In the modern world of radio, raunchy DJs and morning shows are a dime a dozen. There are hundreds of Preston & Steves and Opie & Anthonys and everything in between. Radio wasn’t always so forgiving to the world of comedy, though. Someone had to pave the way. Someone had to punch a gaping hole into the world’s preconceived notions about the lines between obscenity and entertainment and give the censors a reason to get up in the morning. That person was Howard Stern.
Although the roots of Stern’s legacy started well before, the 90s were the decade of superstardom for a lanky half-jew from New York. Despite his ill-begotten stints on WNBC and WWDC, his most long-winded radio role took place at New York’s own KROCK radio station where he spent 20 years entertaining the masses on terrestrial radio.
Everyone always tried to pigeon hole the guy by associating him with nothing more than shocking material, dick, and fart jokes. The man, his show, and his legacy was so much more than that. He didn’t just infiltrate the mediums of radio, television, film and literature, he CHANGED them.
Before Howard, it was impossible to find a radio show or celebrity interviewer who asked the questions people were really thinking about. He didn’t sit there and stroke celebrities when he was faced with them or kiss their feet and grovel like so many talk show hosts, he came at them with every hilarious and off-putting question and wouldn’t stop until he got a taste of the truth. Some people thought it was too aggressive and intrusive while others felt it was a breath of fresh air and a bit of fun. Either way, it was something NEW.