Tags: Fallout | Howard | Stern | Follows | Tirade | Against | Rep.

Fallout on Howard Stern Follows Tirade Against Rep. Wilson

Friday, 27 February 2004 12:00 AM

After Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., blasted Viacom President Mel Karmazin last week at a congressional hearing over the Janet Jackson halftime incident, America’s No. 1 radio shock jock pitched a fit at Wilson for lambasting his boss.

Viacom's empire includes CBS, MTV and Infinity Broadcasting. Infinity syndicates Stern’s radio show, whose antics feature such fare as "small penis" contests.

Unleashing an onslaught of obscenities, unfit to print here, at Wilson over the airwaves, Stern branded the congresswoman a fake, a despicable hypocrite and a communist.

Wilson is the co-sponsor of H.R. 3717, a bill called the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004, and has introduced an amendment this bill to strengthen the penalties for broadcast indecency.

The act would increase fines for indecency to 10 times what they are now. The amendment would allow violations to be a factor in renewal of licenses.

Stern also mocked Wilson’s concern for her fourth-grade son, who saw the infamous Super Bowl halftime show, and attacked her voting record on gun rights and the environment, and her acceptance of money from some political action committees.

Then he got personal with his insults, most of which were bleeped, to Stern’s dismay.

“Wow. My god. Anything funny is bleeped,” complained Stern. “It’s so aggravating. I’m so drained. I wish the FCC would take me off the air. How are they going to take me off the air if Tom keeps hitting the button?”

Stern then said that he would like to go to court over the bleeped language and that he would win.

Now at least part of his wish is coming true.

Just one day after announcing a new “zero tolerance” policy on obscenity, Clear Channel Radio has dropped Stern’s nationally syndicated show from its six stations that carried it.

Two days before the network fired Florida radio host "Bubba the Love Sponge," whose raunchy show prompted a $755,000 by the FCC in January.

Clear Channel said its action on Stern was prompted by a comment that was “vulgar, offensive and insulting, not just to women and African-Americans, but to anyone with a sense of common decency.”

“Clear Channel drew a line in the sand today with regard to protecting our listeners from indecent content, and Howard Stern’s show blew right through it,” said

Granted, it’s only six stations. But fans and foes of Stern will be watching to see if Infinity or other networks follow Clear Channel’s example.

Wilson’s outrage in blasting Karmazin during a congressional hearing last week was widely reported, but the reason was not.

Aside from her concern for her son, she said that Karmazin “just didn’t get it.”

In an interview with NewsMax, the congresswoman said: “I think the NFL gets it. But Mr. Karmazin just didn’t understand how inappropriate it [the halftime show] was. The NFL, in answer to a question, said that players who use profanity on the air get fined. Someone asked Mr. Karmazin, ‘What happens to your people?’ to which he responded, ‘We fire them.’”

But Karmazin, when asked what action he took in response to the halftime show, admitted, “We didn’t fire anybody,” Wilson said.

“I asked, ‘Who was your producer, your choreographer?’ He didn’t even know who the producer was, which told me he wasn’t taking this seriously at all. If in my company I had a disaster that bad, you can bet I would have that producer in front of me at least long enough to tell him to clean out his desk.”

At the hearing Rep. Christopher Cox, R-Calif., aimed his own attack at the broadcast industry: “We defend your right to cuss and run around with forest animals, but don’t impose it on others.”

Karmazin promptly blasted executives of Infinity’s 180 radio stations, including Stern’s, and said they would be fired if they violated the new zero-tolerance policy on obscenity.

“Don’t screw up,” Karmazin warned. “If you don’t comply, you’ll be fired for cause. This company won’t be a poster child for indecency.”

A number of other Infinity radio shows had already been canceled, fined or suspended before Clear Channel dropped Stern.

Stern has not yet responded to a request from NewsMax for comment.

When asked about Stern’s fit, Wilson’s only comment was, “I’ve never heard the show.”

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After Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., blasted Viacom President Mel Karmazin last week at a congressional hearing over the Janet Jackson halftime incident, America's No. 1 radio shock jock pitched a fit at Wilson for lambasting his boss. Viacom's empire includes CBS, MTV and...
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2004-00-27
Friday, 27 February 2004 12:00 AM
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