hes 56. and the king of all media.
i grew up listening to the original shock jock, Steve Dahl, who actually began his show right around the same time Howard created his. in fact their paths crossed in Detroit early in both of their careers. so who really knows who shocked first.
but because i grew up with Steve i was extremely resistant to Stern when i moved out to California. i thought howard was phony, i thought his songs were second-rate compared to Steve’s, and i thought he was riding on the coattails of Dahl who had done the syndication and… everything before Howard.
but as time went on i not only listened to Howard, but id stay up late at night just so i could start recording his show at 3am. id wake up in the middle of the night, flip over the tape, continue recording, and go back to sleep.
since then ive been a super fan. ive been to two book signings (both times i didnt get my book signed because there were way too many people in line), i have been a subscriber to Sirius since he made the move over to sat radio 4 years ago, and i was even lucky enough to work at E! when he had his show there – so i got to see a lot of the unedited video tapes of his tv show. i even bought some stock (at $3, uh thanks)
the thing i like the most about Howard is he’s real. the strippers, porn stars, and freaks are fun, but be it talking about the news, his personal life, or even the weird tragic news about his sidekick Artie’s suicide attempt always begins and ends in a real, frank discussion. pardon me, but thats why talk radio was invented.
howard doesnt back down from any topic. why would he? we are paying $13 a month to hear this guy’s take on Everything. he’ll talk about his small penis, his obsessive compulsion, his too-healthy diet, his fears, his love of The Bachelor and other less-than-manly tv shows.
but i think his biggest strength is that of an interviewer. no matter who he has on the show from Paul McCartney to JFK Jr. to Warren Beatty, Howard has absolutely no problem asking all the questions that the audience wants to hear – starting at the guests’ love lives, wild adventures, and controversial periods. his interviews are do probing that after a while you start judging the guest by how well they open up. the focus moves away from howard almost immediately. exactly what interviewing is all about.
id say that howard is easily the best interviewer on radio, tv, anywhere. he gets right to it, and he gets more out of people than anyone. live on the radio. and now that radio is uncensored so the conversations and interviews are more natural.
critics often get distracted by the adult nature of the show, but theyre prudes and theyre being dishonest. everyone knows that most real conversations can easily include adult details and frank words. but for some reason when they write about howard doing that on the radio they pretend like its “raunchy” instead of real.
theres a reason that morning radio collapsed when howard moved over to Sirius. he was the star and his departure created a black hole that no one was able to fill. howard was #1 from NY to LA. and now he has convinced over 12 million people to pay for radio. not oprah, not anyone could do that.
to say that howard has been an inspiration to me and this blog would be an understatement. to say that this blog aspires to be as funny and frank and real as his show is a given, but unlike howard, i dont have the courage to put everything on the line like he does, which is why i dont have the success and riches that he has.
but theres always tomorrow.