera of it all.

    Radio is not dead, and not all of it is due to Stern, although he deserves credit for many things. I can’t comment on all city markets, but here in Dallas, the scope of radio has greatly *expanded* since the 80s and 90s. There seems to be this dysfunction among white people, though… if they move the dial around and can’t find more than one or two hoary old “classic rock” stations with an annoying DJ, they think that radio is dead. Every station must be WKRP!

    Meanwhile, our band is more stuffed with hispanic and black programming (one asian station on AM is just a start, I hope); there are more music alternatives (some of them I don’t like, but I at least can recognize that not all stations must be programmed for *me*); there is more live programming, and more around the clock.

    If this is the result of corporatism and media conglomeration, then maybe it’s not so bad. The indie stations of the 80s and 90s here were all carbon copies of each other. Back then, radio was dead and Stern was an oasis. Although Stern deserves credit for breathing some life into radio, I don’t believe the expansion of programming has anything to do with him. I can turn my radio on now and find a mariachi band at will, and that has nothing to do with Stern. This is natural evolution… companies using a neglected medium to reach audiences that they previously ignored.

    In any case, I just don’t see these dark clouds over radio that current Stern listeners see. Just pay for the Sirius already, and stop crabbing about having to pay for your Howie.

  • http://jimtreacher.com Jim Treacher

    Opie & Anthony on XM Satellite Radio! Opie & Anthony on XM Satellite Radioooooooo!

  • BartonG

    Rock is not dead! It just moved to Britain, where it is very much alive and well (and growing and evolving…).

  • Rich Drees

    Have to agree with Tony’s analysis of Stern’s show above. Normally, I only get to listen for a short time each day. Stern was dropped by our local station (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA) after its initial five-year due to a cost increase (A friend who worked at the station told me the numbers, and I was shocked that the station thought it was too much money, a competant sales staff should be able to sell what they were asking for) and only listen via WYSP (Philadelphia) which, along with other radio stations, is carried on my cable.

    However, I was off from work Monday and Tuesday, but still rose at 6:30 so I could listen to all of Howard’s show on my couch in the comfort of my sweats. Sure, some of the timbre of the show has changed- but so has Howard’s life. Of course he’s going to talk about Sirius, because that’s what’s happening with him right now.

    Howard still knows how to do and does compelling radio. His interaction with Gilbert Gottfried (take or leave his voice, I still say he’s one of the most gifted and underappreciated comics today) on Tuesday’s show was, as always, a riot.

    And yes, I was listening when DLR came in to make the announcement about Infinity’s format changes. What I found moving was Howard talking to some of the station staff who felt betrayed and hurt by the sudden switch. The woman who follows Howard on XRK was near tears at one point and my heart went out to her and all the folks at the chain who were effectively handed their pinkslips on air.

    (Sure this helps Howard’s case for people to switch to Sirius, but it was compelling listening, nonetheless…)

    What was truely shocking was the absolutely cold way station manager Tom Cheapasano handled everything. The came off as a major prick.

    Irionically, I had purchased my Sirius unit, with both car and home adaptors, the night before. The whole incident just reinforced what a smart decision I made.

  • John

    Whoa! An Assault on the Media by Treacher right here on Jeff’s website. (Does this get you the Mi-Fi for October?)

  • Dan

    You write of Roth “sounding like an overaged kid in a bar mitzvah suit trying to get a good check out of Aunt Sadie.”

    Oh, those crafty Jews! Whether they’re young or old, there’s always looking for perfidious ways to get money — even from Aunt Sadie.

    If there is another explanation, I’d like to hear it.

  • Dan

    You write of Roth “sounding like an overaged kid in a bar mitzvah suit trying to get a good check out of Aunt Sadie.”

    Oh, those crafty Jews! Whether young or old, they’re always looking for perfidious ways to get money — even from Aunt Sadie.

    If there is another explanation, I’d like to hear it.

  • EverKarl

    According to Mediaweek:

    Howard Stern’s year-long commercial for Sirius Satellite Radio, and continuous rant against traditional radio and the FCC, may be costing him a few of his 6.5 million weekly listeners. Or, it may be that the 50 plus-year-old graying shock jock’s schtick needs to take a new turn.

    He’s suffering double-digit losses, even among his core 18-34 demo, even in his strongest markets.

    tony, in his own way, exhibits the same condescending attitude one gets from most of the institutional media. He claims that the commenters here are dumb; they don’t listen to the show, or enough of it, to appreciate Stern’s talent. Yet if you read the comments, what you find is people saying they do think Stern is (or was) a talent and a good interviewer. The strippers are just one of the things that turned some (but not all) of the commenters off the show. Some don’t like his choices for interview subjects. Some don’t like the focus on their gambling. Some disagree with tony as to whether Artie has filled Jackie’s shoes. Some think he went soft after the divorce, and so on.

