Howard Stern – One Man, Changed our culture forever; For Better or For Worse

October 31st, 2011 by Michael Tabor
Incidentally, this is the only picture you can find of Howard Stern back in the 1980s. He is so incredibly vain that he pays people to remove pictures of himself from the web. So take a good look because I’m sure it won’t be up for long, I’m sure his people will urge me to remove it.
This is an incredible claim but it is absolutely 100% true. I have been hesitant to write about what I knew for a decade because it is such a sweeping and bold statement and we here at WhaDaWeThink are not in the business of making frivolous proclamations just for the sake of being outrageous. Just as MTV and Michael Jackson changed the music world (Before Michael Jackson, young white people listened to what is now called classic rock and black people listened to R&B – and after writing about Howard I will elaborate on it in another blog) Howard Stern obviously not only changed the talk radio universe (incidentally, Howard and the Howard Stern copycats like Opie and Anthony are basically passé but are still popular on Satellite radio) he changed our culture.
Allow me to elaborate: I was a freshman in college and in my car listening to Rush – (8 -track tape) 2112. I pulled out the tape and I accidentally ended up on AM radio and there and then I heard this nasally voice coming through the airwaves. I was surprised to hear that a radio station would allow a man with such a funny voice be on the radio so I listened and it wasn’t long until I understood why.  First, I heard the word “penis”, then “lesbian” and I was shocked beyond words – mind you this is 1981 in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday. I listened some more and more and I was CAPTIVATED. It wasn’t just the dirty words – this man was interesting and unspeakably different and original. It was as though I were “listening in” on something private and personal; as if the DJ had forgotten to turn off the on button when one breaks to a commercial and I was privy to what was going on BEHIND THE SCENES of a radio station. That was the MAGIC – behind the façade, an honest person speaking his mind and courageously spewing prodigiously intimate details like the fact that he had a small penis and that he masturbated too much. WHAT?
Needless to say I was narcotically hooked. I listened to him every day and told all my friends about this Howard Stern – they all got hooked and they in turn told all of their friends (no one listened to AM radio back then except for baseball games. )I couldn’t get enough of this guy; I would even listen to his show live, tape it and listen to it again the same day. I was a fan, perhaps the biggest Howard Stern fan in the world and I wanted more.
I was a huge fan and I didn’t even know what he looked like (before internet folks). I didn’t know what I expected to see but the first time I saw him he was on David Letterman (BTW, I’m not gay) I was surprised. [Appearing] on TV was this really tall guy with glasses and a mustache; no he didn’t have the rock star look yet, that came later. I’m going to finish this blog tomorrow (there is obviously so much) and suffice it to say I’m 48 years old now and I don’t listen to him anymore although strangely enough some of my friends still do. I’m not being elitist here because Howard is still a funny guy and the way he and Robin cover the news is still amazingly good. However, you will have to wait until tomorrow; I haven’t even touched on how he changed our culture and why I personally turned against him. (hint: same old show– strippers,etc. and his cruelty to disabled people)
So WHADAWETHINK ? What do you Think? Younger people who read this probably don’t understand the prodigious impact Howard Stern had on us but people my age do. A lot more to come; See you tomorrow everybody.
Check out this old video of Howard Stern on David letterman – 1984. The material is tame and dated but this was shocking to us, no one ever did these things on TV before. He subsequently got fired from WNBC and went on to super- stardom. He was making $200,000 a year then and actually started his career making 20k. Now Sirius pays him 100 million a year – unreal !
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