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Monday, August 17, 2009

Howard Stern Is Underappreciated

I know that it's a bit on an enigma, but I love Howard Stern. As I've noted before, I've been a fan for over twenty years, back to when I first heard him in Washington DC (when I lived in York PA).

Anyway, if for no other reason than I feel like it, here are 10 reasons why Howard Stern is under-appreciated:

Reason 1: He invented modern talk radio.
Before Limbaugh decided to channel the 1950's, before Imus even thought of referring to African-Americans by various derogatory names, Howard Stern abandoned playing records and decided instead to talk for 4+ hours per day to his audience.

Reason 2: He is one of the best interviewers in media today, bar none.
I've heard Howard interview politicians, porn-stars, Beatles (all but John) and actors, and in ever instance he always gets his subject to open up about subject that the Katie Couric's of this world could only dream of doing.

Reason 3: He's not perfect, and he is the first to admit that.
In an age of other radio personalities who can on one hand shout that "people who abuse drugs should go to jail" and then on the other hand be abusing drugs themselves, Howard stands out as someone who, despite a healthy ego, doesn't take himself very seriously. What he does take seriously though is the obligation he feels to his audience.

Reason 4: He loves his parents.
Howard frequently will have his parents on the show and he always ends the conversations by telling them that he loves them. Not quite the monster the media makes him out to be, huh?

Reason 5: He is professionally ignored.
There is a 'Hall of Fame' for broadcasters that includes such folks as Don Imus, the late Paul Harvey, Rush Limbaugh and Neal Boortz. Howard has never been inducted, nor do I think he has ever been nominated. Mind you, this is a man who convinced 9+ million listeners to fork over $13/month to listen to him.

Reason 6: He is loyal to his friends.
Howard has been working with some of the same people for decades.

Reason 7: His audience pays to listen to him.
Howard brought over something like 9+ million listeners to Sirius satellite radio who pay to listen to him. Rush Limbaugh, on the other hand, has about 20 million listeners who don't pay a dime for his show. How many listeners would pay $13/month to listen to Limbaugh? Somehow I'm thinking it's not 20 million...or 9 million for that matter.

Reason 8: He is an equal opportunity offender.
Howard doesn't have any sacred cows on his show.

Reason 9: He has been successful in four different medias.
Radio, TV (he had the highest rated TV show on the E-Channel), Books (two best sellers) and a hit movie (Private Parts).

Reason 10: His show is simply damn funny.
I am especially fond of the 1989 - 1991 period, and while Artie Lange isn't nearly as funny as Jackie Martling, the show still makes my bust a gut laughing from time to time. In a world where everything is so serious, there is something positive to be said for having a good laugh.

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