HOWARD STERN HAS SECOND THOUGHTS ABOUT HIS NOTORIOUS
ON-AIR PRAYER FOR FCC COMMISSIONER'S CANCER TO SPREAD,
HE SAYS IN A "60 MINUTES" PROFILE SUNDAY
Views his Move to Satellite Radio as a "Checkmate" Against his Nemesis, the FCC
Praying on air that the cancer suffered by his nemesis, then Federal Communications Commissioner Alfred Sikes, would spread was one of the more controversial stunts Howard Stern pulled. But the potty-mouthed radio jock says he has second thoughts about saying it now. Stern tells this to Ed Bradley and shows a softer side of his persona in a profile to be broadcast on 60 MINUTES, Sunday, Dec. 4 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
"You know what," he tells Bradley, "I don't know that I would do that now. I'm older," says Stern, who at 51 is almost the same age Sikes was when he was diagnosed with the prostate cancer he eventually recovered from.
When Stern made the remark in 1992, his sexually explicit show had become the FCC's favorite target for fines, piquing Stern's ire. "When I get angry and really fired up and feel like my back is up against the wall, I will say vicious things," explains Stern. "Rather than hide that, I would rather put that out on the radio and let someone see the full range of [my] emotions," he tells Bradley.
Stern does not regret the remarks because, he believes, they make for good radio. "If you're going to be strong on the radio, you've got to let it all hang out -- even the ugly stuff -- and you can't apologize for it," he says.
Next month, Stern's extremely popular show moves to uncensored Sirius, a satellite radio network not regulated by the FCC. Sirius is paying hundreds of millions of dollars to Stern to single-handedly make the fledgling medium a success. Does Stern see his move from over-the-air radio as ultimately a defeat in his long battle against the FCC? "You could choose to look at it that way," he tells Bradley, "but I don't. I look at it that I won. I go to a new medium. I'm uncensored, and for me, it's a checkmate," says Stern.
Bradley's profile reveals a softer side of Stern. Instead of outrageous, Stern gets emotional when discussing his show's staff and very introspective when he returns to his hometown, Roosevelt, Long Island. There he suffered the effects of being one of the few white kids in a mostly black town, picked on in school and replete with bad memories that shaped his character and his show. "I think when you listen to me, you're an insider. You're in the club. We're not the guy in Roosevelt High School being goofed on when we're all together. We're strong," he tells Bradley.