Howard Stern in May 2012.
|Born||Howard Allan Stern
January 12, 1954
Jackson Heights, New York City, United States
|Alma mater||Boston University|
|Occupation||Radio personality, television talent competition judge, author, actor, photographer|
|Political party||Libertarian during 1994 Governor of New York campaign|
|Spouse(s)||Alison Berns (1978–2001; divorced; 3 children)
Beth Ostrosky Stern (2008–present)
Howard Allan Stern (born January 12, 1954) is an American radio personality, television show host, author, actor, and photographer, whose radio show was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2005. He gained wide recognition in the 1990s and is labeled a "shock jock" for his outspoken and sometimes controversial style. Stern has been exclusive to SiriusXM, a subscription-based satellite radio service, since January 2006. Since 2012, he has served as a judge on America's Got Talent.
Stern wished to pursue a radio career at the age of five. While at Boston University, he worked at the campus station WTBU before a brief stint at WNTN in Newton, Massachusetts. He developed his on-air personality when he landed positions at WRNW in Briarcliff Manor, WCCC in Hartford, Connecticut, and WWWW in Detroit, Michigan. In 1981 he paired with his current newscaster and co-host Robin Quivers at WWDC in Washington, D.C., before working afternoons at WNBC in New York City in 1982 until his sudden firing in 1985. He reemerged on WXRK that year, and became one of the country's most popular radio personalities during his 20-year tenure at the station. He became the most-fined host after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued fines to station licensees for allegedly indecent material that totaled $2.5 million. Stern won Billboard’s "Nationally Syndicated Air Personality of the Year" award eight times, and became one of the highest-paid figures in radio after signing a deal with Sirius worth $500 million in 2004. Though critical of the organization, Stern was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2012.
Stern describes himself as the "King of All Media" for his ventures outside radio. Since 1987, he has hosted numerous late night television shows, pay-per-view events and home video releases. He embarked on a five-month political campaign for Governor of New York in 1994. His two books, Private Parts (1993) and Miss America (1995), entered the The New York Times Best Seller list at number one. The former was made into a biographical comedy film in 1997 that had Stern and his radio show staff play themselves; it topped the box office chart and grossed $41.2 million domestically. Stern performs on its soundtrack which charted at number one on the Billboard 200. Stern's photography has been featured in numerous magazines including Hamptons and WHIRL.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 2.1 Early professional radio career (1976–1981)
- 2.2 Washington and WNBC New York (1981–1985)
- 2.3 K-Rock, early television endeavors, and Fartman (1985–1992)
- 2.4 Private Parts, E! show, and run for Governor of New York (1993–1994)
- 2.5 Miss America and Private Parts film (1995–1997)
- 2.6 CBS show and productions (1998–2004)
- 2.7 Satellite radio and America's Got Talent (2004–present)
- 3 FCC fines
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Filmography
- 6 Discography
- 7 Bibliography
- 8 References
- 9 Sources
- 10 External links
Stern was born on January 12, 1954. His parents, Bernard (Ben) and Ray, were both Austro-Hungarian Jews. He has a sister Ellen, who is four years older. Stern developed an interest in radio at five years of age. Ray was a homemaker and later an inhalation therapist, Ben was a co-owner of Aura Recording, Inc., a recording studio in Manhattan where cartoons and commercials were produced. When he made occasional visits with his father, Stern witnessed actors Wally Cox, Don Adams, and Larry Storch voice his favorite cartoon characters, which influenced him to later talk on the air rather than play records. Ben was also an engineer at WHOM, a radio station in Manhattan. Upon completion of sixth grade, Stern left Washington-Rose Elementary School for Roosevelt Junior-Senior High School. In June 1969, the family moved to nearby Rockville Centre and Stern transferred to South Side High School.[not in citation given]The school's yearbook in 1972, the year he graduated, lists only one student activity, Stern's membership in Key Club.
