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Howard Stern is a disk jockey, talk show host, author and television personality. His long-running show is currently broadcast via satellite radio.
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Armed with an identifiable and talented on-air team that included Quivers, as well as producer Gary "Baba Booey" Dell'Abate, writer Fred Norris, and stand-up comic/writer Jackie "the Jokeman" Martling, Stern proved to be a ratings force. By 1993, he was in 14 markets and claimed some 3 million daily listeners.
Much of it was tied to the show's fearless approach. In one memorable instance in 1992,
Stern deployed correspondent "Stuttering" John Melendez to a Gennifer Flowers press conference in which she planned to take questions from reporters about her alleged affair with then-Presidential candidate Bill Clinton. To the dismay of his "colleagues" at the event, Melendez didn't hold back, asking Flowers if Clinton practiced safe sex and whether she planned on sleeping with any other candidates.
Stern's popularity was taken to new heights soon after with the release of his autobiography, Private Parts, a detailed, funny look at his Stern's life that also served to pay homage to his wife Alison, her patience with him, and the job she'd done to raise their three daughters, Emily Beth (b. 1983), Deborah Jennifer (b. 1986) and Ashley Jade (b. 1993). With more than 500,000 copies in print its first month, Private Parts proved to be the fastest-selling book in Simon & Schuster's 70-year publishing history. After taking the top spot atop The New York Times bestseller list in October 1993, it remained there for a full month. Five years later, the book was turned into a successful movie starring Stern himself.
The increased success and salary (by 1995, Stern was reported to be earning $8 million a year from just the radio program), hardly constrained Stern. Instead, it seemed to only unleash more of the very things that had made him successful. Following the death of Tejano singer Selena, Stern mocked the star by playing gunfire over the performer's music. In addition, Stern went to say that "Spanish people have the worst taste in music," prompting protests and a warrant for his arrest by the justice of the peace in Harlingen, Texas. Stern later apologized for the comments.
Four years later, another firestorm erupted when, just a day after the Columbine High School shootings in April 1999, Stern questioned why the killers didn't try and have sex with some of the girls before they shot them. The Colorado State Legislature issued a censure against the shock jock.
Of course, Stern's behavior didn't just catch the attention of a portion of the radio listening in public. He also proved to be far from popular with the Federal Communications Commission, too. By 2005, the FCC had levied some $2.5 million in fines against Stern's employers.
Stern, though, is a lesson in contrasts. For all his bravado and wild behavior, he is by his own admission an insecure person, whose self-deprecating humor factors greatly into his show. "Maybe it was the way I was raised, or something, but I always feel like I'm garbage," he told The New Yorker in 1997. "I think what it comes down to, and maybe this is a personality flaw again, a character flaw, but I could to a book signing and see twenty thousand people out there and I don't feel great from that.
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