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Being Stern on Stern
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Sure...sometimes I listen to Howard Stern in the mornings. It's a guilty pleasure...a juvenile, tittilating, freak-show of a pleasure.

And honestly, I can't understand why there can't be some kind of compromise in the current War Against Indecency.

In recent weeks, Stern has grown increasingly paranoid and politicized. Bush and Ashcroft are out to get him, so you have to vote against them and take back the country. And the FCC is fining the hell out the show, rather than suggesting compromises or changes.

How about this: Most content distributers put adult content into later time slots, the main objection to such content being that kids are exposed to it. So why not move Stern to nights?

Also, network TV shows have ratings, right along with movies. Nobody bitches about that. So why doesn't radio have a similar rating/warning system? Before you watch NYPD Blue, you get a warning that you might see a flash of some fat cop's ass. Why not a similar warning for Stern's show?

Are these compromises unreasonable? Why does it have to be an all-or-nothing situation with Stern? How come nobody is suggesting such measures?

You could argue that the FCC really isn't interested in keeping Stern on the air, even at night with warnings of adult content after each station break. Maybe they just want him completely off the air. But what's keeping local distributors, station managers, commentators, and so on from suggesting the middle ground?

Stern, of course, wants to paint himself out to be a martyr. His main gripe is that the FCC doesn't have clear guidelines regarding indecency, and that's a fair point. He says he wants to go to court and have a judge and jury rule on decency standards...which is absurd, of course.

A recent show featured the "Wheel of Gas", in which a young woman spun a wheel to determine how much time a guy would spend squatting over her face, farting (there were also bonus spins for "Mouth Open" and "Mouth Closed"). Any reasonable judge and jury is going to find this shit indecent, and it's stupid for Stern to argue that it's not. Indecency is the appeal of the whole damn show! If it were decent, people wouldn't want to listen to it.

So Stern needs to quit pretending that his show doesn't contain primarily adult content, and the FCC needs to show some common sense, and instead of fining him to death suggest real-world regulatory measures consistent with the movie and TV industries.

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