Poor Howard Stern. His listeners number only in the millions. His listeners on the Sirius Satellite Radio Network. His listeners who pay the Sirius Satellite Radio Network $12.95 a month for the privilege of listening to all of Howard's broadcast antics. That's less than fifty cents a day, but right now only four million people are taking advantage of this opportunity. "I was just at my psychiatrist and I said, `I just got great news: We hit the 4 million mark. And I'm angry. It should be 20 million,'" Stern says in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
Here comes my disclaimer: I was never a big fan of Howard Stern. I appreciate him in that Lenny Bruce/George Carlin kind of way where he exists after a point simply to stir things up, morality-wise. I can't say that I was ever particularly offended by what he did or said, it just never quite struck me as funny. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the radio station out here that used to carry Howard's program bumped a local guy in favor of playing his show (based in New York) out here (in the Bay Area) on tape. That "local guy" was (is) Alex Bennett, who can now be found gracing the satellite airwaves on - ready? - Sirius Satellite Radio. I was fond of Alex's show. He was a bit of a curmudgeon, and he regularly had A-list comedians on to riff mightily into the morning drive-time slot.
Okay, I'm happy to embrace a new technology. I've even considered satellite radio as a window into commercial-free music and talk. I pay for Tivo. I pay for digital cable. Why not pay for satellite radio? Here's how Howard Stern is pitching his show to his audience: "I want to say to my audience ... `You haven't come with me yet? How dare you? We're up to wild, crazy stuff, the show has never sounded better. You cheap bastard!'"
Sorry Howard, if that's your pitch, I'll be dialing up my FM dial for a while longer. I hope he gets to feeling better soon.