Posts about Howard_Stern

The radio monster falls

It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of assholes*. Clear Channel, the radio monster, is looking to sell itself to go private, according to the Times. Why? Because the radio business sucks.

This is why I have not feared media consolidation. Clear Channel, the poster child for evil media conglomerates, bought up stations and sucked cash out of them but now there’s not much left to suck. Consolidation is the act of a dying industry. Well, broadcast won’t die. But it sure as hell won’t grow.

At an NAB/RTNDA panel yesterday in front of mainly local TV news execs, I said their salvation will be in being very local and in using the asset of broadcast, while it is still an asset, to drive people to new and local services online that take advantage of the disarray in the newspaper industry to lurch ahead of them in citizen collaboration for hyperlocal news and in hyperlocal and directory advertising to support it.

I think the same may be true of radio, which is ironic, being that Clear Channel, et al, leached the local out of the medium. As the value of broadcast licenses falls, I’ll bet we’ll start seeing the deconsolidation of some of these companies as radio and TV stations, like newspapers, are sold off one-by-one (see the post directly below). If the FCC had lifted crossownership restrictions, as Michael Powell tried to do a few years ago, those stations would have been bought up by newspapers, or vice versa. But now, with the value of both in free fall (see that post below), I’m not sure that local consolidation will pay anymore (see also the disintegrating Tribune Company, which did benefit from crossownership… until now).

So, to bring the parlor game to the radio business now, what would I do with Clear Channel? I’d plan on an imminent future when people will get their programming delivered to them by the internet and mobile and satellite and I’d use local promotional power to drive the business there. As I said above, I’d make some set of the stations very local and I’d use that to drive local businesses that grab marketshare of news, audience, and local advertising from panicked newspapers. Or I’d just sell to the next idiot.

* The real reason I’m happy to see the owners of Clear Channel retreat is because they fired Howard Stern and did not stand up for free speech and the First Amendment against the FCC and a tiny band of reputedly religious nuts.

Free Howard

Tomorrow and Thursday, the world will be able to listen to Howard Stern for free again. And it’s going to be a good two days with a radio sitcom by Sam Simon of The Simpsons and a Gary Dell’Abate roast.

It’s a brilliant marketing move to push not only Stern on Sirius but also a new offering: an internet-only subscription to 75 of the channels online, no radio or antenna required. Note that subscribers with radios also get the internet feed included. But if you want to listen in an office or in Munich, like a letter-writer on this morning’s Stern show, you can.

More than a year ago, I argued in an open letter to Mel Karmazin (cheeky bastard, I am) that he should be doing just this: Don’t be trapped by your distribution, don’t think of yourself just as a satelllite company, be the radio company of the future.

There’s still one more thing I want: Howard as a paid podcast. As part of my subscription, I want to be able to catch up on Howard on my terms, without having to go to the hassle of recording or buying the new radio that can record. I missed the amazing show when Artie Lange talked about his heroin use and kicked myself. Thanks to a fellow Stern fan — a media exec in a suit; there are more of us in this club than you dare to imagine — I got to listen because he recorded it so he can listen to the whole show in his car. Now that Stern is being repeated around the clock, I actually find myself timing my commute so I hear different parts of the show in the morning and evening. I’d rather listen to it all on my iPod.

Once Stern et al are available however, wherever, and whenever I want them, then Sirius will truly be the radio company of the future.

Next: video.


I just called into the Stern show to read Mainelli’s rants from the comments below and to compliment Steve Lanford’s reporting. If you’re here looking for them, see the comments on this post; also here and here. And beware the Opiates.

Wacked hack, smacked and sacked, attacks

Don’t miss the fun of watching a former New York Post hack go over the edge in the comments here.

Post writer flunks out

Post writer John Mainelli gets bounced. Langford bags one.

: LATER: Link fixed now. I am proud to say that I used my Treo to blog this from a church meeting. No lightning.

Journalism 101 from Howard 100 News

Howard 100 News bulldog Steve Langford gave the New York Post a beautiful journalism lesson this morning. A few days ago, media writer John Mainelli wrote a piece speculating on spurious rumors that Howard Stern was going to leave satellite for earth again. Stern has spent the last few days tearing apart every falsehood in the story. It was an attack on Stern, pure and simple and Stern says it’s no coincidence that it is timed to the convention of the National Association of Broadcasters (poor guys) in Texas. So the intrepid Langford got Mainelli on the phone — he has been too chicken to talk to Stern on the air — and pressed him on the fact that he is a radio consultant himself advising terrestrial radio stations and he does not disclose that in his reporting. Mainelli said he has no New York clients anymore. So what? Stern and Sirius are national. It is a conflict of interest, especially because it is not disclosed. Langford Mainelli also got threatening with Langford, which was good for a laugh. Langford earns the A. Mainelli fails the assignment.

The National Geographic rule

Thanks to the FCC and the official prudery and censorship of the U.S., the BBC had to think twice about airing a report by Allan Little from Swaziland. From the Editors’ Blog:

So Allan Little’s piece from Swaziland on Friday (watch it here) saw a group of BBC World producers studying the US rule book very carefully… since we broadcast on American cable networks, and have to respect “local” laws.

An image from Allan Little’s reportAllan reported on the “Ceremony of the Reed” – where the King of Swaziland chooses a wife from a parade of women dressed in traditional costume. That is, they weren’t wearing anything on top. There wasn’t really any way of avoiding the issue – that’s how they were dressed, and to have edited out any toplessness would have been bizarre.

But talking to colleagues in the US, it’s pretty clear that American TV channels have become cautious to the extreme on any issues involving either nudity or swearing.

Hmmmm. Breasts bad: see Janet Jackson. Black women’s breasts thus bad. White people cursing OK. Black people cursing bad. What to do? What to do? The BBC decided to take the risk, believing that their nudity was certainly in context. If it works for National Geographic….


My rant for Reason is up. It’s a defense of bullshit.