Dump the dump button

Howard Stern announced this morning that he’s going to air his TV show — which just went off E! — on cable via paid In Demand Networks once he starts on Sirius in January. Fans will get unlimited access to Stern video for another monthly fee. FMQB has the details.

The FCC and the church ladies made this happen. E! said it could no longer air Stern for fear of regulation (read: censorship). The last safe haven from the nannies is to run behind a pay wall.

Now you have to pay for free speech in America.

  • Um…I believe that, since E! is a cable-TV channel, you already had to pay to watch Howard’s free speech. Now you’ll just have to pay someone different, at a different rate, for it.

  • Duneview

    Subscribers to Rush Limbaugh.Com also pay for access to daily videos of his radio show, but he was not driven behind the wall by church ladies or the FCC and unlike your hero, he still chooses to broadcast over the free airwaves.

    This is not free speech, it’s free enterprise and to paint Howard as a victim while he reaches into his fans pockets is beyond silly.

  • Jim Dermitt

    What’s up with that? E! wasn’t free as James points out, plus Stern says sat radio is the future. He seems to be promoting the subscription thing, which is fine with me. I happen to think the cable package deal will be toast soon. Maybe you will be able to buy just the channels you want, instead of paying for 90 channels to get the 20 that you want. They could just give away on demand service and you could pay as you watch and get billed based on use. You could also change your channel subscription at will. My cable line is dead. I’d use it, but I don’t want what they think I want. I know what I want. Instead of renting a DVD, the cable is perfect for delivering content services such as movies. They want to sell this big package deal and I’d rather use the video store. Cable could give Stern his own channel and let people choose if they want his stuff. Stern could declare cable dead and start stern.tv. from his own studio, which is just speculation. When distribution costs are low, the budget for content creation is higher. Content worth buying is expensive to produce and bandwidth is going down in price. I don’t mind renting a movie for three bucks and it costs $14 Million to produce. Stern has low content production costs and with cheap distribution channels all he needs to do is sit there and talk and get people to pay him for listening. It’s not my idea of entertainment, but people will pay for it so let him do his thing. Maybe the new new thing will be Howard Stern Live, like a concert venue with Stern on stage with a live audience. He could sell DVD’s and broadcast his live show. It would be the Howard Stern Tour. He can do what he wants. It’s a free country.

  • whodat

    oh please. quit degrading freedom of speech and save the argument for those who actually need it. What next–arguing that we should be allowed to yell fire in a theater?

  • Jeff Stockwell

    Jeff, this has nothing to do with “censorship”. This has to do with Howard being a big drama queen and E! having no balls. FX has several programs with coarse language and partial nudity and no one has said “boo” about it. They’re on in appropriate timeslots and aimed at an appropriate audience. E! could very easily have taken away the pixels and the bleeps and it would have been just fine. But Howard wouldn’t be able to NOT crow about showing lezzzbians and boobies on the TV. Of course he would be doing it in morning drive, encouraging 13 year-olds to sneak downstairs or secretly TiVo the show. Some parents would have objection to this (as is their right) and complain to radio stations, TV stations and the like (which is THEIR right of free speech). Howard could have exactly what he (and you) wants, but he’s such a flipping media-whore that he must have EVERYONE looking directly at HIM 24/7. Then he gets upset when some folks don’t like what they see. Everyone needs to grow up.

  • Stephen_M

    Hey! I’m all for Jeff’s version of Free Speech. It is purely and clearly suppressive that I must pay money to watch Howie spank a woman’s bare heinie with enough gusto so that I can also watch her bare boobies jiggle. But why does Jeff stop there? The last movie I went to cost me $9.00. And I feel the Free Speech suppression. And the “I paid for a seat in an air conditioned room” argument doesn’t cut it. Not anymore. I mean I had to sit through half an hour of commercials before the movie even started. Which, doesn’t that make it the same as (or worse) ‘free’ TV?

  • Jim Dermitt

    He has a deal with In Demand. http://www.indemand.com/
    Howard Stern has found a new home on television. http://www.indemand.com/HSOD/index.jsp

    The big wheel keep turning around. In demand, on demand pod demand, you can barely keep up with it all. You can use http://mytv.controlyourtv.org/setup/
    Cable puts you in control now. I guess the monopolies are all going to just be dead now. You can’t kill free speech and not die in the process. There isn’t much demand for censorship in the United States. It’s not good business either. A confident consumer is a good consumer. Cable is pretty crappy and has too change. It sort of reminds me of the big steel industry collapse. Management just killed the entire industry by committee. The same thing happened with the Savings & Loan industry. They both went from total control to totally out of control. It’s not like cable has been this totally honest industry over the years, looking out for the consumer. They seem to want to be the TV, telephone, Internet, high speed, movie and everything else industry. History has a record of consolidation followed by collapse in all industries. Just look at the Time AOL deal, USS-Marathon or pick your own deal or just look at the history of airline mergers and the modern airline industry with folding pensions, reduced wages and huge losses. Competition works well. That’s capitalism, which seems sort of unpopular for some reason. Lack of confidence?

