Howard Allan Stern
(born January 12, 1954) is an
American radio and media personality most notable for his radio show
which since January 9,
2006, has been broadcasting on Sirius
, an uncensored satellite
service. Although described by the media as a "shock jock
" for his sometimes controversial
commentary and segments, Stern argues it never was his intention to
"shock" people, whether discussing world affairs or the staff
he works with. Stern
is the highest-paid radio personality in the United States, and
also the most fined, following a long
with the Federal Communications
(FCC) since 1987.
began his career in the radio industry in February 1975 at his
campus station at Boston University, presenting a one-hour comedy program with college
friends. Developing his on-air style for four years at
Briarcliff Manor, Hartford and Detroit from 1977–1980, Stern paired up with his on-air
news anchor Robin Quivers at Washington, D.C. in 1981.
By August 1982, after
having the top morning show in Washington, Stern arrived at
New York City
, the country's largest
. Despite numerous
disputes with management, Stern would have the top afternoon show
by mid-1985. After being fired that September he returned to New York airwaves
after a two-month
absence, broadcasting for over twenty years until leaving for
satellite in December 2005, free from content restrictions imposed
by the FCC.
Stern describes himself as "The King of All Media"
for his successes not only in radio but in print, film and
television. His two books, Private Parts
received great media attention and sales, topping The New York Times Best Seller list
weeks of their release. The former was later adapted into a
1997 film of the same name
directed by Betty Thomas
, which grossed
over $40 million in the United States alone. Stern's television
endeavours include various late night shows
New Year's Rotten Eve 1994
becoming the highest grossing
non-sports pay-per-view ever.
Childhood and early life
Stern was born on January 12, 1954, into a Jewish American family (his Hebrew name is "") in the Queens neighborhood
of Jackson Heights in
City. In June of the same year, his parents moved
to the Long
Island town of Roosevelt. His father Ben was an engineer at WHOM, a radio station in Manhattan which influenced his son's early interest in
His mother Rae, was a homemaker
for most of his childhood. Stern
describes his only sibling Ellen, who is four years his senior, as
being his "complete opposite" since she is rarely mentioned on his
radio show, though he maintains a good relationship as their
personalities complement one another. Although both parents are
Jewish, Stern's on-air banter is that he is only "half-Jewish,"
with the other being Italian because "it's very hard to be Jewish
in this country...my half-Jewish side has been beaten with chains."
Stern's paternal grandparents, Froim and Anna (née
Gallar) Stern and maternal grandparents, Sol
and Esther (née Reich) Schiffman, were Austro-Hungarian
Jews who immigrated to
America at about the same time.
Stern often said that his parents verbally abused him as a child.
During an August 1990 broadcast when old family recordings were
replayed for the first time, some remarks have become show soundbites
, including "I told you not to be
stupid, you moron" and "Shut up! Sit down!" from his father at a
seven year-old Stern. Stern said his mother ran her house with "the
intensity of Hitler
" and that his
father's "favorite sport was yelling."
1969, the family moved to the Long Island town of Rockville
Centre, where Stern transferred from Roosevelt Junior High
School, a predominantly African American school, to South Side
High School, from which he would graduate in the spring of
1972. By the year's fall, having turned down an
acceptance at Elmira
College in upstate New York, Stern attended Boston
University for its
reputation in teaching broadcast communications.
during this time when Stern, now standing at a tall , developed an
interest in Transcendental
, which he practices to this day. He credits the
practice with aiding him in quitting smoking and achieving his
goals in radio. Stern has interviewed Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
, the founder of
the technique, twice in his career. His mother also learnt the
technique, claiming it cured her depression.
In his sophomore year, Stern volunteered at WTBU
, the campus radio station where he spun records
and read the news. In February 1975 he joined with three older
students to put on a comedy show named The King Schmaltz Bagel
, loosely named after the nationally syndicated rock
concert broadcast King
Biscuit Flour Hour
. The show ran for nine weeks before
being cancelled due to an outrageous sketch called "Godzilla Goes
to Harlem" which angered the station's manager. Stern graduated in
the spring of 1976 with a bachelor's degree in Communications,
carrying a 3.8 Grade Point Average. He now funds a scholarship
at the university.
