Howard Stern, ordained as the King of All Media, is definitely one of the most popular figures of the media world. The popularity that he enjoys has not been overshadowed by the controversial topics of his radio show.
Stern's influence on America has come to represent a major part of the U.S. demographic, which holds one of the lowest literacy rates of all industrial countries, as his syndicated radio show receives one of the highest set of ratings around the world. His brand of in your face topics and humor has influenced a generation of people not just in the U.S., but also around the world.
This essay will discuss the historical influence of Howard Stern on American society. We will explore both the good and bad opinions that are shared about the media giant and how he changed the manner in which we act and think. We will also explore his influence on radio and television.
Stern's Influence in American Society
Howard Stern was raised by his mother in Long Island, New York Stern's father, who was a radio engineer, and was influential in Stern's decision to pursue a career in radio. Stern served as a deejay several deejay positions in cities like Detroit and Washington, D.C., where he first started working with his co-host Robin Quivers. All these jobs came from his involvement with college radio at Boston University. His previous radio jobs were only the launching pad to what would become a more flamboyant career on the airwaves. ("Howard Stern")
It might be safe to conclude that Howard's on-air persona is very different than his personal life he was married and has two daughters. The announcement of his separation from his wife came in 1999; they were married for twenty years. This announcement came shortly after he began his television show The Howard Stern Radio Show on Fox. ("Howard Stern")
Stern also referred to as a shock jock has captured the attention of millions of devoted listeners throughout the country with his morning radio show. He is infamous for discussing topics that would make the average man flinch. This type of raunchy behavior keeps his listeners loyal. Stern has presented many different topics to his listeners among these have been to pay John Babbitt if he would display his severely injured penis on his show. ("Howard Stern")
In addition to his radio program he has also to enter the publishing world with his first book Private Parts. This is an autobiography and was the fastest-moving book in its publisher's history, as it sold over a million copies in the first two weeks of its release. Private Parts was the start-up idea for a movie version that was to be released four years later, and receive the highest test-screening rating in Paramount's history. The success that he experienced with Private Parts influenced his decision to publish his second book, Miss America. This book was also successful and established him as the King of all media. ("Howard Stern")
This type of success displays the influence that Howard Stern has with the American public. Stern proved this by entering into a new media and dominating it upon his arrival. He not only had influence within the media of publishing but also in the film industry. The fact that people were interested in his story enough to purchase the book and see the movie proves that his influence is wide spread.
With the advent of the Internet Stern's influence has become even more apparent. In June of 2002 Business Wire reported that "Howard Stern is once again the "King of all Media" online, according to Web users, generating three times as much search activity as any other talk radio personality or team of radio hosts. Howard Stern receives more searches on Lycos than Opie and Anthony, Art Bell and Rush Limbaugh combined." ("Howard Stern is the Most Popular Radio Talk Personality With Web Users for the Second Straight Year")
Business wire also reported that the out of the ordinary actions and behavior that are presented on Stern's radio show also influence Web search traffic on a regular basis. Aaron Schatz, stated that "Stern made The Lycos 50 three weeks ago, for example, due to the Stuttering John/Crazy Cabbie boxing match, and Hank the angry drunken dwarf made the list last September when he passed away." ("Howard Stern is the Most Popular Radio Talk Personality With Web Users for the Second Straight Year")
In addition, many of the personalities who appear on Stern's show on a regular basis also grow in popularity on the Web. Business wire reports that,
The latest examples are recent Stern guest Jolene Blalock from the television series Enterprise, who made The Lycos 50 in mid-May, and the winner of the Miss Howard Stern contest, stripper Andrea Ownbey. Although Ownbey has yet to make the list, her search popularity has been steadily climbing over the past few weeks." ("Howard Stern is the Most Popular Radio Talk Personality With Web Users for the Second Straight Year")
His influence on the web is proof that he has captures the attention of a young generation. Stern's influence has not been matched by any other radio personality. He has captures television, radio and film and continues to influence the way disc jockeys are viewed. Millions are mesmerized by his ridiculous shenanigans and continue to purchase his books, posters and other memorabilia despite the fact that he has received countless complaints about his comments and the topics that he has chosen to pursue. His influence over the American public is indeed engrained in the psyche of our society.
Bad Opinions of Howard Stern
It is very apparent that Howard Stern has had a profound impact on American Society. However the American Public has very different opinions about his actions and his occupation as a shock jock. These opinions are most evident among conservative Christians and the organizations that they support. The American Decency Association believes some of Stern's shows have blasphemed God. They have reported,
Stern's blasphemous view of God permeates his view of life. His view of life is a cheapened view. The lives of children are not precious but rather worthless if everything isn't just right (born into a family that wants them). Women are sex objects - body parts. Stern has lost his wife after many years. One wonders if his marriage would have remained intact if Stern would have dropped his trash talk show. " (Howard Stern Information and Action Page)
The American Family Association also has bad opinions of Stern and the way in which he conducts his radio talk show. The AFA has filed a number of complaints against the shock jock. The first of these complaints came in 1999 when Stern joked about the mass murders of students at columbine high school in Colorado. Stern stated that the murderers should have raped the victims before murdering them. Needless to say many, including the FCC, found this offensive and sadistic.
Stern has a way saying the most belligerent things at times when the nation is suffering the most. In September of 2001 the AFA again condemned comments that Stern made in reference to the terrorist attacks on America. It was reported that four days after the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. that Stern said on his broadcast "New York prostitutes ought to do what everyone else is doing. They ought to donate their services and go down there and give XXXX sex to the firemen while they're digging for bodies." ("AFA Condemns Howard Stern's Remarks On New York Tragedy.")
Reports also suggest that right before Stern said this that one of his colleagues said that he had been calling women who love the bravery of terrorists and saying to them "This is Mohammed. I was involved in the terrorism. I would now like to bomb your XXXXXX with my XXXXX XXXX." ("AFA Condemns Howard Stern's Remarks On New York Tragedy")
Don Wildmon president of the AFA reportedly said that "Stern had once again taken a "let's joke about it approach" to a nation in mourning." He went on to say that "While America weeps over the loss of thousands of its citizens, Howard Stern spews his disillusioned perversion on national radio," ("AFA Condemns Howard Stern's Remarks On New York Tragedy")
In addition to organized groups having negative opinions concerning Howard Stern. Everyday individuals also have problems with comments made by the shock jock. Michael Schwartz of the Daily bruin writes,
Stern regularly makes offensive remarks about immigrants, people of color and women, and yet there is no national outcry. Why do we brush off Stern's comments? This is not humor; it's hate. Four million Vietnamese people were killed during the Vietnam War, and Stern goes on the air and talks about how fun it is to "kill gooks." (Schwartz)