The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Friday, May 07, 2004

Howard Stern's radio audience almost doubled in New York, Chicago, Boston and Hartford, Connecticut, during the first three months of 2004 -- and not because he's added more sex to his shtick. After more than two decades of titillating the masses with crude jokes and porn-star guests, Stern is attracting listeners with his new obsession: attacking George W. Bush.
"Howard's in a war," says Chaunce Hayden, a regular guest on Stern's morning show. "He's spending all his energy and efforts and wit and know-how to have Bush eliminated from office."

Stern's radio show reaches about 18 million people; his Web site -- a clearinghouse for Bush criticism -- draws up to 4 million visitors daily. As the presidential race heats up, Stern aims to turn his millions of young male fans into a new anti-Bush constituency.


Since being cut from Clear Channel -- and since the Federal Communications Commission fined the company $495,000 for a Stern broadcast that made references to anal sex -- Stern has attacked Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for everything from their handling of pre-9/11 intelligence to their avoidance of Vietnam. Michael Powell, the FCC chairman, remains Stern's favorite target. "If [he] was the first president, he would have appointed himself king and turned this country into an aristocracy," Stern said on April 22nd. "An unelected body is not supposed to determine what's offensive and unoffensive." (full story)
Look! Over there! Some guy from Air America quit!

In general, I stopped listening to Howard Stern a few years back -- his separation from his wife was really the shark-jumping point for me, because that rendered his sexual repression stuff quite unfunny sans tension. It doesn't help that virtually every station in my area (SB) is ClearChannel. But certainly, through the FCC, the administration has made a rather powerful enemy in Howard Stern. The man has a real constituency, mostly working and middle class white guys who might not have an opinion either way in terms of November. If Stern asks his audience to help get Bush out of office, who am I to stop him?


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