Thursday, April 13, 2006

Howard Stern Done Fucked Up?

It looks like Howard Stern's foray into Sirius radio has been a bust, at least thus far.

While the shock jock appears to have attracted more than 1 million subscribers to Sirius Satellite Radio Inc., many analysts and consultants believe the exodus is starting to slow with many of the remaining 8 million Stern fans staying tuned to terrestrial radio, listening to his former competitors.


A Jacobs Media poll of more than 25,000 listeners of 79 rock stations across the country indicates that seven out of 10 former Stern listeners continue to listen to terrestrial morning radio shows.

A smaller sampling of five former Stern affiliate stations indicates that about three out of 10 listeners are now tuning into competing, established morning shows rather than Stern's replacements.

I almost commented on this a few days ago when I read somewhere that Stern had berated his fans because not enough of them have bought into his Sirius venture. For the first time ever, Stern left a bad taste in my mouth. Tossing bologna at strippers never did it. Making fun of homless people never did it. Even his rooting for the Knicks never did it.

But dissing his fans for not forking over their hard earned? That did it.

Listen, I love Howard. I can honestly say that a big part of the reason I'm such a, well, a pig is because of all the hours I spent in my car, beginning in high school, still half asleep, with a hot coffee in hand, laughing at all his jokes about women and sex and pretty much anything that that allows one to take things as lightly as possible. I'll admit, my sophomoric sense of humor falls in line almost perfectly with the "trash" Howard delves into.

That said, I never bought into his Sirius thing, and I mean that literally and figuratively. The beauty of any good radio host is the ability to make listeners feel like they have a friend keeping them entertained. Everyday. For free. When your job sucks, your kids hate you, your wife is cheating on you, your back hurts, traffic is a bitch, and you're broke, you turn on the radio and someone is there to make you laugh or keep you interested or take your mind elsewhere. And they're there everyday. For free. You turn the dial and there they are. Hell, this is the reason I call Howard Stern by his first name. After all the hours I've spent listening, he's simply Howard - and Robin is Robin, Fred is Fred, etc.

But Howard broke the cardinal sin of radio. He thought he was bigger than his listeners. He thought he was worth half a billion dollars, or whatever he's being paid. He thought his listeners should fork over their cash to hear him when there are countless other option out there to be had for free.

And now Howard is pissed because people haven't followed like he wished they had. Well, what did he expect?

I've never been a fan of Mancow Muller. In fact, as a Howard fan, I've rejected Mancow harcore. But I heard Mancow on TV recently talking about this very subject and he mentioned how he had similar offers to take his show the Siruis route (or similar to Sirius) but he rejected them all because, in the end, he wouldn't have felt right about it. He felt he would have been turning his back on the essence of what he does and what he has become rich doing - and that's entertaining his fans. Everyday. For free.

I can respect that.

I'm not saying Howard has let me down or that I wouldn't still listen in a heartbeat, but sticking his hands in the pockets of his fans and then dissing the ones who don't fall in line, well, that's garbage. Hey now.


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