Thursday, February 26, 2004
CBS News | Radio Group Delivers Stern Shock | February 26, 2004�14:01:42 (CBS/AP) The head of the nation's largest radio group said he was "ashamed" of one "shock jock" program, even as his company suspended another, better-known personality's show.
Clear Channel Radio has pulled Howard Stern's show from the half dozen of its 1,200 stations that run it, saying it did not meet the company's newly revised programming standards.
The backlash from Janet Jackson's Super Bowl peep show continues. Broadcasters, suddenly caught like a deer in headlights in front of millions of outraged American conservatives are scrambling to scrub their programming. I don't listen to Stern's show personally, but that's in part because I've heard it before and I know what to expect. It's going to be low-grade shock material, lots of sexually suggestive stuff (which I don't generally object to, but don't usually need to hear) and crude grade school humor. I choose not to listen.
But the thing that makes Stern different from the Janet Jackson episode is that with Stern you know what you're getting. You don't listen to Stern for wholesome family entertainment - that's not his act.
While I support Clear Channel's right, as a private organization, to decide who they will and won't broadcast, I don't support pulling Stern's show off the air. All radios sold in America today have knobs or buttons that allow the user to change the channel or even turn it off. If you don't like what Stern does, don't listen to him, but don't pretend to be surprised when he spanks a stripper on the air. With Ms. Jackson's act it was in the middle of the Super Bowl Halftime show, with no warning whatsoever. Most of us are used to marching bands, some lip synching and a lot of generically choreographed 15-year old dancers at halftimes. Not Nelly grabbing his...umm....nelly and Janet showing her breasts. There is a time and place for that kind of entertainment and I would have had no objection if it had been shown on HBO and/or with appropriate disclaimers ahead of time to warn people that there may be sexually suggestive material and nudity during the performance.
But they chose to spring it on us, if you'll excuse the phrase, and that was entirely inappropriate. Stern's act, as I understand it, hasn't changed in years. To yank him now is just reactionary and unnecessary, in my opinion.
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