Mar 102004
Authors: Gabriel Dance

This past Friday, Howard Stern predicted his own national radio

program demise. Stern, known for everything from paying for women’s

breast implants to having a repeating guest known as “Gary the

Retard,” has consistently pushed the limit of the First Amendment


“The show is over. It’s over,” Stern announced Friday morning on

his show.

If Stern’s prediction does in fact come true, he will be missed

and I will be one of those who will miss him.

Clear Channel Radio has preempted Stern from six stations in

Rochester, N.Y., Fort Lauderdale Fla., Orlando Fla., San Diego,

Pittsburgh and Louisville, Kan. following comments made by a

listener during an interview with Rick Salomon-the same Rick

Salomon who performs on a homemade video with none other than yes,

Paris Hilton. Salomon just seems to keep popping up in

controversial situations, doesn’t he?

Anyhow, a listener called into the show, made a racial slur and

some offensive sexual comments. Is it OK to have that stuff on the

air? No, because the airwaves are free and can be accessed by

children and others who are either too young or stupid to take what

Stern says with a grain of salt. Was it anything more than what

Stern has done in the past? No, it’s just part of a Federal

Communications Commissions crackdown that began steamrolling after

we learned that nipple shields are not just protection for say

She-Ra, Princess of Power.

Stern faces an interesting dilemma due to the nature of his

medium. The radio broadcast waves belong to the people of the U.S.

and can be accessed, free of charge, by anybody within the range of

a given signal. This makes it possible for children and idiots to

be offended by Stern’s antics. Unfortunately, idiots seem to

pervade the FCC, Clear Channel and the rest of the nation.

Just because the government said there were weapons of mass

destruction doesn’t mean I believed them. Mel Gibson’s father

implying that the holocaust was exaggerated makes me grimace at his

ignorance, but I don’t think he should be gagged. And Howard Stern

recently noting the irony of him looking like Jesus being

persecuted really is laughable. I am not offended by him comparing

himself to Jesus, I’m simply amused.

What really is ironic, however, is the timing of Clear Channel’s

decision to pull Stern from the air. The decision came the day

before John Hogan, head of Clear Channel Radio, was scheduled to

testify before a congressional subcommittee hearing on broadcast

indecency. Clear Channel Communications has what many would call a

mutually beneficial, “I’ll scratch yours,” relationship with the

Bush Administration. These ties cannot be overlooked.

In the end, Stern is – after everything else – only one guy.

Sure a lot of people listen to his radio show, but I’d like to give

the American public a little more credit than it would seem Clear

Channel or the FCC does. When I was a child I didn’t want to listen

to Howard Stern, and even if I did, my folks wouldn’t have gone for

it. By the time I was a teen-ager I had gained the ability to

separate what somebody said from what I did. Stern kept me

entertained for an entire summer at the worst office job ever. Now

that I’m an adult I appreciate that our country was founded on free

speech and Howard Stern, although loud, crass and objectionable, is

just saying what’s on his mind. And that’s alright by me.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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