Stern spent the first two of four years at Boston University in the College of Basic Studies. In 1973, he started to work at WTBU, the campus radio station where he spun records, read the news, and hosted interviews. He also hosted a comedy program with three fellow students called The King Schmaltz Bagel Hour. Stern gained admission to the School of Public Communications in 1974 and earned a diploma in July 1975 at the Radio Engineering Institute of Electronics in Fredericksburg, Virginia which allowed him to apply for a first class FCC radio-telephone license. With the license, Stern made his professional debut at WNTN in Newton, Massachusetts, performing airshift, newscasting, and production duties between August and December 1975. He graduated magna cum laude from Boston University in May 1976 with a degree in Communications and in 2010, was funding a scholarship at the university.
Early professional radio career (1976–1981)
After graduating in 1976, Stern declined an offer to work evenings at WRNW, a progressive rock station in Briarcliff Manor, Westchester County, New York. He was unsure of his talent, and questioned his future in the professional industry. Stern took creative and media planning roles at Benton & Bowles, a New York advertising agency, followed by a job in selling radio time to advertisers. He soon realized the mistake of declining on-air work and contacted WRNW a second time where he agreed to work covering shifts over the Christmas holiday period. Stern was hired full-time in 1977 and worked a four-hour midday shift, six days per week, on a $96 weekly salary. He subsequently worked as the station's production and program director for an increased salary of $250.
In 1979, Stern spotted an advertisement for a "wild, fun morning guy" at rock station WCCC in Hartford, Connecticut. He submitted a more outrageous audition tape with Robert Klein and Cheech and Chong records mixed with flatulence routines and one-liners. Stern was hired with no change in salary and a more intense schedule. After four hours on the air he voiced and produced commercials for another four. On Saturdays, following a six-hour show, he did production work for the next three. As the station's public affairs director he also hosted a Sunday morning talk show, which he favored. In the summer of the 1979 energy crisis, Stern held a two-day boycott of Shell Oil Company, which attracted media attention. Stern left WCCC a year later after he was denied a pay increase. Fred Norris, the overnight disc jockey, has been Stern's writer since 1981.
According to Paul D. Colford, a former writer for Long Island Newsday, Stern listened to tapes of Steve Dahl and Garry Meier sent from Chicago by a friend of the chief engineer at WCCC Hartford. Colford claims Stern eventually developed his on-air style as a result of these tapes. Dahl had previously worked at WWWW before leaving for Chicago. 
Management at rock outlet WWWW in Detroit, Michigan, praised Stern's audition tape in their search for a new morning man. Stern was hired for the job which he started on April 21, 1980. He learned to become more open on the air and "decided to cut down the barriers...strip down all the ego...and be totally honest", he later told Newsday. His efforts earned him a Billboard award for "Album-Oriented Rock Personality of the Year For a Major Market" and the Drake-Chenault "Top Five Talent Search" title. The station, however, ran into problems after Stern's quarterly Arbitron ratings had decreased while it struggled to compete with its stronger rock competitors. In January 1981, WWWW switched to a country music format much to the chagrin of Stern, who left the station soon after. He received offers to work at WXRT in Chicago and CHUM in Toronto, Canada, but did not take them.
Washington and WNBC New York (1981–1985)
Stern moved to Washington, D.C., to host mornings at rock station WWDC on March 2, 1981. He wanted to develop his show further, and looked for a co-worker with a sense of humor to riff with on news and current events. The station paired Stern with Robin Quivers, a newscaster and consumer affairs reporter from WFBR in Baltimore. Though he felt restricted and controlled by management who enforced a strict format, Stern had the second highest rated morning radio program in January 1982. Impressed with his ratings success, NBC approached Stern with an offer to work afternoons at WNBC in New York City. After Stern signed a five-year contract worth $1 million in March, his relationship with WWDC management worsened, and his contract with the station was terminated on June 25. He had more than tripled the station's morning ratings during his stay. In its July issue The Washingtonian named Stern the area's best disc jockey. Stern released 50 Ways to Rank Your Mother, a comedy album of his radio bits. The record was re-released as Unclean Beaver in November 1994.
