When did Howard Stern jump the shark?

The Audiophiliac ponders the rise and fall of Howard Stern.

I first became a huge Howard Stern fan when he was on WNBC here in New York. This was back in the early 1980s when he radically advanced the state of the art of humor on the radio. Despite his huge ratings he had endless clashes with the NBC brass, which led to his firing. Clearly, the hostile environment wasn't a radio "bit," it was real. Stern was always keeping it real. It was all such compelling radio Stern based his biopic movie, "Private Parts," mostly on that time period.

After the NBC canning the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" moved to another NYC station, WXRK, where he was more comfortable and still amazingly funny.

I'd say he jumped the shark when he divorced his wife Alison in 2001. After all of those years of lusting after his female guests he was a free man. Some male listeners expected to be in on Stern's exploits as a single man, but he clammed up. Or maybe it was when his head writer and sidekick Jackie Martling left the show, also in 2001. The energy level dropped a few more points.

If he didn't jump the shark after those losses, Stern surely did after the move to Sirius Satellite Radio. Great, he was rich and uncensored, but the edge was completely gone. To me at least, he seems like he'd rather be somewhere else, enjoying his wealth. He's in his 50s, and the shock jock schtick is wearing thin.

What do you think? Does Stern still have it or has his talent faded away?

About the author

Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Home Theater, Inner Fidelity, Tone Audio, and Stereophile.

 

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