Howard Stern demonstrates the value of live radio over podcasting

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By Darren Johnson
Campus News and Nu2u

Howard Stern — at the end of his contract at Sirius XM satellite radio with no announcement of renewal — has been beaten up a good deal lately, including by this columnist.

And the show isn’t as fun as it used to be. Maybe he has been conforming to some type of corporate image with the hope of getting renewed, and has made the show more about celebrity interviews and political correctness. The show has also shed costs by eliminating its video and news elements, and cutting almost all secondary programming in the past two years, including “Jackie’s Joke Hunt,” starring former sidekick Jackie Martling.

People have questioned the value of Sirius XM now that podcasting is the rage, and surely, as I’d pointed out last month, there are podcasters now (such as Adam Carolla) who can surpass the quality of Stern’s current show.

ut today Stern showed why Sirius XM — which is live — can have more value than a podcast, which is recorded. Following the Charlie Sheen announcement yesterday that the actor is HIV+, Stern had on today former Sheen girlfriend (and ex-porn actress) Bree Olson, who revealed the results of her 20-minute HIV test on the air. The brief pause before the announcement caused this reviewer to turn up the volume. Several news outlets were also listening to the show and posting stories online (by the way, she does not have HIV, according to paperwork she showed Stern, and is upset that Sheen had never told her about his status, which he had admittedly known about for several years). And perhaps that is why Sirius XM is still better than a podcast. That live element adds more news value than something that had been recorded previously.

Earlier in the show, Stern and actor Seth Rogen were comparing penis sizes between themselves and various celebrities, such as Justin Bieber, Michael Strahan and Michael Fassbender.

So maybe Stern still has a little bit of that mischievous spark left. Maybe if he gets another five-year contract, he can relax and go back to being un-PC. Who knows what’s going on with that guy and the declining quality of the show? But whether it is Stern or some other comic in that channel 100 slot, don’t declare satellite radio dead just yet. It still can be riveting and news-making.


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