Thursday, May 14, 2015
My thoughts on Howard Stern
I continued to listen that afternoon and instantly became a fan. Yes, he was audacious, even shocking at times, but what impressed me more was this: He was genuinely funny and very very smart.
We all know his rise to fame. He's the self-proclaimed King of All Media. Eventually he did mornings, surrounded himself with a gaggle of co-hosts, and was syndicated in markets around the country. One was LA and I became a loyal listener. He remained fearless, fighting at the time, the FCC. Add balls to funny and smart.
And then in 2006 he left “terrestrial” radio for satellite radio. What he lost in listeners he more than made up for in money. And he got the FCC off his back.
As much as I enjoyed Howard I didn’t enjoy him enough to switch from XM radio to Sirius and pay extra to receive his channel.
Side note: Howard gave his terrestrial home (CBS radio) about a year’s notice. And the best they could do was replace him with David Lee Roth. That’s the New Coke of radio decisions.
Even when the two satellite companies merged (thus screwing up XM’s far superior programming) I still didn’t feel the need to pay extra to rejoin Howard. I had commercial-free music, baseball, and traffic conditions for Dallas/Ft. Worth. Who needed any more?
But recently I got a new car. (I know. How come I haven’t posted fifty photos of it on Facebook so I could get a bunch of likes?) It came with a three-month free trial of Sirius/XM that included the Howard Stern channel.
So for the past week (“You’ve had the car a WEEK and haven’t posted photos? What is WRONG with you?”) I’ve had the chance to reconnect with Howard. All I can say is what a pleasure. It had been so long I had forgotten just how good he is.
I am forever amazed that he can be on the air for four hours or five hours (I have no idea how many he does a day – I’m not sure he knows) and still be consistently entertaining. I had trouble filling four hours and that was WITH records. He and his crew just talk. And often make me laugh. (So what if I’m never proud of myself for what I’m laughing at?)
On Tuesday he interviewed James Taylor and I don't think a therapist could have gotten more out of James than Howard.
I only met Howard once, very briefly. We attended a Bar Mitzvah together. So it’s not like I’m pimping a friend. Nor do I ever expect I’ll be invited on his show if I ever have a book or play to promote. But as comedy professional (I’ll allow myself that) I do like to occasionally salute other comedy professionals who I feel are tops in their field… and who I can appreciate free on a trial basis.