    “Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime . . . .” — Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, dissenting Ginzberg v. United States, 383 U.S. 463 (1966)
    Source: http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/firstamendment/firstamendment.htm

  • Ben in Boston

    The point is that just because E! didn’t want to air it doesn’t mean another free outlet does not exist that would show it. Stern is _choosing_ to put it on a non-free medium in the end. If he wanted to to be free he’d look for another free outlet. To link this to free speech is ludicrous.

  • Jeff in Connecticut

    Overheard at the satellite radio section at a local Best Buy:
    “Which of the satellite radio services is Howard Stern going to be on; Sirius or XM?”
    “I’ll take XM, then. I don’t want to hear Howard Stern even by accident”

  • Charlie (Colorado)

    Uh, Jeff? Did you get E! for free? basic cable costs me about $30 a month.

    I don’t get internet for free either, it costs me something like $50 a month.

    Magazines cost me $4-$5 each (except some of them, up to $20 each.)

    What ARE you talking about here, jeff?

  • I think Howard Stern should make a pitch to become a module on Al Gore’s Current TV network.

  • Of course Stern’s promoting subscription radio you morons. He’s going to be on it! You’d think it’d be only natural that he’d want people to tune in. But he wouldn’t have done it at all if sanctimonious censors hadn’t forced him out of regular radio. Meanwhile, Rush calls our Iraq vets “staff pukes” and stays on the air. Why do Republicans hate America? Why do they hate freedom?

  • Mike

    And you know something, a couple of months ago I tried to walk into a Bruce Springsteen concert, but they wouldn’t let me in. Can you believe that? They actually wanted me to pay to listen to his speech. Then I stopped by a convenience store and the clerk had the audacity to stop me when I walked out with a Boston Globe! He said I had to pay for it, what about free speech I said. He said sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

    Sheesh Jeff, stop being Howard’s little bitch, you’re never going to be his friend.

  • Jim Dermitt

    Information keeps getting more expensive as the cost of distribution goes to almost zero. The entire Internet is turning into one giant spam blob. Once the cablecos get done with it, it should be 3X more expensive and totally censored in the name of we know best. With monopoly control, the whole thing should become a digital banana republic. The only hope might be wireless which is harder to control than a bunch of wires and servers. UHF was killed, so everybody could use a set top box when you had an 82 channel tuner built into the receiver. I’m all for public wi-fi, but it appears this is not expensive enough of a technology to create enough problems yet and make life easier for the we have this all fixed now corporate crowd. The way things don’t work now, will make things more expensive in the future. I’ve noticed public libraries around here have Net machines, but no wireless access. You have to go to Starbucks for coffee to use wi-fi. What if you don’t like coffee? I saw a library selling coffee, so go figure.

  • Mike

    But he wouldn’t have done it at all if sanctimonious censors hadn’t forced him out of regular radio.

    Yeah, that $100 million he got from Sirius had nothing to do with it!

  • You guys leave Howard alone, he has a good wholesome show. Lets be honest if he charges for it, then does not have to censor anything. You too can see it all.

  • Todd

    E! made the decision because they thought they could make more money with other programs either through higher ratings or lower costs. Nothing on Stern’s E! show was even close to being as edgy as the stuff on FX or Comedy Central – the spin about his show being dropped due to censorship has no basis in fact. It’s really pathetic how dishonest Howard Stern has become (and this has nothing to do with his recent political leanings – I voted for Kerry) – let’s not forget that he has claimed that Sirius now has over 3 million subscribers when it just came out in their earnings that they have half that number. He’s claimed that he will be the first high profile show to go to satalite when in fact Opie and Anthony have been on XM exclusively since last October. Howard has really become a fraud.

  • Jervis, you’d spend the extra dough every month to watch that guy who gets turned on by having women vomit on him? That’s a great example for your kids.

    There was a blogger journalist who was murdered in Iraq on a free speech issue, but you don’t talk about that. All you care about is skank media.

    You’ll see how fast people forget about Stern when he goes behind the cash curtain.

    Your blog is getting too damn corporate and boring. When you’re not rambling, you’re quoting someone else to no end. Quit recycling your rants and come up with something new. I’ve gone back to reading instapoondat–it’s that bad!

  • Jim Dermitt

    There is more money out there than there is brains. Save your money, dump the cable or don’t complain you are getting screwed.

