Posts about stern

@sternshow: digital farts

Yesterday’s Stern show appearance came because on This Week in Google, we’d made fun of Howard Stern for using Lotus Notes still and Howard’s geek guru, Jeff Schick of IBM, rose up in protest and invited me in to see how the show uses it.

Start with Stern technology: Schick said they they digitize everything — every show, every bit of audio, every press clipping, even everything sent into the show. They scan all the fan mail. They scan dildoes. This adds up to 100 terabytes of data. That’s stored at Howard’s office in New York (outside Sirius) — which is in addition to the audio that’s stored, of course, at Sirius (and backed up in New Jersey), and in addition to the video archives. Howard’s own 100tb is backed up at Howard’s beach house. Howard’s office has a T1 and business-class cable and a direct link to Howard’s apartment, which also has business-class cable, like his beach house (which has CAT5 cable in every all and multiple wi-fi networks for Howard and guests). Serious shit.

On air, I asked Howard whether all this means that fans will someday have access to it. He said yes. I don’t want to read too much into that but I keep hoping that if Stern leaves satellite, he’ll start an internet empire.

I think the economics work: Stern has proven, thanks to his move to Sirius, that his fans, by the millions, will pay $12 a month to hear him. He can charge less online and make more because he’d own it entirely and his cost structure — technology, programming, marketing — would be far less than Sirius’.

The technology isn’t quite there but it will be soon. We fans need to be able to listen to Stern in our cars in the morning. We need to able to listen to the internet. That is possible today. On the way to the show yesterday, I listened to it on my iPhone. (Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone in case Sirius or Apple cuts it off. But it’s legit; I pay for internet access and use my internet password to get access on the phone.) We can listen to shows we buy on our iPods (but it’s better live). I have no doubt the technology will arrive and soon — but soon enough for the end of Stern’s contract in December? We’ll see.

By the way, I also got to see what they’re talking about on the Stern show when they say “Gary Preview Page 2, second column, bottom, in yellow….” It’s Prophet, the Sirius system for storing and playing all audio and at their consoles they go to a page and there are boxes in color; touch the box and it plays.

Now as for Lotus: In their office, Jeff Schick and a colleague generously spent a few hours giving me a tour of what they can do. I’ll concede: It’s impressive. What impressed me is that IBM integrated the functions of the collaborative, social internet — email, Twitter, wikis, LinkedIn, Facebook, Facebook Connect, directories, blogs, calendars, Skype, bookmarks, tagging — in a way that I wish they would all interroperate: click on a name and get everything about them (contact, place, tags, bookmarks); pull together people in calls or calendars just by dragging them; see how people are sharing your documents; see how people are connected….

Only thing is, IBM had to essentially recreate the internet and all these functions to do that, both so they could integrate it all and so that it could operate behind corporate firewalls. We internet snobs make fun of that, but I understand why they do that. But as we talk about how our internet should operate — how open standards for identity, for example, should work — the irony is that we could look at the interlocked IBM platforms to see the promise of it. It’s closed, for a reason, but it shows what an open structure would look like if it operated on truly open standards. I wonder whether there’s an opportunity for IBM to offer these functions at a retail level.

So thanks to Jeff Schick, I got to see Stern’s technology and IBM’s and get onto the show and so I’ll take back my snickers about Notes, most of them.

@sternshow: penises

I finally get into Howard Stern’s studio for the first time and what do we talk about? What else? Small penises. How appropriate.

I was headed in yesterday morning to talk about Lotus Notes vs. Google with Howard’s tech guru, IBM’s Jeff Schick, and get a tour of the studio and its operation. Then Howard invited us in, on the air. We talked geek stuff for a few minutes (more on that later) when Howard asked what I was up to next. I came prepared. I said I was working on a possible book about publicness (new idea) and wanted to talk to him about it. Ask what you have to ask on the air, Howard said. So I asked him whether he had regrets about his public life and about his view that people are better off public. He said he thought his listeners were better off because he was willing to talk about anything, even masturbation and lesbians.

