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February 26, 2004

Clear Channel Axes Stern Now?

Now?

After all these years of outrageous, gross and offensive (and rarely funny) antics and high ratings, Clear Channel Communications dumps Howard Stern from all its radio stations.

Now?

It's REALLY hard not to think this decision has a lot to do with the fact that Stern has now started to become hypercritical of George Bush Junior, long time good friend of Clear Channel founder and former CEO Lowry Mays.

Who can be quoted thusly: "We're not in the business of providing news and information. We're not in the business of providing well-researched music. We're simply in the business of selling our customers products."

Of course, if that was true, Howard Stern would still be on all their stations. Mays forgot one thing that Clear Channel is all about - blatantly inserting themselves in politics.

UPDATE 10:22 Surprisingly, according to
this report, Stern is only on six CC stations.

Stern reacts here.

UPDATE 14:33 Jay Caruso's thrice-updated take here. Surprise, he agrees with me (or v.v). Jeff Jarvis' take here, including this goodly reminder:
Don't like Stern? Fine. I understand. Don't want to defend Stern? Ok, but what happens when they come after somebody you do like. What happens when Bill O'Reilly slips one day and says something that offends someone in a gotcha way and that's just the excuse somebody needed to demand that he go off the air. Or Andy Rooney. Or Dan Rather. Or Al Franken, once he's on radio. Doesn't matter what your political stripe is; it's all speech and once it can be shut off for one guy it can be shut off for the next.
Defending free speech almost always starts with defending those whose speech you don't like -- but if you don't defend that speech, then you defend no one's speech.
I dislike almost everything Howard Stern does.

NB I changed my post above to say "former" CEO Mays as in all the stories I read John Hogan is now the CEO.