Over 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”.