The Rob’s Experience With Howard Stern
Setting Evansville straight about the King of All Media, and what to expect on America’s Got Talent.
I’ve made no secrets about the fact that I grew up listening to The Howard Stern Show, in fact I still do to this day. Today, “The King of All Media” begins a new chapter his legendary broadcasting career… Becoming a key player on a family-oriented major network prime time television show. The controversial media fixture will become the third judge, replacing Piers Morgan on NBC’s America’s Got Talent.
I would never in a million years watch a show like America’s Got Talent until Stern was added to the cast. This morning right around when my show started, local NBC 14 affiliate posted on Facebook asking their viewers what they thought about Howard being added to the show’s lineup. I want to make it very clear that I’m aware that the nudniks that comment on local news outlets’ Facebook pages are not the highest-quality thinkers, and certainly not a fair representation of Evansville and its brainpower.
I am also aware that The Howard Stern Show was never broadcast on the radio here in Evansville. People here know him mostly for his television show which ran on the E! network from the early nineties through 2005, or his major motion picture Private Parts… Neither are accurate representations of his radio show.
I also want to make it clear that I don’t think disliking Howard or his show is a “dumb opinion,” you are certainly entitled to that. But, much like when this same news outlet inquired about the death of Joe Paterno earlier this year, people who know absolutely nothing about the subject crawl out of the woodwork and suddenly become experts in a field where they honestly have no real knowledge or insight. (Full disclosure: I am a Penn State University graduate.) It takes an awful lot of restraint to not sink to the know-nothing Facebook status commenters’ level and not poke fun at their intellect, spelling/grammar, or default pictures, but I somehow manage to refrain.
Unlike the dolts crowing their thoughts about News 14’s Facebook page, I actually have experience with radio’s self-professed “King.” Eight years ago I was able to work for Howard’s show as a production intern. I worked with Howard every weekday for four months, and I wanted to share my experiences with you:
His public persona has always been greatly exaggerated and misconceived, especially in places like Evansville where his radio show never aired. The professionalism he displays on and off the air to people of all walks of life is remarkable. He treats his interns with the same level of respect as he does the president of his company. He could not be further from the misogynistic, chauvinistic, pig swine filth uninformed people paint him out to be.
While interactions between Howard and anybody besides his close staff are very minimal, there are a few personal interactions I had with him that will always stand out to me. One day I had pitched a few song parodies I had been working on to his producers. A few of them made the cut as being “good enough” to pitch to Howard. He wound up using a few of them a couple times on the air throughout that summer. When he found out that one of his over-a-dozen interns had created them, he actually sought me out to say a quick thank you for my contributions. I know many people reading this aren’t in the entertainment industry, but things like this just don’t happen with “normal” celebrities. You won’t hear many stories of people like Larry King approaching his interns for any reason at all, let alone to thank them. It may sound stupid to somebody reading this, but that encouragement meant everything to me.
Howard often times speaks of how quickly he wants to leave the studio and go home as soon as his show ends. He doesn’t dawdle or chit chat at all, but there was another time he personally came to find me in my little production studio because he “heard I was doing good work” from the internship coordinator. He didn’t have to do that for me, but he did.
Believe it or not, he actually personally introduced me momentarily to one of CBS Radio’s vice presidents. I believe he was about to meet with Joel Hollander at the time, and he stopped me in the hall and told Joel, THE VICE PRESIDENT OF CBS RADIO, about my silly song parodies I had done earlier in my internship. Those were quite literally two of the most powerful people in radio at the time. I could barely muster up the strength to shake Joel’s hand… I was an unpaid intern who had just turned 21 years old. I remember Mr. Hollander told me he hoped to hear more good things from me in the future, and every time I crack the microphone today I hope to make those men who believed in me proud.
Later that summer, by coincidence I happened to share an elevator with Howard and some of his team. I was quite surprised to find out that he had actually remembered my name and again was appreciative for the work I had done. I remember that on the last day of my internship, Howard asked the internship coordinator, a lovely woman named Anne-Marie, to take him to my studio again so he could thank me one last time for the work I had done. Again, I can’t express how rare and classy that is for a man who continues to get assaulted for his viewpoints.
I learned a lot from Howard that summer, too. The man is a champion of free speech and women’s rights. (Yes, that’s right News14 yentas, I said “women’s rights.”) He reinforced my then-still-forming thoughts on gay issues, rights, and marriages, stressing the importance of equality for all people. He helped raise an awful lot of money for the North Shore Animal League, a New York-based animal rescue organization. And this parade of naked women, strippers, porn-stars, and prostitutes I keep hearing about? It’s not really quite as exciting and as frequent as you’re lead to believe. It’s not some wild orgy or party behind the scenes, it’s quite subdued and probably much like the office you and/or your family work in. He also keeps his interns very protected. Flirting or dating with interns, male or female, is absolutely prohibited from the staff… A rule handed down by Howard himself. The interns themselves are NEVER sexualized, and any woman that ever is sexualized, is so based on her on free will.
He’s a father of three daughters, a dog, multiple cats, and a faithful husband who wants nothing more than to be with his family in his spare time, yet gets regarded as a pornographer by people that have never even heard his show. The thought of him turning your beloved America’s Got Talent into an oversexed X-rated snuff film (which I honestly read in the comments section of the afore-mentioned status) is, in a word, dumb. All he’ll be bringing to A.G.T. is an honest opinion (which all of these ridiculous talent shows lack), a breath of fresh air, and a sense of humor… Which I hope everyone with a snarky Stern comment develops at some point.
Enjoy America’s Got Talent with new judge Howard Stern debuting tonight at 7 on NBC… I promise, your children will not turn into stone.