I am a big fan of Howard Stern. Anyone who knows me knows that I have been listening to Howard for a long time. 11 years, to be exact. The first time I ever listened to Howard Stern I was riding the school bus with a Walkman and flipped through the radio dial until I heard Flava Flav, the wacky member of Public Enemy. At the time, I was 14 and a huge fan of Public Enemy's album, "Apocalypse '91: The Enemy Strikes Black" so hearing Flava Flav was something I wanted to listen to. From that point on, I have listened to the show quite frequently. At points in my life, I have listened every single day. 11 years. Needless to say, I am a fan. I just needed to be up front with that.
Trust me when I tell you that I know a lot about the show. Yesterday, Clear Channel Communications radio conglomerate pulled Howard Stern's show off of the air in 6 markets including Pittsburgh, Orlando, San Diego and others. This decision is within the rights of Clear Channel, obviously, but this story goes a little bit deeper than Clear Channel making a judgement call on decency. It just so happens that one of the higher-ups at Clear Channel, John Hogan, had to appear before Congress yesterday for an indecency hearing. Is this just a bit coincidental that this is the same day that his company pulled Stern from the air? I don't think so. Now, lets meet the rest of the players.
The Sheriff - Played by The FCC
The Federal Communications Commission is the regulatory commission in charge of the public airwaves in this country. They take complaints that people might have and they also levy punishments against broadcasters who have done things wrong.
Michael Powell (Colin's son) the head of the FCC has proposed to raise the maximum fine for indecency tenfold from $27,500. According to Powell, the current maximum fine is not enough to dissuade broadcasters from broadcasting indecent material. The funny thing is that I agree that the fine amount is not enough to be persuasive to these huge conglomerates. That is, of course, if they are never handed down.