On April 2, 1982, a news report by Douglas Kiker on raunch[clarification needed] radio featuring Stern aired on NBC Magazine. The piece stimulated discussion among NBC management to withdraw Stern's contract. When he began his afternoon program in September, management closely monitored Stern, telling him to avoid talk of a sexual and religious nature. In his first month, Stern was suspended for several days for "Virgin Mary Kong", a segment featuring a video game where a group of men pursued the Virgin Mary around a singles bar in Jerusalem. An attorney was hired to man a "dump button", and cut Stern off the microphone should potentially offensive areas be discussed. This became the task of program director Kevin Metheny, who Stern nicknamed "Pig Virus". He was portrayed by Paul Giamatti as a composite character under the name Kenny "Pig Vomit" Rushton in the 1997 movie, Private Parts. On May 21, 1984, Stern made his first appearance on Late Night with David Letterman, launching him into the national spotlight. A year later he claimed the highest ratings at WNBC in four years with a 5.7% market share.
On September 30, 1985, Stern and Quivers were fired for what management termed "conceptual differences" regarding the show. "Over the course of time, we made a very conscious effort to make Stern aware that certain elements of the program should be changed...I don't think it's appropriate to say what those specifics were", said program director John Hayes, who Stern nicknamed "The Incubus". In 1992, Stern believed Thornton Bradshaw, chairman of WNBC's owner RCA, heard his "Bestiality Dial-a-Date" segment and ordered him to be fired. Stern and Quivers kept in touch with their audience throughout October and November where they toured club venues with a stage show.
K-Rock, early television endeavors, and Fartman (1985–1992)
Stern signed a contract with Infinity Broadcasting worth around $500,000 and returned to afternoons on its New York rock station WXRK on November 18, 1985. The show moved to mornings on February 18, 1986, and entered national syndication on August 18 when WYSP in Philadelphia first simulcast the program. In October 1992, Stern became the first to have the number one morning radio show in New York and Los Angeles simultaneously. In the New York market, The Howard Stern Show was the highest-rated morning program for seven consecutive years between 1994 and 2001. In 1994, Billboard magazine added the "Nationally Syndicated Air Personality of the Year" category to its annual radio awards based on entertainment value, creativity, and ratings success. Stern was awarded the title from 1994 to 2002.
In May 1987, Stern recorded five television pilots for Fox when the network planned to replace The Late Show hosted by Joan Rivers. The series was never picked up; one executive having described the show as "poorly produced", "in poor taste", and "boring". Stern hosted his first pay-per-view event on February 27, 1988 named Howard Stern's Negligeé and Underpants Party. Over 60,000 homes purchased the two-hour special that grossed $1.2 million. On September 7, 1989, over 16,000 fans packed Nassau Coliseum for Howard Stern's U.S. Open Sores, a live event that featured a tennis match between Stern and his radio show producer Gary Dell'Abate. Both events were released for home video. From 1990 to 1992, Stern was the host of The Howard Stern Show, a Saturday night program on WWOR-TV. The series ran for 69 episodes to 65 markets nationwide. In February 1991, Stern released Crucified by the FCC, a collection of censored radio segments following the first fine issued to Infinity by the FCC over alleged indecency. He released a third video tape, Butt Bongo Fiesta, in October 1992 that sold 260,000 copies for a gross of over $10 million. He returned to Saturday night television that November with The Howard Stern "Interview", a one-on-one celebrity interview series on E!.
Stern appeared at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards as Fartman, a fictional superhero that first appeared in the National Lampoon humor magazine series. According to the trademark he filed for the character that October, he first used Fartman in July 1981. Stern rejected multiple scripts for a proposed summer 1993 release of The Adventures of Fartman until a verbal agreement was reached with New Line Cinema. Screenwriter J. F. Lawton had prepared a script before relations soured over the film's rating, content, and merchandising rights and the project was abandoned.
