Monday, January 09, 2006

I Hesitate to Comment

It didn't take Howard Stern long to take advantage of the lack of federal oversight on satellite radio broadcasts to utter the f-word. While I wasn't listening myself, reports of his "right off the bat" expletive are all over the internet. Of course today was his first day on the Sirius satellite after many years of pandering to the masses interested in sleaze on the airwaves of broadcast radio.

I hate to talk about Stern, even to the smallish audience of my blog, because every time somebody mentions his name, his cash register rings. And I don't want to be a party to that. Stern has been the "anti-Christ" to my vision of what a good broadcaster should be for as long as I can remember. But give the guy credit for finding a way to make radio pay off in a big way for himself. He has always been about shock and money. And there will always be those who run broadcasting facilities who will give someone like him a chance to make a fool of himself in order to guarantee a revenue stream.

If someone wants to pay the $13 monthly fee to Sirius for the opportunity to hear Stern talk about body parts, downgrade guests (particularly women), and use the f-word every other sentence, well I guess that's their prerogative. I suppose listening to Stern while watching porn, drinking a morning beer, and thumbing through a Penthouse is attractive to a sizeable audience. I thought people stopped giggling at that kind of stuff around their eighteenth birthday, but perhaps I overestimate the intelligence of the population.

It seems like the effort to make money by dumbing down the world will always be there in one form or another. I have long expected this kind of radio to eventually become passe'. But, it seems that each time someone graduates from the Stern show to a less juvenile radio diet, another person or two succumbs to the attraction of the "dark side". Make no mistake about it, Stern attempts to portray himself as someone providing a legitimate service to listeners, and as a "thinking man". But, from where I sit, it's all part of the act.

My question now is, how much, and how severe, of this kind of product will be tolerated on satellite until someone steps in and tries to stop it? I have to believe if Stern, and other shockers like him, start crossing over into actual behavior control of their audiences, and someone gets hurt in some way, that the issue is going to come up in Washington again. You know that one of the satellite jocks is going to try something that goes past the edge of the envelope some time soon.

George Takei, "Sulu" on Star Trek, now an announcer on the Stern show, said today "the revolution has begun". I believe that to be true. It takes someone of the magnitude and popularity of Stern on pay-radio to set the wheels in motion. But, which way will this new movement go? I believe the age-old censorship debate is about to start all over again. Probably sooner than later.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Stern's move to satellite can be likened to the debut of HBO or MTV or just cable in general. The listener spike will smooth out and level off in time. Howard not only re-invented himself with satellite, he marketed himself by doing the 60 minute piece with Ed Bradley. If he is guilty of anything it is using the money machine to is advantage, he (or someone close to him) saw the possibilities and the vistas that awaited him if he only took the chance. Yes his material is the fuel for most 16 year old males, but don't you think that there is a little bit of that in all males? Sometimes it just isn't fun being an adult all the time.

Anonymous said...

It is always popular to beat up on the guy at the top. It's why we pick on the President, hate Bill Gates and why everyone called the smartest kid in class the nerd.

From everything I heard from people that actually listened to the show, Howard rarely used the F word. Even saying "this move is not about just being able to cuss"

Although, his co-workers were having a hay day with it. The excitement of being able to say "F" this and that will wear off eventually.

I'm not a huge fan of Stern's show either. I'm not offended by any of it, it's just not my thing.

Like most big time personalities, I would bet Howard is nothing off the air like his is on the radio. It's a "show". So, I'd give him a break. But then again, like I said.. everybody wants to beat up on the guy on top.

Anonymous said...

He said wh-wh-wh-WHAT?! Horrors! Cover your virgin ears.

I guess you didn't read USA Toady today (I think I'll let that typo stay).

Howard Stern is funny. 90% of his clones are not. Like you, I wish there were less of them. Unlike you, I have a sense of humor.

I wish there were less of you too. However, I wouldn't mandate less of you, even if I could.

While the T&A on Stern's show get's a little old, I still appreciate a little (or even a large) T&A. If you don't appreciate T&A I say you're a liar, you're a prude, or you are repressing something. Probably all three. In any case, I don't want some stuffed-shirt telling me what I can and cannot or should or shouldn't listen to. I'll make up my own mind and spend my own money, thank you very much.

Censor yourself.

(Only posting anonymously because I don't have an account.)

Tommy said...

First of all Mr. Anonymous 3, I didn't recommend censorship, as you should have understood had you been able to comprehend what I wrote. I merely indicated that when one of the new satellite hosts takes his act too far, someone (probably someone much more conservative than me) will want to talk about government restrictions on their shows. And just because I don't care for Stern's act, doesn't mean I am less of a man than anyone else. So spare me the dime-store psychology. You don't know me, and because you are anonymous, I certainly don't know you. As for Stern being funny, from what I've seen, he's usually funny at the expense of others. If you consider that real comedy, you're welcome to it. I'm merely suggesting that people have more respect for themselves than to eat a steady diet of his brand of so-called entertainment.

Anonymous said...

Let's see, you are commenting on a show you admit you didn't listen to. Say what you will about Stern, there is no other radio broadcasters that can approach his success. Apparently Mr. Stern is a better judge of what the audience wants than you are.

