Thursday, February 26

Howard Stern Yanked Off - By His Parent Company's Competition

Talk about cutting off your nose to spite (or save) your face...
Clear Channel Addresses Decency After Firing DJ

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Radio station giant Clear Channel Communications Inc. said on Wednesday it was dumping nationally syndicated shock jock Howard Stern from its stations under a new "zero tolerance" policy toward indecency.

In dropping Stern from its six radio outlets that carry his show, Clear Channel cited his interview on Tuesday with Rick Solomon, the man who was filmed having sex with hotel heiress and TV reality star Paris Hilton in a video widely distributed on Internet porn sites.

According to a transcript of the show released by San Antonio, Texas-based Clear Channel, Stern asked Solomon if he engaged in anal sex and referred to the size of his penis. Using a racist term, a caller to the show asked Solomon if he had ever had sex with any famous black women.

The action against Stern came a day after Clear Channel fired Florida radio personality "Bubba the Love Sponge," after federal regulators accused him of airing sexually graphic material on Tampa's WXTB-FM and three other Florida stations.
Chalk this up as another one of those "issues" that are being waved in our faces by the Bush gang as a diversion. Broadcast indecency (spurred by the Janet Jackson debacle) joins same-sex marriages and bad guys with bombs as simple talking and acting points which the right owns right now. And Howard Stern is paying the price in this war on entertainment. But he won't starve.

First, let's put this in perspective. Six Clear Channel stations is a spit in the ocean. This is not a major shutdown of the Stern show by any stretch of the imagination. CC owns over 1200 radio stations. Guaranteed there are ten other stations in each of those markets who are tripping over themselves to get the rights to Howard Stern as you read this.

Secondly, all this is is Clear Channel's second token move this week to show they're "doing something" - the first being their firing of Bubba the Love Sponge (I've heard this guy - his name is his whole act).

And third, it's a slap at their major competitor, Infinity, while they're under the microscope in the Super Bowl aftermath. So know this, radio fans: It's a PR move to boost CC's image and to kick Infinity/CBS in the nuts while the feds turn up the heat.

Howard Stern will - and should - continue to prosper and be heard. Clear Channel will get some publicity out of this, but you can believe the local management teams of those six stations are tearing their hair out over the monumental lost revenue they're looking at now.

Which gives you some idea how much Clear Channel cares about radio and its people on the local level.