Howard Stern Show Yanked Off the Air
Clear Channel Communications, owner of the nation's largest radio-station chain, pulled the plug on shock-jock Howard Stern on Wednesday, claiming he did not meet its programming standards, the Associated Press reports.
The move is part of the conglomerate's new zero-tolerance policy toward indecency, and comes in the wake of Clear Channel's decision on Tuesday to fire another deejay, known as "Bubba the Love Sponge," after he was fined $755,000 by the Federal Communications Commission for graphic on-air comments.
Clear Channel, which is believed to carry Stern's show on six stations total in Florida, New York, California, Pennsylvania and Kentucky, said it made the decision to drop Stern's show following an interview he did Tuesday with Paris Hilton's ex-boyfriend Rick Salomon, who is behind a new Internet site selling copies of their infamous sex tape.
Stern's conversation with Salomon reportedly contained graphic sexual descriptions and at least one racist comment from a caller, Reuters reports. "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," Clear Channel president John Hogan said in a statement.
What effect the ban will have on Stern's show was not immediately clear. The show is syndicated by Infinity Broadcasting, a division of Viacom. Infinity operates 185 stations across the country, Reuters reports.
Reps for Stern, Infinity and Viacom were not available for comment, but Stern spent much of Thursday morning discussing the Clear Channel decision.
"I'm under attack," he said, as he took calls from supportive listeners. "I just found out about this last night."
The FCC is revisiting its decency standards following the televised Super Bowl halftime show during which Justin Timberlake ripped off part of Janet Jackson's top, exposing one of her breasts.
"They've been after me since 1992 ... then Janet Jackson whipped out her boob and that's all they needed," Stern said.
Members of a House of Representatives subcommittee on indecency are expected to meet Thursday with executives from Clear Channel, NBC, ABC, FOX and Pax. The committee met earlier with CBS and parent company Viacom, which broadcast the Super Bowl, AP reports. At that meeting, the maximum fine for indecency was increased tenfold, from $27,500 to $275,000.
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