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America's Got Howard

Opinion

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Howard Stern Promo for America's Got Talent

Howard Stern Promo for America's Got Talent

Screenshot: YouTube.com
King of All Media Leaves Castle for Network

After a self-exile to satellite radio over six years ago, Howard Stern will come back to the public airwaves when America's Got Talent begins Season 7 this summer. A clever Super Bowl XLVI ad promoted the new judge as a ruthless critic by portraying him with a fire hose, ready to water-cannon anyone off stage who doesn't rise to the standard of talent he expects.

Stern announced his affiliation with America's Got Talent during his Sirius XM radio show on December 15 of last year. Executive Producer, Simon Cowell, has also said besides Stern's replacement of Piers Morgan, a fourth judge will be named to join Stern and veteran judges Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel. Nick Cannon is still host. Cannon also does the morning show on 92.3 NOW/New York. (The show is heard weekdays from 6:00 - 10:00 a.m. ET at 92.3 FM, online at 923now.com, and through mobile devices.)

Stern's relationship with NBC goes back all the way to the early 1980s when he did afternoons on 66 WNBC-AM from 1982 until he was fired in 1985. His time spent there is the stuff of legends. Don Imus was doing mornings and he and Stern were competitive co-workers. His experiences at the station and other moments of his earlier career were depicted in the 1997 movie Private Parts, based on the book he authored in 1993.

Everyone Saw the Writing on the Wall

When Stern accepted employment at Sirius Satellite Radio he left traditional AM and FM radio at a time when controversial personalities were being beat down by a wave of goody-two-shoe critics, a vigorously aggressive Federal Communications Commission, and a bevy of employers who developed the largest case of "cold feet" ever witnessed in media. Employers loved the ratings, but didn't like the fines for indecent material.

On the heels of the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" at Super Bowl XXXVIII's halftime show in February, 2004, it became clear the tolerance for indecent material and those who made a living dancing on the edge of it, was about to become severely restrained. Big fines were being handed down to companies like Clear Channel, Emmis Communications, Infinity Broadcasting, Entercom, and others. Ratings or not, it was becoming too expensive to employ shock jocks like Stern.

So, he escaped to the paradise that is satellite radio where anything can be said, any four-letter word can be uttered, where nothing is too obscene, profane, or indecent. He was joined there by people like Bubba the Love Sponge and Opie & Anthony.

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