When Howard Stern learned that FCC Chairman Michael Powell was going to be live on the air with KGO/San Francisco morning man Ronn Owen, he couldn't resist the temptation to call in and ask the questions that have been burning in his mind. The conversation yesterday wasn't an overly-heated exchange, but the tension between Stern and Powell was evident.
Stern said he was not satisfied with the exchange. "I have to tell you that I hung up the phone and I was so frustrated. First of all, being on the phone while he was on a microphone did not allow me to control, or at least be on equal footing. I started to respond and it was impossible."
Stern is still on the hunt for his own interview with the FCC Chairman, but it is unlikely Powell will ever appear on Stern's show. Stern has offered to interview Powell during his radio program or on his yet-to-debut ABC television interview show.
Owen called in to Stern's show this morning to discuss yesterday's segment, saying Powell didn't want to take calls initially, but got him to agree to take a few once the show was underway. He said the expression on Powell's face when he heard Stern was on the phone was "discomfort. He wasn't thrilled." Owen also added that Powell's "press secretary went nuts, called my producer complaining about the fact that it was an ambush and a set up."
"It shouldn't be so shocking that a taxpayer wants to ask a question of a public official," said Stern. "[Powell's people] freak out because a taxpayer has called in and asked a couple of hard questions. What's happened in this country? Our politicians are like kings."
Stern later added that he "is sure there is going to be fallout" from the encounter.