    And the author of the Mediaweek piece clearly hasn’t enjoyed the consistent hyping of Sirius and whining about the FCC. Stern had plenty of problems with the FCC before the last election and before the Bush Administration — he just didn’t whine about it incessantly during the Clinton years. tony’s implicit premise of political persecution also overlooks that the most anti-indecency FCCommissioner, Copps, is a Dem.

    As the Mediaweek piece notes, there are hundreds of thousands of people who were Stern radio listeners who have turned him off. It’s fairly obvious that these people did not just watch him on the E! channel, or they wouldn’t have have shown up in the ratings in the first place. And tony has no basis for assuming that the commenters here didn’t listen to the radio show also.

    Once Howard actually moves to Sirius, he won’t be having to hype the move or whine about the FCC, so perhaps the show will return to form for some.

  • http://www.tonypierce.com/blog/bloggy.htm tony

    of couse i have basis for assuming that the commentors here dont listen to the show: their examples are those of non-listeners who flip through the tv and stop for a few seconds at E!

    none of them wrote about any of the examples that I gave – which is the bulkload of the radio show, and E! rarely showed any of the indepth interviews or rants or political debates that Stern has during his radio show. instead they show T&A for 22 minutes a night.

    Howard’s numbers last fall during the FCC witchhunt (which was spearheaded by Powell) were Stern’s highest ever – OF COURSE in relation to that peak he’s going to drop off. Especially since now, if you bother to listen to the radio show, you see that he’s being butchered by censors, who make the show nearly unlistenable. Unlistenable not because it’s penis jokes without punchlines, but because it’s a bad show when words are chopped and bleeps are inserted. Words that other entertainers are allowed to say on the radio and tv.

    Howard’s numbers also fell in relation to the last books, probably, genius, because he doesn’t have any support from E! anymore since the show was cancelled.

    And, perhaps, these former Stern listeners did what he said and made the move over to Sirius – their numbers are going up – where do you think they’re coming from?

    Did Howard go soft after his divorce? Not according to Powell – who fined him more after that divorce than he was ever fined before. Not according to his ratings. Not according to the nervous nillies who pulled him off Clear Channel. Not according to E! where the Stern Show was #1.

    I love people who throw out crazy accussations and have nothing to back them up with.

    And anyone who believes that Copps is a Dem probably also believes that Glenn Reynolds is a Libertarian.

  • bk

    Oh I feel so sorry for poor Howard Stern…fine, David Lee Roth feels more like a “never really was” than a has-been with each passing year. Frankly, he’s a ghoul.

    But both Carolla and Jillette offfer way more promise of entertaining me than Howard ever did. The schtick has long sense grown tired..ohh an inteview with a stripper, wow, cool. Spare me.

    I’m no fan of censorship or how Stern was targeted and forced to alternative distribution. It’s a shame he’s neither reliably entertaining nor a remotely sympathetic figure. Then I might be troubled a little bit more.

  • http://www.tonypierce.com/blog/bloggy.htm tony

    and with that bk proved my point.

    case closed.

    and by the way bk, you are the lazy ugly americans that let the BushCo bs steamroll through:

    “Yeah, crushing a man’s First Amendment right sucks and it would suck more if I actually liked him, but because I don’t like him I will be apathetic as he’s unfairly targeted by the government.”

    keep not listening or watching or being aware bk

  • http://www.bloodandtreasure.com Noel Guinane

    Fifteen, sixteen years ago, people would have been signing petitions to keep Howard Stern on the radio, me included. The guy could have been a serious contender for Mayor of New York City, aside from going down as one of the smartest, most entertaining people ever. Howard blew it. Your loyalty to him, Tony, is understandable. He was great, a long time ago.

  • http://www.tonypierce.com/blog/bloggy.htm tony

    I’m loyal because I actually listen. I seriously don’t see what he did to “blow it”. He has remained just as hard-core, he bows to no one, he took on Bush and got reamed by the FCC even though Oprah did exactly the same thing and didnt get fined. As he fought his ratings only got bigger. He hasnt sold out. He has kept things fresh with his new side-kicks, and now he’s being a pioneer with Sirius.

    I truly dont know what he did any differently in 1990 than he’s doing today except then he was pimping out his book and now he’s showing people a way for adults to listen to adult programming is via an alternative to radio.

    Sure he could have weilded his power for nefarious means, but instead he chose to stay true as an entertainer on tv and the radio. How is that such a horrible thing? People say that theyve turned off – but what have they turned on to? What morning personality is any better? Some say DLR or Penn Jillette will make things fresh again, but I doubt it solely because they were never interested in radio before.

    Do you think it’s just that simple to get on the mic and be the next King of All Media? Dont you know how many others have tried and failed over the last 20 years that Howard has dominated? I like DLR as much as the next guy, maybe more since I own two of his solo records, but does that mean that he will be anything more than a slightly hipper Rick Dees?

