Howard Stern should have no regrets (Opinion)
Howard Stern has been talking to the press about his new book "Howard Stern Comes Again" and the regrets he has about his early career. Those were the days when he revolutionized radio and how he's changed into what he is today. I don't think he should have any regrets at all, if it weren't for Howard Stern, we wouldn't have the radio that we have today.
It reminds me of when John Lennon distanced himself from the Beatles in the "Lennon Remembers" Rolling Stone interview. I use that analogy because in those days Howard was the Beatles of radio, along with Robin, Fred, and Jackie Martling. Then there's Gary Dell'abate, "Baba Booey," running around behind the scenes helping to make it all happen.
They were a "Fab Force" to be reckoned with at a time when it was all about pushing the envelope. From 1986-95 I did the local updates on his show on WYSP which was the first station to carry it out of New York. I was there for the the ratings parade, the DeBella funeral and the book signings when Jay Leno showed up to see what was happening. Each time it was like a scene out of "Beatlemania."
I remember one morning listening to Howard sitting with Sam Kinison, whom he loved, Andrew Dice Clay and Richard Belzer. They were just talking about the news and just riffing and it was hysterical! As I'm listening I'm thinking to myself, if you're the competition, what Who song could you possible put on to combat this? What funny pre-produced bit are you gonna play?
For me, the only job better than getting paid to listen to "The Howard Stern Show," was getting the chance to do a show of your own. Much of what I do at night on New Jersey 101.5, I learned from listening to Howard.
I'm not talking about "shocking" the audience because thanks to him, you really can't do that anymore. Radio has evolved from that just like he has evolved. I'm talking about the honesty of just saying what you feel and getting others to do so as well. Howard has a child like curiosity when it comes to people and it comes out to this day in his conversations and interviews just like it did then. He asks what you the listener genuinely wants to know. In the process he got people to open up about things they never would have said to anyone else.
What we wanted to know then is different than now because the times are different and so was Howard. Back then it was all about pushing the envelope, today it's more about not offending anyone. Howard not only dealt with political correctness back then, but he dealt with the FCC and being fired from job after job to do the radio he finally got to do. The radio that would change radio.
Lennon came around to embrace The Beatles again by the time he was publicizing "Double Fantasy." I hope one day Howard embraces his radio past again, he paid a very heavy price for it. He also profited heavily from it, and so do we the listeners, his "radio family."
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