On June 4,
1978, Stern married college sweetheart Alison Berns at Ohabei Shalom, a Reform synagogue in Brookline,
They have three daughters – Emily Beth (b.
May 7, 1983), Debra Jennifer (b. May 9, 1986) and Ashley Jade (b.
January 24, 1993). A hallmark of Stern's humor was his claim to be
tempted by the strippers, porn stars and lesbians appearing on his
show, but always insisted that he had to be faithful to his wife.
On October 25, 1999, Stern announced that he and Alison decided to
separate. They amicably divorced in 2001, which ended in a
settlement. Stern began a period of single living in New
York City's Upper West
Side, dating a number of women including Angie Everhart and Robin Givens.
spending time with Carmen Electra
"five times", the two have denied there was anything more intimate
than an outdoor shower in bathing suits.
In late 2000, Stern began dating model Beth Ostrosky
, who co-hosted Casino Cinema
on Spike TV
from 2004 to 2007. She had also frequently
appeared in the American edition of men's magazine FHM
until it ceased publication in 2007. The pair
have lived together in Manhattan with their bulldog
"Bianca Romijn-Stamos O'Connell."
also owns a house in the
Hamptons on Long Island.
On February 14, 2007, after a period of
seven years, Stern announced his engagement to Ostrosky. They later
married on October 3, 2008, at the Le
restaurant in New York City.
Stern regularly plays chess
on the Internet Chess Club
. He has taken on-line
lessons from Dan Heisman, a chess master from Philadelphia.
He is a fan of comic books and science
fiction, with his favorite superhero being Superman
. Stern is also a fan of the television
show The Munsters
, and greatly
admires the comedy of The Three
. He is avidly into fitness and runs and lift weights
regularly, though he complains that it has no visible effect on his
graduating from Boston University, Stern gained brief professional
experience as a disc jockey at WNTN in Newton,
Massachusetts. This was followed by two years as an on-air
personality and program director
for WRNW in Briarcliff
York, playing rock music. In late 1979, Stern
landed his first morning position in Hartford,
Connecticut at WCCC, whose progressive rock format promoted his
development as a free form on-air personality.
It was at
Hartford when Stern met his future show writer and producer
, a college student working
the overnight shift at the time. By April 1980, Stern moved to FM radio
station WWWW in Detroit,
Michigan, further developing his show until the station
adopted a country music format, much to his dislike.
year in Detroit, Stern then worked mornings at WWDC in Washington, D.C. for a year, quickly becoming the city's top morning
show in the quarterly Arbitron radio
It was at Washington when Stern paired with his
on-air news anchor Robin Quivers
mid-1982 he returned home to New York City working afternoons at
's flagship AM radio station, WNBC
. Working at NBC at that time was David Letterman
, who became a fan of Stern's
radio show. His guest appearance on Late Night with David
on June 19, 1984, launched Stern into the
national spotlight for the first time.
Following an abrupt firing from WNBC in September 1985, Stern
quickly returned to FM radio by joining WXRK
working afternoons on November 18, 1985. By February 1986, he moved
to the morning drive
his show was syndicated on
WYSP in Philadelphia, WJFK-FM in Washington, D.C. and KLSX in
Los Angeles, and then nationwide by Infinity Broadcasting.
program made great sport out of feuding with other cities'
top-rated morning personalities, and soon Stern's broadcast was
number one in the country's several major radio markets
. Stern remained at "K-Rock" until
December 2005, a period of over 20 years.
Stern's outspoken style has brought criticism. For example, a few
days after the murder of singer Selena
mocked the murder, poked fun at her mourners, and criticized her
music. Stern said, "This music does absolutely nothing for me.
Alvin and the Chipmunks have more soul... Spanish people have the
worst taste in music. They have no depth." Stern's comments
outraged and infuriated the Hispanic community across Texas.
October 26, 2004, then chairman of the FCC
Michael Powell was being
interviewed on KGO-AM radio in San
Francisco when Stern called in and questioned Powell's credentials,
and accused Powell and the FCC of crusading against Stern's show by
levying huge fines but not allowing them their day in court to
determine if the show is obscene.