    The thing about Howard is he makes it look so easy, but it’s because he’s been doing it for so long and he doesnt follow the leader, he leads. During this last year as his ratings have “fallen” who has risen up? Ryan Seacrest? No. Big Boy? No. Nobody has risen up and nobody will rise up when Howard leaves because people like BK have yawned as the FCC has put a stranglehold on free speech. What will happen is bland bs boring djs will play it safe so as not to get fined, there will be no edge on terrestrial radio and the softness that you claim Howard has gotten with his “old” age will be even more pronounced in the AM and FM dials.

    Meanwhile the real innovation will be on pay broadcasting, the same way its happening on HBO and Comedy Central on tv.

    But go ahead and keep proclaiming Howard boring and no longer entertaining. Keep listening to O’Reilly, voting for Bush, and watching Jay Leno. You’re part of the problem.

  • http://www.bloodandtreasure.com Noel Guinane

    Tony, because I think Howard Stern went downhill fast doesn’t mean I listen to O’Reilly (whoever he is), vote Bush or watch Jay Leno. It could just be that I think Howard Stern went downhill fast. And that’s a shame considering how mind-bogglingly brilliant he used to be.

  • http://jimtreacher.com Jim Treacher

    Whoa! An Assault on the Media by Treacher right here on Jeff’s website. (Does this get you the Mi-Fi for October?)

    Nah, I would’ve had to interrupt Jeff’s actual post somehow. Stupid contest rules…

  • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2005/10/problem-solving.html M. Simon

    Tom Donahue is dead. And it shows.

  • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2005/10/problem-solving.html M. Simon

    There is a communication network. It routes around censorship.

    It is not just the net.

  • Big A

    Opie & Anthony > Howard Stern

    As a former Stern nut… I almost feel bad for Tony. It’s like rooting for the Astros at this point.

    I don’t want to hear about ratings… history… future… Yes… Howard WAS the king… Opie and Anthony (and Jimmy) put on a better show than Howard. I listen to both shows everyday. I would have never thought I’d say this 5 years ago… but Howard stinks now.

  • http://www.djmoves.com DJ Moves

    I can’t see myself going out of my way or spending the extra dough for satellite – not for Howard, anyway. I tune in once in a while, but he’s impressed me less and less lately. I was never a “fanatic”, but does he sound more like he’s reading a script lately?

    Like Big A said above , O & A are simply better. Maybe it’s b/c they are closer to the agegroup of their target market than Howard, who is closer to the age of our parents.

    When I want to listen to an old guy, I tune into Imus (which I do more often than not lately). When he goes to commercial for 10 minutes at a time, I’ll switch to NPR…., unless they’re asking for donations, which they seem to be doing more often these days….

    Come to think of it, maybe I will get satellite.

  • Lucy

    Stern wasn’t Howard when he started, either. Give the guy a chance to get his feet on the ground.

  • EverKarl


    The fact that the interviews with strippers turn some off does not justify the conclusion that all commenters here only watched Stern on E! I could go back and cut-and-paste the quotes from the prior commenters to the contrary, but think this would be pointless, as you obviously didn’t bother to read them the first time. And for all I know, bk just posted that last comment to tweak you (kinda wich I’d thought of that). For example, the fact that you find Artie a decent replacement for Jackie does not require the rest of the Western world to do so. Moreover, as I pointed out before — and you ignore — Stern’s ratings are down. People who by definition listened to Stern have stopped listening in droves. Every one of them — by definition — didn’t just watch Stern on E! Please join the reality-based community.

  • lupisella

    Stern knows full well he needs to dump lange and bring back jokeman. The catch, of course, is that jokeman knows his true value in dollars and stern isn’t inclined to open up his 500 million dollar wallet any more than k-rock was. I laugh (the only time i have laughed at stern since jokeman’s departure) when Stern says he’s “loyal to his man” lange…it’s all about salary demands.

    please viacom, suspend stern and play those > 10 year old best-of’s for the next 2 months. When they suspended stern for that day, i had no idea he was gone and i thought to myself “whoa!, he’s actually witty today!”, then i heard jackie’s laugh and thought “it figures”.

  • Douglas T.

    I’m GLAD he’s NO STERN! He’s a MUCH NEEDED breath of FRESH AIR for FM! I am not going to stand here and argue with someone who like a man hanging over there face letting farts in ASS CHAPS! DAVE was and always will be a better man than stern don’t even think twice about that!

  • Mike M

    David Roth sux!!!!!!!!!! XM sucks. I subscribed to Sirius just to listen to Stern. Don’t like it? Too f’ing bad.

  • emperend

    Could somebody please send me a couple of photos of New York dj Carol Miller ? I always wanted to know the sexy voiced lady´s visage and haven´t been successful yet.Thanks.