Private Parts, E! show, and run for Governor of New York (1993–1994)
In 1993, Stern signed a $1 million advance contract with publisher Simon & Schuster to write his first book. Co-authored with Larry Sloman and edited by Judith Regan, the release of Private Parts on October 7, 1993 saw its first printing of 225,000 copies being sold within hours of going on sale. It became the fastest-selling title in the history of Simon & Schuster in five days. In its eighth printing two weeks later, over one million copies had been distributed. Private Parts entered the The New York Times Best-Seller list at number one, and spent 20 weeks on the list during its first release. Stern's book signing tour began with a signing in New York City that was attended by an estimated 10,000 people.
Stern hosted his second pay-per-view event, The Miss Howard Stern New Year's Eve Pageant, on December 31, 1993. It broke the subscriber record for a non-sports event, previously held by a New Kids on the Block concert in 1990, with around 400,000 households purchasing the event that grossed an estimated $16 million. In early 1994 the program was released on VHS entitled Howard Stern's New Year's Rotten Eve 1994. Between his book royalties and pay-per-view profits, Stern's earnings in the latter months of 1993 totalled around $7.5 million. In its twentieth anniversary issue issued in 1993, Radio & Records named Stern the most influential air personality of the past two decades.
During his radio show on March 21, 1994, Stern announced his candidacy for Governor of New York under the Libertarian Party ticket, challenging Mario Cuomo for re-election. Stern planned to reinstate the death penalty, stagger highway tolls to improve traffic flow, and limit road work to night hours. At the party's nomination convention on April 23, 1994, Stern won the required two-thirds majority on the first ballot, receiving 287 of the 381 votes cast (75.33%). James Ostrowski finished second with 34 votes (8.92%). To place his name on the November ballot, Stern was obliged to state his home address and to complete a financial disclosure form under the Ethics in Government Act of 1987. After declining to disclose his financial information, Stern was denied an injunction on August 2, 1994. He withdrew his candidacy two days later. Cuomo was defeated in the gubernatorial election on November 8, 1994, by George Pataki, whom Stern backed. Pataki signed The Howard Stern Bill that limited construction on state roads to night hours in New York City and Long Island, in 1995.
In June 1994, Stern's radio show began to be filmed for a half-hour television show on the E! network. Howard Stern ran for eleven years until the last taped episode aired on July 8, 2005. In conjunction with his move to satellite radio, Stern launched Howard Stern on Demand, a subscription video-on-demand service, on November 18. The service relaunched as Howard TV on March 16, 2006.
Miss America and Private Parts film (1995–1997)
On April 3, 1995, three days after the shooting of singer Selena, Stern's comments regarding her death and Mexican Americans caused an uproar in the Hispanic community. He criticized her music and gunfire sound effects were played over her songs. "This music does absolutely nothing for me. Alvin and the Chipmunks have more soul...Spanish people have the worst taste in music. They have no depth". On April 6, Stern responded with a statement in Spanish, stressing his comments were made in satire and not intended to hurt those who loved her. A day later, Justice of the Peace Eloy Cano of Harlingen, Texas issued an arrest warrant on Stern for disorderly conduct but Stern was never arrested on this warrant.
In 1995, Stern signed a deal with ReganBooks worth $3 million to write his second book, Miss America. He wrote about his cybersex experiences on the Prodigy service, a private meeting with Michael Jackson, and his obsessive-compulsive disorder. Released on November 7, 1995, the book sold 33,000 copies at Barnes & Noble stores on the same day which set a new one-day record. Publishers Weekly reported over 1.39 million copies were sold by the year's end and ranked it the third best-selling book of 1995. Miss America spent a total of 16 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list.
