Ratspeak

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Howard Stern... Enemy of the State?

Okay, so usually I am pretty quick to discount Howard Stern's "everyone is out to get me" paranoid ranting as a by-product of his megalomania. The fact is, the man is inordinately talented (whether that talent lends itself to an area you can appreciate or not), and has the listeners and ratings to prove it. But he is also an egomaniac. I don't think he could be as succesful as he is if he weren't. He has signed a 5-year, $500 Million contract with Sirius Satellite Radio to move over there as soon as his contract with Viacom-owned Infinity Broadcasting is up at the end of the year.

Now, satellite radio has been on the scene for years, and the FCC has never tried to police its content. In early April of 2005, new FCC boss Kevin Martin said that satellite radio needs to start policing its own content so the FCC doesn't have to. I suppose it's possible that this is just coincidental timing, but it does seem like since the biggest radio personality in the history of the medium is moving to satellite, who the FCC already has a beef with, they are turning their sights that way.

Keep in mind - this is a subscription service. If one doesn't want one's kids listening, one only needs not subscribe. But yet the FCC is thinking of targeting this industry for policing. This accomplishes two things as far as I can tell:

    1. Makes the FCC seem petty and small. They wanted Stern's obscenity off of public airwaves. They won. Stern himself, being the megalomaniac he is would never admit it, but the fines and hardship they have brought to bear on the companies that carry Stern's show have made it impossible for Stern to really do his show as he would like to on public airwaves right now. Agree with their motivations or don't, (and to me, this is a slippery topic - some of what Stern does isn't appropirate for all ages., and part of his show is on at a time when parents are at work, and kid could be sitting with a radio, outside of his parents' influence listening - if this show were on later in the evening when this situation is less likely, I would come down entirely on Stern's side. As is, I am still somewhat undecided) it looks to me like they have accomplished their goal of "cleaning up the airwaves" as it was originally stated. Stern is leaving, and other imitators (Opie and Anthony for example) have already been chased to satellite. Other people (Don and Mike for instance) have cleaned up their show, or as Don & Mike put it, are now running "non-bleu." (Which, by the way is hilarious when Mike O'Meara delivers it in his Wayne Newton impression) Regardless of which way things are working, the public airwaves are headed in the direction the FCC has determined is best for the population of the United States of America. Yet here they are, chasing a grudge. This makes the work they are doing seem less well-intentioned and makes them look like they really are out to get Stern. Which brings us to...
    2. Brings Stern more interest. I would say that it martyrs him, but I don't think even the FCC has the power to kill the juggernaut that is the Howard Stern Show. I'll tell you this much, though. If the FCC wasn't teetering dangerously close to what I see as a serious attack on free speech, then I wouldn't be writing this entry about Stern. Not that my little blog entry is going to bring him a ton more listeners, but the fact of the matter is that this is big news. And the news will never be told without Stern's name attached to it. There is no doubt in my mind that Stern will be worth every penny that Sirius is paying him. And the FCC will be helpnig him make sure of that.
It was said by Pierre Elliot Trudeau, one of the more famous and longest Prime Ministers here in Canada that, "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." He was right, and by moving from public radio, Stern is moving from the street corners in public view into the nation's bedrooms. The FCC needs to understand that they have no place there, and should accept the victory they have won. Otherwise, they are giving David exactly the sling bullet he needs to take down Goliath. And Stern would like nothing better to put it right between their eyes. While lesbians kiss in the background.

5 Comments:

  • Longest Prime Minister, eh? This IS a Howard Stern-type post though, is it not? ;)

    By Anonymous Jorge, at 9:42 PM  

  • No, the reason that it isn't a Stern-like entry is that I don't believe anyone is targeting me specifically. I think Stern may even be right that they are targeting him. Whereas to Stern, there is no question that any decision made by anyone that inconveniences him is a personal attack.

    By Blogger Just_A_Rat, at 5:07 AM  

  • I was referring to my use of innuendo, actually.
    Never mind.

    By Anonymous Jorge, at 12:20 PM  

  • Ah! I should have caught that. I have only myself to blame for not having done so.

    By Blogger Just_A_Rat, at 2:39 PM  

  • Lesbians kiss?

    By Anonymous Reay, at 2:48 PM  

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