  • To People Who Say This Isn’t a Free Speech Issue:

    Congress is considering extending indecency regulations to cable:


    Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has gone back-and-forth on this, but the threat looms.

    It’s why Howard Stern is getting more gripes from management about the raunchy content of his E! show; to give Congress one less incentive to pass an awful law extending indecency regulations to cable.

    This is a Free Speech issue. Pressure from Congress is driving events, and making content less accessible.

  • John

    The FCC and the church ladies made this happen. E! said it could no longer air Stern for fear of regulation (read: censorship). The last safe haven from the nannies is to run behind a pay wall.

    Now you have to pay for free speech in America.

    Yep, I remember the good old days back in the 1960s and early 70s when shows like Gunsmoke, Ed Sullivan and Andy Griffith just were able to curse up a storm on regular TV, until the FCC crackdown under Nixon forced all the R and X-rated language and images off free TV and onto HBO. Then everybody had to pay to see and hear what they used to get for free with just a pair of rabbit ears on top of the set. Yep, those were the good old days…

  • Why was Howie a big fan of hauling in pay-per-view cash during the Clinton administration? Were the big bad wepubwicans forcing him to sell videotapes of the 90s classic “Butt Bongo Fiesta” instead of airing it on network primetime where it belonged?

    I continue to be mildly fannish of Stern’s humor, but I also find the naive acceptance of this thin cover embarrassing. It’s sort of like watching a monkey who likes bananas making a grab for a bigger pile of bananas while crying that the giraffes are making him do it. “Bad giraffes!” sez JJ.

  • jeff,

    your blog shows the dark side of having lots of traffic. the more popular you are, the more idiots flaunt their ignorance on your comments.

    todd was close.

    E! did think that it could make more money without Stern. not because E! was paying Stern very much for their #1, #2, #3, and #4 rated shows – but for three reasons

    1) they were petrified that they would be fined, inappropriately, for something that the FCC found fineable that had never been fined before

    2) they were uninterested in the co$t involved in challenging a “blumpkin”-type faux fine in court, because even if they won, it would be a long and expensive trial, where, as your commentors are so heartilly demonstrating, they might be perceived as not defending the first ammendment, the safe harbor clause, or the fact that on pay tv they shouldnt even have to worry about the FCC.

    3) because of the right-wing censorship frenzy, supported, in part by the idiots like those who haunt your comments, E! and their parent company Comcast, are occasionally seen as softcore porn channel because of stern’s popular program, and are therefore given a chill effect by sponsors on their other programs like True Hollywood Story.

    it may not be a direct infringement on Stern’s first amendment rights, but with nobody on the Left defending him, the Right (who used to be all about small-government and pro-business) get to have their way with his radio show which freaks out the tv people.

    subtlety isnt something guys like carsonfire really major in, and sadly he represents the lowest common denominator out there, not intellects who understand that boobies dont equal the end of the world.

    yes, E! could have aired stern uncut the same way comedy central lets South Park say shit. but comcast is not viacom politically, artistically, or any other way. theres a reason why comedy central has the rich, edgy, programming that it has and comcast censors things on the stern show that wasnt even censored on radio.

    sterns rights were not directly impeded but the climate that exists for him in 2005, a climate that could totally evaporate if this administration was put in check, has forced him to higher ground.

    oprah can talk about anal/oral sex at 3pm, south park can say shit 100+ times at 9pm, but howard cant show the outline of a nipple through a sheer blouse at 1am on E!

    justice is not blind. the playing field is not level. and despite whether or not you like what he has to say, and despite how much sat radio paid him to bring the masses to this new format, howard stern deserved to have his show remain at E! but he was forced out.

    funny how some people can be all “we’re liberating iraq!” and be oblivious and proudly apathetic to the censoring of america by faux religious conservative zealotry.

  • Pat Patterson

    Maybe, just maybe, Howard Stern’s show was boring and E! simply didn’t want to pay the King of all Media what he thought the show was worth. Besides all the interesting bits, as Eric Idle said, weren’t visible anyway.

  • maybe just maybe you dont know the first thing about howard, E!, or the fact that his show was number one on the station.

    maybe just maybe you should stay out of discussions that maybe just maybe you dont know squat about.

  • Well said, Tony. While most of the uninformed posters here instinctively write anti-Stern screeds every time Jeff writes anything about him, you actually bring some facts to the table – most important of which is that Howard was the #1 show on the E! network and they are removing it from their airwaves due to content which religious folks deem inappropriate. That should be chilling to any American interested in freedom, but unfortunately it seems that there’s a huge contingent of Americans more interested in regulation than freedom. Stunning really.