Production for a film adaptation of Private Parts began in May 1996 with all shooting complete in four months. Its premiere was held at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden on February 27, 1997, where Stern performed "The Great American Nightmare" with Rob Zombie. Making its general release on March 7, Private Parts topped the box office sales in its opening weekend with a gross of $14.6 million, and went on to earn a total of $41.2 million in domestic gross revenue. The film holds a "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a website that aggregates film reviews. 79% of critics gave Private Parts a positive review based on a sample of 48 reviews, with an average score of 6.6 out of 10. For his performance, Stern won a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for "Favorite Male Newcomer" and was nominated for a Golden Satellite Award for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Comedy)" and a Golden Raspberry Award for "Worst New Star". The soundtrack to Private Parts sold 178,000 copies in its first week of release, topping the Billboard 200 chart.
Stern filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against Ministry of Film Inc. in October 1997, claiming it recruited him for a film called Jane starring Melanie Griffith while knowing it had insufficient funds. Stern, who was unpaid when production ceased, accused the studio of breach of contract, fraud, and negligent representation. A settlement was reached in 1999 with Stern receiving $50,000.
CBS show and productions (1998–2004)
In August 1998, Stern returned to Saturday night television with The Howard Stern Radio Show, an hour-long program broadcast nationwide on CBS affiliates featuring radio show highlights with material unseen in his nightly E! show. The show competed for ratings alongside Saturday Night Live on NBC and MADtv on Fox. Concerned with its risqué content, affiliates began to leave the show after two episodes. Making its launch on 79 stations on August 22, 1998, this number was reduced to 55 by June 1999. A total of 84 episodes were broadcast. The final re-run aired on November 17, 2001, to around 30 markets.
In 1994 Stern launched the Howard Stern Production Company for original and joint production and development ventures. He intended to make a film adaptation of Brother Sam, the biography of the late comedian Sam Kinison. In September 1999, UPN announced the production of Doomsday, an animated science-fiction comedy series executively produced by Stern. Originally set for a 2000 release, Stern starred as Orinthal, a family dog. The project was eventually abandoned. From 2000 to 2002, Stern was the executive producer of Son of the Beach, a sitcom which ran for three seasons on FX. In late 2001, Howard Stern Productions was reportedly developing a new sitcom titled Kane. The pilot episode was never filmed. In 2002, Stern acquired the rights to comedy films Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979) and Porky's (1982). He filed a $100 million lawsuit in March 2003 against ABC and the producers of Are You Hot?, claiming the series was based on his radio segment called "The Evaluators"; a settlement was reached on August 7, 2003.
Stern announced in early 2004 of talks with ABC to host a primetime interview special, which never materialized. In August 2004, cable channel Spike picked up 13 episodes of Howard Stern: The High School Years, a second animated series Stern was to executive produce. On November 14, 2005, Stern announced the completion of episode scripts and 30 seconds of test animations. Stern eventually gave the project up. In 2007 he explained the episodes could have been produced "on the cheap" at $300,000 each, though the quality he demanded would have cost over $1 million. Actor Michael Cera was cast as the lead voice.
Satellite radio and America's Got Talent (2004–present)
On October 6, 2004, Stern announced the signing of a five-year contract with Sirius Satellite Radio, a medium free from FCC regulations, that started in January 2006. His decision to leave terrestrial radio occurred in the aftermath of the controversy surrounding the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show in February that caused a crackdown on perceived indecency in broadcasting. The incident prompted tighter control over content by station owners and managers, which Stern said made him feel "dead inside" creatively. Stern hosted his final broadcast on terrestrial airwaves on December 16, 2005. During his 20 years at WXRK his show had syndicated in 60 markets across the United States and Canada and gained a peak audience of 20 million listeners.
With an annual budget of $100 million for all production, staff and programming costs, Stern launched two channels on Sirius in 2005 named Howard 100 and Howard 101. He assembled the Howard 100 News team that covered stories about his show and those associated with it. A new studio was constructed at Sirius' headquarters in New York dedicated specifically for the shows. On January 9, 2006, the day of his first broadcast, Stern and his agent received 34.3 million shares of stock from the company worth $218 million for exceeding subscriber targets set in 2004. A second stock incentive was paid in 2007, with Stern receiving 22 million shares worth $82.9 million. In the same month, Time magazine included Stern in its Time 100 list. He also ranked seventh in Forbes' Celebrity 100 list in June 2006, and reappeared in 2011 at number 26. As of August 2013, Stern earns $100 million a year from his radio show.
