Posts about Howard_Stern

Pulver does God’s work

Jeff Pulver files a petition with the FCC to get them to lay off internet TV. God’s work. To read chunks of the summary, click below for more.

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Deserving each other

John Ashcroft is flacking for the National Association of Broadcasters against the Sirius-XM merger. Now the Wall Street Journal reports that Ashcroft first offered his services to XM. Skunk.

A most amazing woman

One of the most amazing interviews I’ve ever heard on the Howard Stern show yesterday: Martine Rothblatt invented Sirius.

I suspect she was there, in part, to back the case for a Sirius-XM merger, explaining that it was the government that split the frequencies for satellite broadcast in two to put two companies in business, but this also hampered the technology. Joining the frequencies back together, she said, would enable the company to smoothly stream video from space.

But Rothblatt’s own story was more amazing than her invention. She created more satellite companies: the first vehicle tracking system (Geostar), the first broadcast satellite system (PanAmSat), the first satellite radio (Sirius). She is an attorney, inventor, and engineer.

She was a he. Rothblatt changed genders about 12 years ago. She is still married to her wife; they have grown children.

But here’s what’s most amazing: He started a biotech company to find a cure for a potentially fatal lung condition his younger daughter suffered — and he found it. Now she’s working on nanobots that will be injected into the body to fix hearts or kill tumors, controlled by radio signals from outside. He sees this as the full extension of his satellite work.

It was a mesmerizing interview.

Satellite heaven

It’s great news that Sirius and XM have agreed to merge — and the FCC has every reason to approve the move. Without this, one of them would likely fold anyway. With it, we get the best of both their talent and technology and they can compete with terrestrial radio — which, Lord knows, needs the competition — and iPods. I’m a Stern fan and Sirius stockholder and satellite user and I’m all for this.

Violence: The new porn

The FCC is considering trying to regulate violence on TV — and not just on broadcast but also, without the slightest authority, on cable. Beware the hazard to our First Amendment: Now the FCC will put itself in the position of regulating whether violence is acceptable. On ’24′? On the news? On a sports show? On a documentary about the war? This is not, not, not government’s role. They made the First Amendment first for a reason. It says no laws, damnit, no laws.

The real Howard Stern’s news

The news about Howard Stern’s marriage flipflop — he got engaged to Beth O last night — spread around the web in no time. Fellow Stern fan Tony Pierce blogged it immediately at LAist. Gary Dell’Abate said that Stern’s Wikipedia page was updated with the engagement in minutes (though it went up and down as Wikipedians fretted about sourcing it to an article). And Perez Hilton has the news but — covering his ass — frets that it may be a Valentine’s Day prank. The new gossip leader, TMZ, meanwhile, is behind; still concentrating on the other Howard Stern. People.com is hopelessly behind. Oh, yes, and HowardStern.com had the news. Gossip is about speed these days.

Media boogeymen

The self-annointed Conference for Media Reform has been underway in Memphis, spitting out all sorts of invective about big, bad media and pushing for more government regulation, all of which I think is damned dangerous. Big, old media is dying before our eyes and it will take with it local newspapers and broadcast outlets unless it is given the means to survive by more — yes, more — consolidation. And government regulation of speech is always, always dangerous.

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps — one of the big, bad censors of government — issues his manifesto, quoted in the press release sent out about him:

Half a trillion dollars. That’s a conservative valuation of the airwaves that our country lets TV and radio broadcasters use – for free. Any way you slice it, that’s an awful lot of money. In fact, it’s just about the biggest chunk of change that our government gives to any private industry.

And what do the American people – who own the public airwaves, by the way – get in return? Too little news, too much baloney passed off as news. Too little quality entertainment, too many people eating bugs on reality TV. Too little local and regional music, too much brain-numbing national play-lists. Too little of America, too much of Wall Street and Madison Avenue. That’s what we get for half a trillion dollars. It’s one hell of a bad bargain, don’t you think?

Except that with only 12 percent of Americans not getting their TV via cable or satellite — and now the internet — the value of those broadcast licenses is falling to nil before our very eyes. Why the hell do you think that the networks are taking to distributing their wares on iTunes and YouTube? This is a man in charge of our media landscape? God help us. He continues:

I’m here to propose that we replace the bad old bargain that past FCCs struck with the media moguls with a new American Media Contract. It goes like this. We, the American people have given broadcasters free use of the nation’s most valuable spectrum, and we expect something in return. We expect this:

1. A right to media that strengthens our democracy
2. A right to local stations that are actually local
3. A right to media that looks and sounds like America
4. A right to news that isn’t canned and radio playlists that aren’t for sale
5. A right to programming that isn’t so damned bad so damned often

So you’re going to start programming those stations, Commissioner Copps? You’re going to define democracy-strengthening programming, local programming, programing that looks like America, programming that isn’t canned, programming that isn’t bad? Who the fuck are you to determine any of that? You are of the government. And the last thing government should do is meddle in our speech. Besides, all you’re going to do is drive these companies out of business or drive them away from broadcast, just as you did Howard Stern. And what happened next? We got worse programming. Duller programming. Crap and pap. Money-losing programming that only forces the company quicker to the can you decry. Next, we’ll end up with home-shopping on our broadcast towers. That’ll be all that’s left.

Next, we have Bill Moyers spouting downright offensive language, dimishing slavery to make his point. Says the press release sent out about his speech:

Evoking the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Moyers compared big media corporations to plantation owners and American media consumers to their slaves. “What happened to radio, happened to television, and then it happened to cable. If we are not diligent, then it will happen to the Internet, [creating] a media plantation for the 21st century dominated by the same corporate and ideological forces that have controlled the media for the last 50 years.”

Dennis Kucinich isn’t stopping at reforming American media. He is after world domination:

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D- Ohio) paid a surprise visit to the National Conference for Media Reform and announced to hundreds of cheering activists that the U.S. House will created a committee on media reform and that Kucinich will be its chair. He promised reform in media and said it would drive national reform and world reform.

I’m all in favor of openness. But government regulation of what we can say is not open. That is media oppression.

Big media is dying, don’t you see? Knight Ridder’s dead. Tribune’s dying. Scripps is getting out of the newspaper business. Classified revenue is gone from newspapers and leaving online sites. Evil Clear Channel sold itself. CBS Radio is a mess. The TV networks are desperate to find new distribution. Local TV news stations are about to hit the wall. Cable is not far behind. Even Yahoo is struggling. These people are making big, bad media a boogeyman and in doing so they are setting up government to come in and regulate our speech for no good reason. Fools. Damned dangerous fools.

: The conference blog quotes this:

This conference is life-changing. I cannot even breathe right now. Life-changing. I’ll have a series of pictures from Memphis in just a few minutes. What I’ve seen so far has been awe-inspiring. I really feel validated for the feelings I’ve had for the last few years.

Whew.

Sternniversary

A year ago today Howard Stern came to Sirius. They now have more than 6 million subscribers and I say the show is better than ever. The New York Times has a quite prissy story about it this morning, hauling out the old red herring that Stern needed the FCC and enemies to be funny. Stern argues against that and so will I. The only goal is being funny and now Stern and company are freer to be funny. And, as he says, the real governor is not the law but their own taste. Do they go too far? Yes. And the definition going too far is now not that what they’re doing is illegal but that it’s not funny. That’s what all the pontificators forget about Stern: It’s just a comedy show. Anyway, happy anniversary, Howard.