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Howard Stern is a disk jockey, talk show host, author and television personality. His long-running show broadcasts via satellite radio.
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At BU, Stern volunteered at the college radio station, and got his first taste of the business. After his debut program, a broadcast that included a racially charged skit called "Godzilla Goes to Harlem" BU cancelled the show.
It was also at BU that Stern met his future first-wife, Alison Berns, whom Stern had chosen to cast in a student film on transcendental meditation. On the couple's first date,
Following his BU graduation, which saw him finish with a 3.8 GPA and a bachelor's in communications, Stern immediately set out to begin his radio career. His first gig came at a small radio station in Briarcliff Manor, New York, and it was here that it dawned on Stern that he would forever be relegated to a life of mediocrity if he continued on as a straight deejay. "So I started to mess around," he said. "It was unheard-of to mix talking on the phone with playing music. It was outrageous. It was blasphemy."
But it was exactly what Stern wanted to do. So the deejay moved to Hartford, Connecticut, and then Detroit. When the Michigan station changed its format to country and western, Stern fled to Washington, D.C.
In D.C., Stern made significant career inroads. There, he meet Robin Quivers, a newswoman and former Army nurse, who became a part of the Stern radio team ever since. Stern also began developing a reputation for his wild antics. In January 1982, following the crashing of an Air Florida flight into the 14th Street Bridge in D.C., Stern got on the phone and called the airline. "What's the price of a one-way ticket from National Airport to the 14th Street bridge?" he asked. "Is that going to be a regular stop?"
Later that year, Stern moved back to New York after he accepted a job with WNBC-AM. But trouble awaited the deejay before he even got behind the microphone, as his new—and apparently nervous—bosses handed the jock a long list of orders. The list prohibited Stern from using, among other things, "jokes or sketches relating to personal tragedies," as well as "slander, defamation or personal attacks on private individuals or organizations unless they have consented or are a part of the act."
At first, the neutered Stern tried to play nice and follow the station's mandates, but within short time the deejay openly went to war against the station. He began showcasing bits like "Sexual Innuendo Wednesday" and "Mystery Whiz" in which listeners tried to guess who was going to the bathroom. Finally, in 1985, Stern was fired, freeing him to eventually sign on with the New York City-based WXRK, better known as K-ROCK.
At the new station, Stern took his radio career to new, pioneering heights, confronting two of his favorite subjects—race and sex—in controversial ways. To the surprise of radio executives but not hard-core fans, Stern, seated in the station's morning slot, knocked off WNBC's Don Imus to claim the ratings mantle.
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