The daily Stern: The Concert for Free Speech
: Stern started the show reporting that his sources inside the FCC say that “Chairman Moa, I mean Chairman Powell” is freaked that he has a line into the agency and is worried that by fining Stern now — and gtting him fired — he would “make me into a martyr” and possibly swing the election against Bush with Stern’s audience. He said the agency is said to be preparing its fine against Stern and that they might hold off until right before the election. Stern went after Bush again.
Remember that it’s not just Stern who has sources saying he’s about to the fined; the Wall Street Journal has sources saying the same thing.
: He had been joking last week about holding a “Million Moron March” on Washington.
But now he’s starting to talk about having a series of concerts. Imagine that: The Concert for Free Speech.
That could be big: Every group that hates Bush… and Tipper Gore… and every hiphop group that gets bleeped… plus the MoveOn anti-Patriot-Act constituency… [added] plus critics of the digital copyright act… plus, of course, Clear Channel haters….
It wouldn’t be just an anti-Bush event since much of what they’d protest about started before Bush and the current action in Congress to increase fines for “indecency” comes from Republicans and Democrats. Still, it would show some power. It would begin the backlash to the backlash to the Janet Jackson boob. I’d like to see that.
: UPDATE: Doc Searls, a most reasonable man (unlike me), says this today about Howard Stern:
Getting just enough signal from Howard this morning to hear a bit of his show while I get ready to go downstairs for breakfast. He’s saying he has sources inside the FCC (“about three of them”), and that the FCC is holding off fining his show (for “notices of apparent liability”) until the opportune political moment for the Bush administration. Something like that.
Cards on the table: I trust what Howard says about what’s going on more than anybody else out there. Why? Not just because he’s honest (that’s part of his rap, as well as his rep), but because he knows, better than anybody else in the business, both how it works and what he’s talking about. How else could he play the whole off the industry like an instrument for the past 25 years, getting laughs through a show that runs (sometimes as long as an epic movie), every day?
Also, his sense of the prevailing political winds, especially as they blow through the broadcast regulatory regime, is extraordinarily acute. We’ve been watching those winds blow through other regimes