In today's $495,00 fine against Clear Channel, the FCC ruled that two separate segments of the April 9, 2003 Howard Stern Show were indecent. In one, Stern and sidekick Stuttering John Melendez talked about John's sex life with his wife, with Stern noting that they "have anal every other time they do it" and that John's wife "loves anal." The segment also includes Stern expressing his personal revulsion at the thought of a naked, sweaty, obese Artie Lang engaging in oral sex. The segment was punctuated by "the sound of someone passing gas or evacuating" (the FCC's words), and that, says the Commission, made it "clear that the material was designed to shock and pander."
Compared to some of the other material the FCC has previously ruled indecent, we'd say this segment sounds relatively tame. In its response to the Commission, Clear Channel said the material wasn't patently offensive because it was less explicit than other material deemed not actionably indecent in unpublished FCC staff decisions.
Here's a transcript of the objectionable material from the first segment:
Radio Station: WBGG-FM, Fort Lauderdale, Florida Date/Time Broadcast: April 9, 2003, between 7:25 and 7:45 a.m. Material Broadcast: The Howard Stern Show
Stern: …John's anal talk. John revealed that in his sex life with his wife they have anal every other time they do it., [Sound of flatulence or anal evacuation] which seems excessive. Some people wrote in. Here's one: "John must have some homosexual fantasies based on his need for [flatulence] anal. [flatulence] We all know it doesn't feel nearly as good as straight sex." I don't know if a man or a woman wrote that. [flatulence]
"Jesus H. Christ, just the thought of that [flatulence] obese slob Artie on the bed all sweaty, hairy, and naked giving his girlfriend [flatulence] a, what do you call that, using his mouth in a really dirty place makes we want to friggin' shoot myself. Imagining the scene with Bobbabooey was no better. [flatulence]."
Robin: Oh, my God.
Finally, "if Stuttering John keeps up with his every other time [flatulence][at this point you can clearly hear that something is deleted or "dumped" from Stern's commentary by means of the broadcast delay capability] unless of course he's so small that it isn't much of a strain on her."
John: Hey, Howard, I was only kidding about that.
Stern: No you weren't. Why, your wife came down on you?
John: Let's just say it wasn't a pleasant day in the Menendez household.
Stern: Really, why? Is she embarrassed?
John: Yes, she doesn't, you know, want our sex life out [flatulence].
Stern: Oh please! So, what, no more anal?
John: [flatulence] Let's just say it's every once in awhile [flatulence].
Stern: Aye, yi, yi. You were lying, then, yesterday.
John: Yeah, I was lying [flatulence].
Stern: Okay. What?
Another voice: You know what? The in-laws heard. That's got to be tough.
Stern: Was it the in-laws?
John: No, no, she just happened to turn it on and goes "What is this?"
Stern: But I've heard from her [flatulence] that she loves anal.
John: Yes, but that's at the dinner table with us, not with the whole world listening [flatulence].
Another voice, imitating John's mother-in-law: I saw you telling everyone that you give anal to my daughter. [flatulence]
In the other offending segment, Stern interviewed the inventor of "Sphincterine," a personal hygiene product you probably won't find at your local pharmacy. The FCC says the discussion included repeated references to oral sex, "the olfactory aspects of excretory activity," and the expression "swamp ass." Like the first segment, the Commission used the broadcast's inclusion of the sounds of flatulence (apologies to Simon & Garfunkel) to strengthen its case.
Stern: So Bruce, I'm going to let you plug your product Sphincterine. Now I even said I'd let you do your jingle. Give them the Sphincterine jingle, first of all.
Bruce: All right, this is a band called the Dead Beatles. [Musical jingle begins]: Sphincterine makes you tingle, feel so clean. Oh, Sphincterine. Cleans you sphincter and what's between. Ho, hey!
Stern: What did you pay for that?
Bruce: Nothing, that's my band the Dead Beatles.
Stern: The Sphincterine product. How much money have you invested in this so far would you say?
Bruce: Probably about twenty grand.
Stern: And it's …
Robin: How much have you made?
Bruce: I probably have tripled that in just about six months, nine months.
Stern: You say you invented Sphincterine because a chick was giving you oral and you had a swamp ass?
Bruce: Yeah, that's basically it, Howard, yeah. I had a bad experience and my girl friend who's in the green room right now was in a spontaneous mood and she caught me at a bad time and …
Stern: Is you girlfriend good looking?
Bruce: Yeah, she's cute.
Stern: Yeah. So, oh, let me talk to her. I want to hear what swamp ass smells like.
Bruce: I'm not sure she's going to want to do this.
Stern: What, describe swamp ass?
Bruce: She can describe swamp ass, but I'm not so sure she wants to go on the air.
Stern: So, when you develop a product, are you a chemist, that you would know how to do it?
Bruce: I'm a chemist. I develop products for a natural product company. And, uh, …
Stern: So you decided to branch out on your own.
Stern: Oh, there's your girlfriend. She is cute.
Bruce: Thank you.
Stern: So you were giving this animal oral, and you said "Man you've got swamp ass"? Was that how it went down?
Female Guest (Cat): Actually no, I went close for oral.
Bruce: How close? Nine inches away, I think it was.
Stern: Yeah. And you just said …
Robin: You couldn't get any closer.
Stern: And you said, "Oh, my God. You stink." [recording of flatulence noise] What happened? Had you gone to the bathroom that day and not showered?
Bruce: Yeah, it was like the end of the day, and Cat is a spontaneous woman and she just caught me with my pants down [flatulence noise].
Stern: Okay [flatulence noise] and you're hot by the way.
Cat: Thank you.
Stern: Yeah. What are you doing with a guy with swamp ass? [flatulence]
Bruce: Hey, it was a one shot deal.
Stern: Honey, before I'd bang you I'd take a nice shower.
Cat: You would?
Stern: Yeah, I sure would
Cat: Oh. That would be nice.
Stern: Yeah. So …
Bruce: I go beyond that. Now I Sphincterine before I bang her.
Stern: Talk about Sphincterine. So, you developed this product, and let's say I go to the bathroom, and I don't feel fresh.
Bruce: You were talking recently about when you go to the bathroom, you use toilet paper with water on it. This product is really excellent for that particular situation you have.
Stern: What is it, a spray bottle or a cream?
Bruce: It's a liquid, and it also comes in towelettes. So what you've got is something that you, the liquid, that you apply to toilet paper like water, as you once said on the air.
Stern: I see.
Bruce: You put it on, it's all natural ingredients.
Stern: Is it like a baby wipe?
Bruce: It's like a baby wipe, but those wipes are loaded with chemicals and bad ingredients. This is all natural, and it feels good. And you know, I'm going to let Cat talk about another purpose, uh, Cat.
Stern: I don't know if I want an infomercial.
Bruce: No, Howard, this is cool.
Stern: You know your dog was probably going to beat Artie anyway.
Bruce: The bottom line is that Cat uses it on the front as well.
Stern: Really? No problems using that? It doesn't affect you in anyway?
Cat: No. Actually, but it has a nice effect. It makes you tingle…