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April 11, 2006

Now for Something Completely Different?

Ooh, I just knew something like this was going to happen to Howard Stern's new Sirus show.

See, my theory is that Howard is so megalomaniacally obsessed with "killing" terrestrial radio that he chooses to ignore/disbelieve there could be any downside. As I see it, he will need to change his tactics to account for the following problematic terms of his new pay-per-listen gig;

1) As perhaps portended by the Carmen Electra case above, a few cancelled contracts here and there due to an appearance on the Stern show will cause many more A-list celebs to shun the venue. The way I see it, Carmen's actions on the show were no doubt a result of thinking "Oh, it's the Howard Stern Show, whatever they ask me to do in the studio must be okay, because there's always decency standards and stuff that regulate what's being broadcast."

Yes, a savvy agent/manager on the premises should perhaps have intervened, but the inverse of this has always been part of the fun of the show; celebs drop by to say "hi" in breezy, informal fashion, giving a sense that they don't have to be excessively managed at all - the radio censors and the station reps will take care of it if its too far out there... Not so anymore! So instead of dropping by breezily, celebs more-and-more have to look at an HSS appearance as something that needs to be heavily managed, and so will be less inclined. "Uh, you say anything can happen while my client is on the show? Hmm, no thanks!"

2) It's impossible to listen to Howard at work any more. Same logic. I've never listened at work, but I'm sure there are many who did so with the assurance that it was a safe bet because truly "indecent" material will never be allowed over the air. At least there was a sense that work listening could be defended against attacks by coworkers / boss / etc. Now its bye-bye to that audience.

Those are two big reasons Howard's show actually benefitted from regulation. Plus it was fun to listen to him being outrageous because we all had a feeling he was "putting one over" on the man, getting away with edgy content. Well, now who's he putting one over on? Nobody? Oh, Ho-humm then...

And another non-regulatory issue; how many Stern show listeners were "accidental" listeners like me, who just happened to have an alarm clock with a radio in it? Now its just too much bother to go sign up for a contract and shell out for the expensive equipment... Yes, Howard, I'm lazy like that! Especially since from time to time I have to tune out the show for a couple months because I can't stand the "carpet bomb the Middle East" rants he gets into sometimes.