  • Eric S

    This thread is pathetic, for everyone involved in it, because everyone-pro stern and anti stern- are wrong about one thing or another or is missing one point or another.”removing it from their airwaves” is not accurate. They’re still going to be showing old episodes, probably forever. This leads to an obvious point. E!’s trouble was Stern was moving to satellite, without rules. Stern without rules would make for horrible basic cable programming, even with the most modest amounts of editing. So they made the smart move and let go of it.

    Zoloft, for everyone, please.

  • whodat

    “E! and their parent company Comcast, are occasionally seen as softcore porn channel because of stern’s popular program, and are therefore given a chill effect by sponsors on their other programs like True Hollywood Story.”

    Um, ok, so? They aren’t soft porn? With Wild on this and Wild on that and mosaics of drunken girls showing their breasts? Everyone wants to blame this on religious nuts and wedge it into the free speech category. There need to be decency standards. Unfortunately, after a massive dormant period, the FCC is trying to make up for lost time. Why can’t we just get together and decide on some fair standards? Pay cable shouldn’t be absolved from this, but they should be very light. As for prime time and regular tv, we definitely need some better standards. TV is harmful for kids, and not every parent is home to police their viewing.

    So love Stern or not (I simply lean toward his schtick is old and now boring), it’s not his fredom of speech that is being stunted–he’s taking it to a new place.

  • Bill

    I would list all the words that I’ve heard on reruns of “All In The Family” in the middle of the day that get bleeped on Howard’s E! show at 11 pm, but I wouldn’t want to offend anyone or make this site unsafe for children. Maybe FX has less censoring going on, but it’s not like Howard could snap his fingers and have his show suddenly appear there.
    And yes, Howard’s show was one of if not the highest rated show on E!.
    Sometimes I really don’t get these arguments – Chris Rock puts out HBO specials, DVDs, and CDs that you have to pay money for. Why is no one telling him to tone down the language and just appear on basic cable? I honestly would rather pay $10 for a month of Howard Stern television shows that $15.00 for one hour long Chris Rock CD. Must make me nuts.

  • whodat,

    you really need to do your homework.

    when you pay for something, like even “basic” cable, there doesnt need to be the same “decency standards” as free over-the-air broadcast.

    cable networks volentarilly comply somewhat, not because theyre sweet angels, but because they would rather self-police cable, than have the FCC and congress expand their reach to include cable.

    think about it. if the government is allowed to regulate the things that you pay for, how is cable tv any different than magazines, dvds, or the internet. the reason that theyre allowed to regulate free tv is because thats, in theory, the people’s spectrum. cable is not.

    therefore howard at 11pm on cable should be the safest time ever for him to interview strippers and all the people that he talks with. and you and i, as adults who have paid for that signal to come into our homes, should technically be allowed to see it un-blurred. E! and other basic cable channels dont mosaic those boobies because of the FCC as much as they do it to appease their advertisers who are often berated by religious and faux-religious groups if they sponsor adult-material (despite the fact that the majority of america are adults – and nipples and penis jokes have never been proven to injur anyone – even children).

    E! didnt renew Stern because of his upcoming move to Sirius. if they were interested in him they could have chosen to continue to censor him the same way theyve done for the last 13 years. they might have to bleep a few more words, but if anything, because of his move to pay-radio, E!’s ratings for Stern would have only increased for those curious about what he was doing on Sirius. not every one of Stern’s fans will follow him to satelite radio, but they would have definately tuned into E! to see what they were missing.

    E! didnt renew Stern because they didnt want to be unfairly fined by the FCC and they didnt like the negative stigma attatched to the lightening bolt that comes with the Stern personae. not just because it affects their image, but because advertisers in this climate are not eager to also be attatched to controversy, even if its on a top rated show.

    and no E! wont show the stern show forever

    and no E! isnt wild on this and wild on that.

    wild on has been canceled for close to two years now.

    must everyone flaunt their ignorance on this thread?

  • Eric S

    umm Wild On has been on fairly frequently. Looking at the schedule, a new episode of Wild On will be premeiring next week with Tara Reid.

    I’ll come back in 5 years when E! is showing 4 episodes of Stern on Saturday mornings.

  • tim wg

    Freedom of Speech for Howard Stern is an argument for his right to make plenty of dough. You can see your smut. Just play for it.

    Stern is a virtual billboard for porn. So he will get the same treatment. How is that censorship?

    I think a bigger infringment of free speech is…

    1. Self censorship of the Mainstream Media to intentionally omit Conservative viewpoints.

    2. Campaign finance reform makes it difficult for the Political Parties to get their view across. Thirty party unlimited involvement is despicable.

    3. ACLU lawsuits that restrict on freedom of speech.

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