ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Monday, January 23, 2006

Stern & "The Man"

This is the third week in a row that I'm posting from the Blue Metropolis - and I apologize for the light posting. The schedule has been relentless. Thanks to my co-conspirators for keeping things lively.

I saw this article in today's NYPost:


Howard Stern may be coming down with a Sirius case of the bleeps.

High-level executives of the satellite broadcaster are developing an internal standards-and-practices document that will set boundaries for Stern and other shock jocks, The Post has learned.

“It’s something that’s being taken very seriously," a Sirius source said.

Stern's new show also is being broadcast on a time-delay, giving him the opportunity to censor the program — which he already has done.

Stern moved to Sirius in part because satellite-radio services such as Sirius and XM — unlike free terrestrial radio — are not policed by the FCC, which spent years waging an indecency war against him.

The battle resulted in big-bucks fines against Stern and his former employers at Viacom.

XM, which is now home to shock jocks Opie and Anthony, confirmed that it has had its own guidelines in place for some time, but declined to provide details.

The standards of the private satellite broadcasters can be far looser than those imposed by the FCC on the public airways.

Sirius' move toward self-censorship comes as pressure continues to mount in Congress to regulate programming on cable and satellite radio and TV.

For years, cable executives have resisted government threats of regulation, claiming that self-policing has been sufficient.

It's a move satellite radio seems to be getting ready to emulate.

I've commented to many of my friends prior to Stern's move to Sirius that many people will lose interest in the show. Stern's success has been one created by the environment in which he operates - a over the top personality in a buttoned-up and censored world. Listener's attraction to the show was appropriately described in Stern's own movie, Private Parts - People who like the show listen because they want to hear what he's going to say next. People who hate the show listen because they want to hear what he's going to say next.

Well, this was entirely the result of the FCC's imposition of standards on the public's air waves. Most of the funny quotes from Private Parts on IMDB are related to Stern's stretching the limits of those very standards. Stern's last 4 years have been nothing but him complaining about the station and the FCC stifling his creative abilities.

Like the class clow in high school that makes a farting noise with his armpit while the teacher's back is turned, he quickly finds out that such humor is not that humorous without the teacher being present. The same applies to Stern. It's good to see that Sirius - less than 30 days after Stern's debut - recognizes this and has set itself up as "the Man" oppressing Stern's creativity. Stern will do fine (as the deal he signed with Sirius guarantees him financial success). But, the ad revenues that Sirius expects may not materialize, as demonstrated with the cut rate prices that Sirius is charging (compared to Stern's previous rates). Without that tension, it's just a juvenile making farting noises and talking about lesbians.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Comments (4)
Monterey John said...

St, still in the Apple? Surprised you made it that long.

Have to ask if you made it to the World Trade Center site.

If you have, I would be interested in your impressions.

As for Stern, I agree, I don't think he's going to last on satelite.

Brian said...

mmmmm lesbians....

Monterey John said...


St Wendeler said...

Hey, Brian... cool it! I don't want any grief from BitchPhD!