On February 28, 2006, CBS Radio (formerly Infinity Broadcasting) filed a lawsuit against Stern, his agent, and Sirius, claiming that Stern misused CBS broadcast time to promote Sirius for unjust enrichment during his last 14 months on terrestrial radio. In a press conference held hours before the suit was filed, Stern said it was nothing more than a "personal vendetta" against him by CBS president Leslie Moonves. A settlement was reached on May 25, with Sirius paying $2 million to CBS for control of Stern's 20-year broadcast archives. In December 2010, Stern re-signed his contract with Sirius to continue his show for a further five years. The new contract allowed Stern to work a reduced schedule from four to three-day working weeks. Following the agreement, Stern and his agent filed a lawsuit against Sirius on March 22, 2011, for allegedly failing to pay the stock bonuses promised to them from the past four years while helping the company exceed subscriber growth targets. Sirius said it was "surprised and disappointed" by the suit. On April 17, 2012, Judge Barbara Kapnick dismissed the lawsuit and prevented Stern and his agent from filing lawsuits for similar allegations.
In 2011, it was announced that Stern would replace Piers Morgan as one of the judges on America's Got Talent for its seventh season He was also a judge in the eight and ninth seasons.
Stern married his first wife, Alison (née Berns), on June 4, 1978, at Temple Ohabei Shalom in Brookline, Massachusetts. They have three daughters: Emily Beth (b. 1983) Debra Jennifer (b. 1986), and Ashley Jade (b. 1993). On October 22, 1999, Stern announced their decision to separate. The marriage ended in 2001 with an amicable divorce and settlement. In 2000, Stern began dating model and television host Beth Ostrosky. On February 14, 2007, Stern announced their engagement. They married on October 3, 2008, at Le Cirque restaurant in New York City.
Stern revealed in 2006 that he had rhinoplasty and liposuction in the 1990s to change the shape of his chin. Stern's parents developed an interest in Transcendental Meditation in the 1970s, which they shared with their son. Stern credits it with helping him to quit smoking and achieve his goals in radio, and practices the technique to this day. Stern plays on the Internet Chess Club, and has taken lessons from chess master Dan Heisman.
|1986||Ryder, P.I.||Ben Ben Wah - T.V. Commentator|
|1997||Private Parts||Himself||Blockbuster Entertainment Award for "Favourite Male Newcomer" (1998)|
Home video releases
|1988||Howard Stern's Negligeé and Underpants Party||Himself/Host|
|1989||Howard Stern's U.S. Open Sores|
|1992||Butt Bongo Fiesta|
|1994||Howard Stern's New Year's Rotten Eve 1994|
|1987||The Howard Stern Show||Himself - Host||Series of 5 pilot episodes that never aired|
|1988||The New Hollywood Squares||Announcer - Guest|
|1990–1992||The Howard Stern Show||Himself - Host|
|1992||1992 MTV Video Music Awards||Fartman|
|1992–1993||The Howard Stern "Interview"||Himself - Host|
|1993||The Larry Sanders Show||Himself||Season 2, episode 18|
|1994–2005||Howard Stern||Himself - Host|
|1997||Saturday Night Live||Himself||Season 22, episode 14|
|1998–2001||The Howard Stern Radio Show||Himself - Host|
|2001||The Concert for New York City||Himself|
|2005–present||Howard TV||Himself - Host||Known as Howard Stern On Demand before March 2006|
|2012–present||America's Got Talent||Himself||Judge, replaced Piers Morgan|
|1982||50 Ways to Rank Your Mother||Wren Records||Re-released as Unclean Beaver (1994) on Ichiban/Citizen X labels|
|1991||Crucified By the FCC||Infinity Broadcasting|
|1997||Private Parts: The Album||Warner Bros.||Billboard 200 Number-one album from March 15–21, 1997|
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