The WSJ had a story today about how local radio stations are scrambling to fill the morning drive-time void that will be left by Howard Stern when he trades in terrestrial radio for satellite at the end of this year. While apparently there are plenty of foulmouthed jerks out there, it seems nobody has quite mastered Stern’s uncanny ability to pair just the right fart joke with curse-laden sexually explicit banter. And even if they have, nobody has built a national following that can be used, like Stern’s, to pay the FCC fines and still make a handsome profit.
That got me to thinking that perhaps it wasn’t Stern’s ribaldry, per se, that made him the self-proclaimed “king of all media.” Maybe (if Stern’s hagiographic paean, Private Parts is to be believed) he got to where he is because when he started he was totally fresh, totally original, and totally un-tune-outable. All of which suggests that these radio stations are wasting their time looking for the next Howard Stern. How can someone like that be topped? He can’t. Love him or hate him, he’s an original. And that’s what radio stations should be on the hunt for: somebody that totally upends radio’s conventional wisdom. How do you think local stations should cope?