Stern Threatens To Quit If Bush Signs Indecency Bill
March 11, 2004
The Howard Stern saga continues. Although Infinity is saying they will stand by their man, Stern is threatening to quit anyway if President Bush signs new indecency legislation into law. On this morning's show, Congressman Gary Ackerman called in to discuss the bill and assure Stern that he would not sign it. Ackerman said the vote on the bill is happening today, and that he feels it will easily pass through the right wing-controlled House but that the Senate may oppose it. (The bill passed in the House this afternoon, see separate story.) Stern replied by saying that if Bush signs the bill, he will resign as soon as it becomes a law. In fact, he went as far as to say that he's so tired of getting censored every morning that he may resign anyway, even if the bill isn't signed by Bush. Stern lamented that he just wants to do comedy his way, and radio has become too much of a battle.
While he could just be saying that out of anger and frustration, Stern reiterated that FCC sources have told him that Chairman Michael Powell wants him off the air, whether it be now or after the next presidential election, and he dared Powell to issue his indecency fines now instead of waiting until after the election. He also made the point that he believes his suspension by Clear Channel was directly related to him denouncing President Bush in the past few months, rather than specific incidents of indecency.
While Infinity is insisting that Stern won't be gone anytime soon, he said on the air today he has not ruled out the idea of going to satellite radio. However, he feels that satellite companies are not prepared to quickly manufacture the number of radios that would be needed to accommodate all of his fans that would want to buy them, should he decide to make that move. Stern believes that only about 50,000 receivers are ready to go and the demand could be up to 5 million, and that they don't have the technology to roll out the equipment fast enough.
However, an Infinity source told Radio Business Report that the satellite move won't happen. "He's not going to satellite," said the source. "First of all, he can't. He's under contract with us for two more years. So it's not even an issue... we're going to defend him."