Stern announced on October 6, 2004, that he signed a five-year
contract with Sirius Satellite
, a medium free from the regulations imposed by the
. He was unhappy broadcasting on commercial radio,
with the combined stresses of heavy censorship, editing by
management, and lengthy commercial breaks weighed into his decision
to move. Within the last month of his terrestrial radio run, Stern
revealed he felt "dead inside" creatively. The contract with
Sirius, which took effect on January 1, 2006, allowed Stern to have
three channels, although only two are currently used. Sirius
provided a budget of $
500 million to pay Stern,
production costs. His personal salary has not been revealed, Stern
claimed to Gene Simmons of KISS when asked about salaries he makes
$7 million a year, though media sources claim that Stern netted a
$218 million one-time stock bonus for meeting subscriber
In May 2006, Stern was included in the Time
list by Time
magazine, part of the hundred most influential people in the world.
and was ranked number seven in "World's Most Powerful Celebrity" by
On February 28, 2006, CBS Radio
announced it had filed a lawsuit against Stern, his agent Don
Buchwald, and Sirius, arguing that Stern promoted Sirius "to enrich
himself unfairly." It also claimed that Stern "repeatedly and
will-fully" breached his contract with CBS, "misappropriated
millions of dollars worth [of airtime]" for his own benefit and
"fraudulently concealed" his performance-related interests in
Sirius stock. The suit, filed in New York State Court, sought
and punitive damages
. Stern anticipated the
suit, and earlier that day, prior to CBS' announcement, held a
press conference, discussing how CBS added to the media attention,
even booking him for appearances on Late Show with David
. "I made them millions of dollars," Stern argued.
"If I was hurting them, why did they keep me on the air for
fourteen months? How can you have it both ways?"
When a settlement was announced on May 26, 2006, Sirius gained
exclusive rights to Stern's back catalogue of radio broadcasts at
from November 1985 to December 2005,
totalling almost 23,000 hours. The rights, costing Sirius
approximately $2 million, equates to approximately $87 per-hour of
Career in other media
Television and pay-per-view
Stern's career in television began in May 1987, when Fox
was looking for a late night talk show to
replace The Late
, then hosted by Joan
. Stern then recorded five pilot episodes
of The Howard Stern
which ultimately, never made it to air. In July 1990, Stern
began an weekly hour-long comedy show on WWOR-TV, also called The Howard Stern Show.
Lasting a total of 69 episodes before ending in 1992, Stern felt
production began to interfere with the growth of his radio show.
Stern however, began his time on the E! Entertainment Television
in late 1992, hosting a one-on-one celebrity interview show named
The Howard Stern Interview
In June 1994, cameras were installed in the radio show studio to
produce a half-hour show named Howard Stern
shown on E!. A
consistent ratings winner, the show came to an end after eleven
years in July 2005. During this time, Stern competed with
Saturday Night Live
with The Howard Stern Radio Show
, a Saturday night show
broadcast on CBS
and its affiliates. This was
soon to be unsuccessful, with Stern's show being beaten by
in the ratings. The show ran for 84 episodes until May
19, 2001. Stern quit further episodes so he could produce a
syndicated show called Kane
, yet the show was never
produced. He was also involved with a pilot starring comedian
that didn't get
picked up as a series.
In 2002, Stern's production company, Howard Stern Productions,
acquired the rights to the 1979 film Rock 'n' Roll High School
the 1982 film Porky's
, neither of
which have yet to be re-made. Stern was also a producer of the
series Son of the Beach
which ran for three seasons. He informed listeners in early 2004
that he was in talks with ABC
to produce an interview
special, which never materialized. He also intended to produce two
and Howard Stern: The High School
, but neither of these ever made it to the airwaves. In
2009, Stern explained that he refused to agree to flash animation
over traditionally drawn
Stern released his first autobiography, Private Parts
, on October 15,
1993. It quickly became top of The New York Times Best Seller list
, and after
five days, the fastest-selling in publisher Simon & Schuster
's 70-year history.
Stern released his second book, titled Miss America
, on November 7, 1995.