I told Howard that he had cleared the way for me to — even inspired me to — talk about my prostate cancer in public. Howard, of course, cut to the blunt question: “Are you getting it up now?” Answer: no.

We talked about the gory, intimate details of prostate cancer: the strange, “internal” orgasms; the harpoons up the ass for biopsies; the garden hose out of the dick after surgery. The cast groaned at each of these. “You fucking shut me up,” Howard said. I fear I was discouraging men from getting tested when I meant to do the opposite. And Howard acknowledged, as hard as it was, that he, too, would have opted to get the cancer out. Hell, he can’t stand sniffing brass polish on his condo door without thinking he’s getting cancer.

I wish I were funnier and more fun. Over the years, I’ve called into the show about the First Amendment and the FCC, about gadgets and geek stuff, and now about cancer. What a ball of fun I am. Good thing we didn’t talk 9/11.

It was great fun visiting the show. On the air, as a guest, I stood right inside the door, by a wall behind the couch, with a headset and mic on. To my right was Fred and I was delighted the first time he played a sound effect to back up what I was saying. I got Fredded! To my left was Jeff Schick and behind him, behind glass, Robin. Howard sat three-quarters of the way across the studio — quite a distance — in his command center, looking a little gaunt (too much exercise, I’d say), and beyond him was the Wheel of Sex and the Gary puppet and all that.

As soon as the show went to break, folks walked into the studio, Howard chatted a bit, and I left him to his work. Outside the studio. Steve Langford of Howard 100 News held his mic in front of me sucking quotes out with his puppy-dog silences. They take video. They get releases.

And then Jeff and I toured, meeting Scott the Engineer, Sal and RIchard (so polite), the Howard TV folks, and more. The amazingly nice Gary Dell’Abate and I talked gadgets. What impresses me is just how nice these folks are. Makes you want to work there, even with the ball-busting.

LATER: Howard talked about prostate cancer again this morning after having obsessed on it last night: “I was so upset for him. And then of course, it turned to me and I have cancer…. Seems to me that doctors ought to sit down and figure out how to remove prostate cancer without removing a guy’s boner…. Every male on the planet should be donating money to prostate cancer research….

“I just had a bad day with that. Every day seems like a bad day to me because everything drives me nuts.”

They’re b-a-a-a-ck

Hilarious. Just mention a rumor of Howard Stern replacing Simon Cowell on American Idol and the so-called Parents Television Council rears its head again. Haven’t heard from them in a while — have we? — because they and their coconspirators at the FCC succeeded in making broadcast TV and radio into dull, flavorless tapioca. But getting rid of Stern didn’t help the PTC because they used him to scare their constituency and raise money. And that’s why they’re eagerly chomping into this rumor — spread by Stern himself — even though he has not appeared on broadcast and has not said one four-letter word. Putting out a press release reveals their true motives.

“Given ‘American Idol’s’ extreme popularity with family audiences, I hope that Fox will put the rumors to rest and announce that it has no intention of adding to the show one of the most profane, sexually explicit and anti-family performers in the history of the broadcast medium — either as a guest or as a judge,” PTC President Tim Winter said in a statement Wednesday. “Unless Stern intends to undergo some sort of moth-to-butterfly metamorphosis — though in his case the change would be more like rattlesnake-to-Labrador Retriever — adding him to ‘American Idol’ would spell immediate death for one of the best franchises in American family entertainment.” . . .

“Fox should move immediately to repudiate these rumors and instead commit publicly to keeping ‘American Idol’ safe for family viewing,” Winter said.

They even made a petition to protest a rumor. Idle hands….

For old time’s sake, here’s my exclusive reporting on the lie of FCC indecency fines: how the Parents Television Council manufactured the “uproar” that led to what was then the largest fine in FCC history: only three people bothered to actually write complaints and only a few score bothered to hit the PTC’s complaint machine button. The Parents Television Council speaks for no one but its banker.

: When Howard talked about Ellen Degeneres threatening to quit — oh, please — if he came on, I called into the show this morning.