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Not Quite The King Of New Media: Howard Stern Versus Podcasters

Howard Stern Ari Shaffir Podcast Broadcasting Radio RelevanceOver the past few weeks Howard Stern has taken a few potshots at podcasters and especially comedians who would rather podcast than in his words “become professional broadcasters”.

In the second clip, Stern states that in order to gain a following, “You gotta go on terrestrial radio and wait until the ratings book to come out to find out if you’re any good.” Is this 1985? or even 2005? Howard thinks that you can only be a comedian or a broadcaster.

What Stern fails to grasp is that many of these comedians are not looking to become full-time broadcasters even if the opportunity arose. While some like Chris Hardwick, Marc Maron, and Scott Aukerman have used their podcasts for increased television opportunities and converting their podcasts into TV shows, most simply are looking for increased exposure or an additional venue to share their thoughts. Those are two things that Stern hasn’t needed to worry about in decades.

Ari Shaffir, the comedian who Stern is mostly talking about fits into the latter. The era of mass appeal broadcasting is over.

I’m still waiting for a guy, a team, a morning show get the kind of numbers I used to rack up on terrestrial radio. And then once you do that you’re a proven commodity.

So unless you reach the levels of Stern (or Rush Limbaugh and Adam Carolla, both of whom Stern name drops) you’re a failure as a host or any broadcaster. Nowadays you can become known through multiple venues. You can reach just as many, if not more people through podcasts, YouTube, Twitter, or many other platforms that didn’t exist in the decade since Howard Stern was last on terrestrial radio.

That’s what a podcast is. You can sit in your room and pretend you’re on the radio. Pretend you’re broadcasting

And here is where Howard shows how much he’s out of grasp with the reality of today’s media. Podcasting IS Broadcasting. Blogging IS Broadcasting. Tweeting IS Broadcasting. These are all forms of media competing for your eyes and ears. Ask newspapers what the internet has done to them or what cable has done to over-the-air television viewership. Nobody is going to reach the numbers they did a decade ago with a continuous expansion of the available options.

The media landscape that Howard Stern claimed to rule in the 1990s and early 2000s is gone. The kingdom may still have quite a few subjects to rule over but even this conversation will lead to more exposure for what Howard believes is beneath him. As Dustin Marshall, the founder/producer of the FeralAudio network tweeted, “Howard Stern saying the word podcast 150 times and calling us losers in our bedrooms is the best thing that has ever happened”.

Profile photo of Lance Venta
Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

2 Comments

  1. Profile photo of Autodyne


    Audiocasting via the cloud is only “broadcasting” in the sense that you have the potential to reach an unlimited audience. In reality, that audience has to take actions to receive your audiocast, and it’s impossible for them to take those actions if they don’t know that the ‘cast exists. Youtube, social networking and video services can provide the promotional platform from which to launch a successful audiocast, but because the bar for entry is low, as Stern points out, any untalented schlub can audiocast.

    Talent with promotion can transcend the noise level, but the days of relying on limited bandwidth to attract a sizable lowest common denominator audience, radio’s bread and butter, are coming to a close.

    The only way anyone in new media is going to “broad”cast, is to change the definition of ‘broad.’

    The only ‘broadcasts’ left in the near future may be a dictator’s speech to an imprisoned populace, The World Cup and the Superbowl. Everything else will be slimcasting or nichecasting.

    Will entities that share Stern’s level of talent and ambition thrive in this new media environment? Sure. But the mechanisms that will propel them forward are still in development. Right now, starting a podcast from scratch without the benefit of ‘old media’ exposure or winning the Youtube lottery guarantees you nothing but anonymity.

  2. Profile photo of okayisthisggod


    Nobody had a better response than this guy.. Howard should of just played this clip of this guy responding to Ari Shaffir..
    This guy just totally speaks the truth. The real truth. This brutally honest

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