Anonymous said...

Comedy at the expense of others??

Almost ALL friggin comedy is at the expense of others!! Have you never seen a monologue from Letterman, Leno or Johnny Carson??

I'm NOT a fan of Stern's show... again, because its just not my thing. But, I do know that he takes care of his people... even if they are retarded, have speech problems, etc. You don't think that their quality of life hasnt improved ten fold because they are on the Stern show? Of course it has!

As for the guy that said he likes T & A... lol I agree -- of course every guy likes that. Well, the straight ones anyway. And, don't go on about degrading women.... because if the women werent up for it, they wouldnt show up at his studio.

Anonymous said...

Tom, I was always surprised you got much play out out of Belleville. It is a joke to hear you even comment about a talent that so far smokes your lack of talent in small town America! Used car sales calls your name!

Tommy said...

Well, Stern has his loyal subjects doesn't he?

When did I advertise myself as King of All Media? I don't recall trying to put myself on the map like that? Do I really deserve your sniper shots? If it makes you feel better, fire away. I'm just expressing an opinion.

By the way, I realize comedy, particularly satire, is at the expense of others. But, you must have never seen Red Skelton, Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, or the Three Stooges who were masters of comedy that poked fun at themselves. Much of Stern's comedy is mean-spirited and vicious like these last few posts.

My name is on this blog. Put your name on your post and I'll give it some credence.

Anonymous said...

I didn't recommend censorship . . .

Yes, you did. If not explicitly, then intimately, to coin a few T&A phrases.

I merely indicated that when one of the new satellite hosts takes his act too far I merely indicated that when one of the new satellite hosts takes his act too far, someone (probably someone much more conservative than me) will want to talk about government restrictions on their shows.

. . . and. So what? Am I supposed to believe someone as conservative as you wouldn't FAVOR those restrictions? Keep talking. The more you talk, the better this gets.

A few F-bombs aren't getting anyone killed although they may bruise your delicate sensibilites.

I would be willing to bet that you are no less vulgar, either in thought or action, than Howard Stern is on any given day.

I've had quite a few conservative, good-christian friends. None of them are/were any less willing to indulge debauchery than any of the infidels I've known, including me. The difference between us would only be in the level of demonstrable hypocracy.

If there's anything more despicable than an f-bomb uttered in public, it's an f-bomb uttered under the breath of someone who points fingers at the f-bombers while claiming the moral high ground.

How's that for dime-store psychology? Comprendo?

[b]As for Stern being funny, from what I've seen, he's usually funny at the expense of others. If you consider that real comedy, you're welcome to it.[/b]

Thanks, I'll take it. Don't you try to take it from me.

I'm merely suggesting that people have more respect for themselves than to eat a steady diet of his brand of so-called entertainment.

On this we agree. Anyone who listens to Stern without letup will most-definatley suffer some degree of brain damage. Then again, anyone who listens to Fallwell or Calhoun without letup will most-definately suffer the same. Personally, I enjoy Jack Benny reruns as much as I enjoy Howard Stern. I have a well develpoed appreciation for, and appreciation of comedy/life. Life is laughter (ahhhh, isn't that nice. My Hallmark moment). All things in small doses. Some funny people make a living out of dropping bombs. That's their job. Sometimes I like it. Sometimes I don't. Nevertheless, I want to be able to access it all the time, on my own dime.

Do I really deserve your sniper shots?

!? Yes. You made yourself a target (and you question MY comprehension abilty?). You are entitled to shoot back. Please do. So far you're shooting Maggies Drawers. Try full-auto, maybe you'll score one out of a fifty round drum.

Red Skelton, Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, or the Three Stooges

Which one of those old guys broke your comedy barometer? Lenny Bruce?

Much of Stern's comedy is mean-spirited and vicious like these last few posts.

Welcome to the internet.

My name is on this blog. Put your name on your post and I'll give it some credence.

My name is Scott. If you want to discuss this stuff personally just let me know. I aint afraid of no post. (I just don't feel like registering, this not has already taken too long.)

Anonymous said...

Howard Stern DOES poke fun at himself!! lol Again, you don't listen to his show so it strikes me as absurd that you'd try and have a conversation about him.

He is always saying how unattractive he is, how horrible he is in bed, and the list goes on and on.

I've seen the performers that you mentioned. HOWEVER, that was a different time. I would really doubt that any of those performers if they started today, would succeed in this new world.

You can embrace the changes going on in the world today, or you can choose to be left behind. Up to you. Personally, I choose not to keep living in the past.

And, my name is Chris. I agree... registering is a waste of time.

Randy Raley said...

Jeez, Tom HOW DARE YOU make an opinion of someone on YOUR website? How totally rudy and insensitive of you. I think Howard is an ass and basically told the medium that made him a VERY wealthy man to screw off. How's that for loyalty, huh? There's a friend you'd like to have eh? Howard is about Howard and that's fine. This experiment will last, I say, roughly five years. If Howrad is so sure of this move then why in the world did he just dump all of his Sirius stock (valued at $200 million)? Shouldn't he hold on to it? It's gotta be worth more in the future huh? Howard, take your millions, move to satellite and be happy, but please shut yer pie hole about how badly you were treated by terrestrial radio, spare me.

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