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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

FCC fines will not stop Howard Stern

Thursday, June 10, 2004

You either love Howard Stern or you hate him. Well that may be a bit of an exaggeration but the controversial radio-television shock host is more than familiar with controversy. Stern's shows are laden with foul language and sexually explicit "humor." The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday handed down the largest fine in history to resolve complaints against the Stern show. I fear it will not be nearly enough to alter the Stern format.

The FCC fined the nation's largest radio chain a record $1.75 million on Wednesday. That tops the $1.7 million paid in 1995 for indecency violations by Stern with another radio chain. Despite the massive fines, Stern remains on the air plying his usual brand of entertainment.

Stern's violation results not necessarily from his radio show content but rather that the show is broadcast during times when youngsters may be tuning in. Had the content been broadcast at night, Stern would be in the clear.

The irony is that the fines will generate more attention for Stern and probably bring more listeners to his show. That will mean more advertising revenue and higher profits. And nothing positive may result.

Stern, with his healthy ego, thinks the fines are because of his liberal political views. But that's just a ploy to divert attention and everyone knows it. The bottom line is that Stern makes money from airing smut. Like it or not, that is indeed the fact.

I've listened and watched Stern's programs. I marvel on how they can "get by" with much of their material but even that is not my concern. The bottom line is that I don't find Stern even remotely funny. Content aside, he's just a pathetic character using bathroom humor and over-the-top sex to sell a radio or television program. The FCC should have fined the radio chain an amount equal to the profits derived from his show. That would put a halt to the program and alter the content.

I'm tired of the rhetoric about First Amendment free speech concerns. That's hogwash. Howard Stern peddles obscene content to make a buck. And if he is allowed to push his trash, we're to blame.

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