It too, became number one across the country within weeks of its
Stern has written forewords
, a biography of Abbie
, Disgustingly Dirty Joke Book
by former show
writer and comedian Jackie Martling
and Too Fat to Fish
current comedian Artie Lange
Film and music
Stern's 1993 autobiography
adapted into an eponymous
film in 1997, developed from a script by Len
and Michael Kalesniko. Directed by Betty Thomas
, the film topped the box office
in its opening weekend with a gross of
$14.6 million, and slightly more than $41 million in total.
Although receiving mostly positive reviews from critics including
Siskel and Ebert
, Rotten Tomatoes
claim the film glossed over
Stern's use of his sexual and racial humor. For his performance,
Stern won the Blockbuster Entertainment
for "Favorite Male Newcomer." The awards are given based
on write-in votes from fans, and Stern won by a wide margin. Stern
was also nominated for a Golden
for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion
Picture (Comedy)," and a Razzie Award
for "Worst New Star."
In 1994, Stern embarked on a political campaign for Governor of New York
announcing his candidacy under the Libertarian Party
His platform included restoring the death
, limiting road construction work to night hours, and
abolishing tolls. However, he subsequently withdrew his candidacy
because he did not wish to comply with the financial disclosure
requirements for candidates.
In popular culture
Stern's prevalent media presence has led to his being parodied or
referenced in various outlets;
radio show is spoofed briefly in British satire Brasseye as The Adolf Snarn Show
during the "Sex" episode.
- In the Family Guy episode
"Mr. Griffin Goes to
Washington", a flashback depicts Peter
Griffin repeatedly yelling "Bababooey!" at the Clarence Thomas hearings, a reference to
Stern fans' practice of shouting that word (itself a reference to
Stern's producer, Gary Dell'Abate)
in order to disrupt live call-in TV and radio shows.
- In the Futurama episode "The Luck of the Fryish", while
walking down an empty 'Old' New York City, Fry yells out "Howard
Stern is overrated!", as one of the things he always wished he
could have done in New York.
- He has been twice depicted in the MTV
claymation comedy Celebrity Deathmatch, first as the
victorious opponent of Kathie Lee
Gifford, and again as a guest referee in a match between
Carmen Electra and Jenny McCarthy.
- In the South Park episode
"Fat Camp", Kenny McCormick has oral
sex with Stern in exchange for money.
- In the 1990s show Animaniacs episode
Morning Malaise, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot enter the studio of "Howie
Tern," a clear parody of Howard Stern.
- Both Howard Stern and The Lion
King are parodied on The
Critic as animals would gather around the New York area to
worship The Cockroach King. Stern would then ask a
cricket to show him her thorax, which she would cheerfully giggle
- Stern, p. 63
- Stern, p. 39
- Stern, p. 111
- Stern, pp. 43-44
- Stern, p. 92
- Stern, p. 46
- Stern, p. 43
- Stern, p. 36
- Stern, p. 41
- Stern, p. 65
- Colford, p. 28
- Stern, pp. 54-55
- Colford, p. 29
- Stern, p. 117
- Colford, p. 30
- Stern, p. 115
- Casino Cinema on Internet Movie Database
- Stern, pp. 117-118
- Colford, p. 30
- Stern, p.119
- Stern, p.122
- Stern, p.125
- Stern, p.127
- Asin, Stephanie and Dyer, R.A. "Selena's public outraged: Shock jock Howard
Stern's comments hit raw nerve." Houston Chronicle,
April 6, 1995. Retrieved on February 1, 2008.
- YouTube video of Michael Powell confrontation
- Sirius Satellite Radio Inc · 8-K · For 10/1/04
- CBS Radio files lawsuit against Stern, Sirius
CBC March 1, 2006
- FMQB: Howard Stern Attains Broadcast Archives From CBS
Radio, Settles Suit
Howard Stern Show" (1990)
- Ratings of Howard Stern, SNL and MadTV
- The Howard Stern TV Shows: Kane
- The Howard Stern TV Shows: Doomsday
- The Howard Stern TV Shows: Howard Stern: The High
- Box Office Report - Box Office by Film - Private
- Private Parts Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten
- Blockbuster Entertainment Awards 1998
- Razzies awards forums 1997 "Winners"
- Howard Stern - Libertarian