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Thursday, February 26, 2004

Shocked...shocked, I say!

Howard Stern said what?

Maybe it’s just me…but isn’t Clear Channel Broadcasting being just a tad random (not to mention Puritanical) in its decision to drop Howard Stern? I mean what went on in that conference room when they came to the decision to air his show in the first place?

I imagine a bunch of Balding, Middle-Aged ‘Suits’ sitting around a conference room while some Young Exec pitches the ‘Stern show for their markets:

Y.E.: “Ya gotta love this guy…he owns the morning drive-time demographic. He gives the commute crowd their drinking fountain fodder every single day!!! The guy’s an absolute animal!!!”

B.M.-A.S. 1: [looking around at other B.M-A.S.] “I’ve never heard of this guy…is he our kinda folk? I mean he’s not one of those potty-mouthed…waddyacallem…shock jocks, is he?”

Y.E.: [looking suddenly uncomfortable] “um…you’ve never even heard of him? Maybe I need to get you some tape on the guy so we’re all on the same page.”

B.M.-A.S. 2: “Naw…you say he's got good numbers and he’s a good Christian boy,? Well that’s all we need to hear.”

Y.E.: [starting to sweat]: “Now hold on a sec…I never said anything…”

B.M.-A.S. 3: [cutting off the Young Exec mid stammer] “Well then, I think we know about all we need to know. So it’s agreed then…we bring this Stern fella - I like that name…sounds kinda strong and mean - anyway, we bring this Stern fella into the Clear Channel stable startin’ Monday mornin’.”

B.M.-A.S. 1: “Alright then, that settles that. Who’s up for some Barbeque? I hear that new place down at the Galleria serves a damn fine plate o’ dry rub.”

Y.E.: [head down on conference table emitting muffled sobs as B.M.-A.S.s file out of the room]

Somehow I don’t think I’m too far off the mark here.

Look, I’m an observant Jew who moved out of New York City because I didn’t want my kids to be able to see fetish-porn magazine covers while we waited in line at the local bodega. I wasn’t bothered by the existence of such magazines (often curious about the target audience, but never bothered), I simply wanted to be able to control the time and place that my kids were given their first introduction to, say, bestiality or some of the more, um, gymnastic forms of love-making.

Obviously I’m doing a bit of exaggerating here to illustrate my point …but my point is a valid one: Imposing ‘Decency standards’ in broadcasting is a slippery slope that we have been collectively sliding down since Guglielmo Marconi first heard a recognizable sound amid the static.

Own a TV or radio? There is a station selector and an on-off switch. Use them. If you choose not to own a TV or radio (as many people have) then this argument shouldn't interest you (and likewise you shouldn't have a say in it).

For a land that calls itself a ‘melting pot’, there seems to be a rather narrow range of opinions represented by these so-called standards. And, the application of these standards is something out of a 'Clintonesque' deposition, with some corporate lawyer trying to determine the definition of ‘is’. The reason for drawing the line in the sand next to the ‘n word’, as opposed to, say, the ‘k word’ (a derogatory term for Jews), the ‘c word’ (a derogatory term for Asians), or the 'd word' (a derogatory term for women in plaid flannel shirts), baffles me. Either allow insults to everyone, or no one. A law or standard can’t be randomly applied to the ‘sensitivity de jour’.

I happen to dislike Stern intensely. His show, in my humble opinion, is Jerry Springer for blind folks (or perhaps people too poor to own TVs). His humor is juvenile, and his ‘shock value’ is the most transparent form of prurient grandstanding. However, I used to love listening to Imus during my morning drive, so go figure. The bottom line is that I wouldn’t think of having either of them on when my kids were in the car…but so long as their brand of speech doesn't insite violence against anyone, or cause physical or financial harm, I think the 1st amendment covers just about any other eventuality.

[By the way...kudos to the MS Word spell checker for saving me from the embarrassing faux pas of misspelling 'bestiality' as 'beastiality'.]

Posted by David Bogner on February 26, 2004 | Permalink


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Posted by: SHIMMY | Feb 26, 2004 10:13:15 PM

Clear Channel had no problem raking in all the money that Stern made for them over the years...Clear Channel also fired one of their shock jocks in Florida the other day...if you ask me, this all stems from Miss Jackson's boobage, and the backlash that it caused.

Posted by: Gavin | Feb 27, 2004 4:53:19 AM

Okay, I'm coming to this like over a week late, but....

I can't help recalling that it was also a Clear-Channel radio station (in, um, ah, Texas- what a surprise) that sponsored a big rally where Dixie Chick cds were tossed in a pile and burned....

Posted by: Mike Spengler | Mar 8, 2004 7:17:00 AM

Sounds a lot like a good old-fashioned book burning, doesn't it?

Posted by: David | Mar 8, 2004 8:44:23 AM

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