Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- Howard Stern Retirement & The Howard Stern Forever Strategy
- What Should SiriusXM Do With Howard 100, Howard 101 And The SiriusXM App?
- Reboot Howard Stern History
- Reboot Sternthology
- Howard Stern Retrospective
- Howard Stern Feuds
- Howard Stern Cast - Where Are They Now?
- Sal And Richard Phony Phone Call Show
- Best Of The Wack Pack Show
- Cancel The Wrap-Up Show
- Add More Context To The Howard Stern Interviews
- Rename And Reboot Saturday Soundtracks
- Add A New Host, And New Show To Howard 100
- Howard Stern Specials
- The Howard Stern Show Changed - It Had To
- Howard Stern Retirement: The Moment All True Stern Fans Dread
We can’t say he didn’t warn us. Howard Stern has been hosting radio shows since 1976, and he’s repeatedly mentioned that he’s ready to retire. But with countless hours of material in The Howard Stern Show archive, even if Stern retires, there are plenty of opportunities for The Howard Stern Show to live on forever. Here’s a detailed Howard Stern retirement strategy that can keep the popular radio show alive for years to come.
Howard Stern Retirement & The Howard Stern Forever Strategy
If Howard walks away from his radio show at the end of his 2020 contract, that doesn’t mean SiriusXM will take Howard’s show off their platform. In 2015, Howard signed a 12-year content deal with SiriusXM. Even if he doesn’t continue broadcasting live radio shows after 2020, SiriusXM has access to Stern’s library of content until 2027.
What will SiriusXM do with Howard Stern’s archives? Here are some ideas on how SiriusXM can keep Stern fans engaged after Howard Stern retires. Let’s call it the Howard Stern Forever strategy.
What Should SiriusXM Do With Howard 100, Howard 101 And The SiriusXM App?
When Howard retires, what should SiriusXM do with his satellite radio channels, Howard 100 and Howard 101? It makes sense to keep at least one live radio channel. Howard 100 is a powerful brand for SiriusXM. Channel 101 can be repurposed if necessary. With the SiriusXM app (or a rumored Howard 360 app), most of Howard Stern’s archive content can be delivered on-demand. His team needs to add a LOT more content to keep fans engaged.
NERD NOTE: Before the digital audio era, dedicated Stern fans would record The Howard Stern Show using VHS cassettes. By only recording audio on a videotape, VHS tapes could record 4-6 hours, usually long enough to capture Stern’s entire radio show.
Ideas On How To Package Howard Stern’s Archives After He Retires
Howard’s broadcast career has lasted almost five decades. When he retires, he will leave behind one of the biggest radio archives in history. Here are some new ideas and ways to optimize current efforts relating to the Howard Stern Archives.
Reboot Howard Stern History
Howard Stern History is a playlist in the SiriusXM app that features new and old show content. The franchise isn’t strongly defined, and there’s currently not much difference between Sternthology and Howard Stern History. Both franchises desperately need a reboot and much stronger identities.
To increase the value of Howard Stern History, random show clips should be moved to Sternthology, and only major show milestones into the Howard Stern History playlist. For example, Howard’s FCC Battles (1990-2004), I See O.J. Prank Call (1994), Gary’s Ex-Girlfriend Tape (1998), Howard Stern Run For Governor (1994), Howard Saves The George Washington Bridge Jumper (1994), Gary’s First Pitch (2009), and Carmen Electra Rides The Sybian (2006) to name a few. Each clip should be packaged with a brief, but thoughtful, introduction by Stern and other key staff members and explain why that moment is so important to the show’s history.
There’s also a place for more ambitious episodes in the Howard Stern History playlist. The Howard Stern Show has been on the air for so long that it has historical relevance. Old segments from the show are frequently referenced today in news reports. Donald Trump‘s many appearances are just one example. All of Trump’s appearances could be packaged into a more in-depth complication under the Howard Stern History franchise.
What’s the difference between Howard Stern History and Sternthology? They both play classic Stern clips, but when listening to Sternthology, you have to fast-forward ~5 minutes past Stern show staffers rambling (usually not about the clip they are introducing) to get to the actual clip. As a lifelong fan, it’s annoying.
I love listening to classic Howard Stern Show segments, but the way that Sternthology is currently produced doesn’t work. Here’s why Sternthology is broken and how to fix it.
- I don’t think the Stern Show staff fully understand time-shifting and how people with the SiriusXM app listen to content on-demand. If you’re going to go through the effort to produce a show, make it timeless. Dated statements like “on yesterday’s show” or “last week” are confusing and unnecessary. Stop hosting a “live” dated radio show and start creating evergreen packages. Why would you not create content that has a shelf life of years? It’s the same amount of effort to produce. Why not start building evergreen packages for Stern’s archives that fans can listen to forever?
- I have huge respect for Stern Show staffer Rahsaan Rogers and his intimate knowledge of the show’s history. But I’m not too fond of the way that he randomly packages his Sternthology clips. He usually pulls a few random clips for each episode. Sternthology doesn’t need to be a “show” forced to fit into a format. It’s unnecessary. Sternthology could be neatly packaged into individual clips.
- And finally, I would remove the permanent host element from Sternthology. There are so many celebrities and notable personalities that have access to SiriusXM’s microphones every day. Just have Rahsaan produce the show and invite a celebrity guest to introduce each Sternthology segment. Let that guest tell a little tidbit or story about the clip’s subject; it will be more interesting than Stern staff ramblings. Plus, with Howard in retirement, his archive channels could benefit from current celebrity connections. It’s a great opportunity to introduce Howard’s archives to younger audiences. Between special guests and fans leaving voicemail requests, you don’t need a host for Sternthology.
Howard Stern Retrospective
Since 2010, Howard has worked hard to repair parts of his past, apologize to people, and create a closure where possible. But Howard hasn’t fully confronted many of the behind the scene’s drama, celebrity feuds, and changes on the show… on the air. Instead, he often addresses these matters more in-depth with reporters than his radio audience.
As a fan, I would love to hear Howard be honest and real about his biggest on-air regrets and introduce the clips that he would rather pretend aren’t part of his radio archives. It could even be its own franchise called something like Howard Stern Retrospective. When Howard Stern retires, he will need exclusive anchor content to give fans a reason to explore his archives. This is it. Here are some examples of what this retrospective franchise could include.
- Robin Williams Interview (Early 90s): In the early days of The Howard Stern Show, it was rare that Howard would get an A-list guest. And when he did get a big guest, he would often blow it. One of Howard’s biggest regrets is how he conducted his interview with Robin Williams. When discussing his interview with Williams to The Hollywood Reporter, Stern said, “I could have had a great conversation.” Instead, Stern used his time with Robin Williams asking him things like if he was sleeping with his nanny. Years later, Williams committed suicide while Stern was reaching out to apologize for the sloppy interview.
- New Year’s Rotten Eve Pageant – Blackface Sketch (1993): In 2020, numerous shows, including 30 Rock and The Howard Stern Show, faced criticism for their past use of blackface. In 1993, Howard did a pay-per-view special called New Year’s Rotten Eve, where he parodied Ted Danson’s blackface routine at the Whoopi Goldberg’s Friars Club Comedy Roast. Howard gave an interview to Fox News about the controversy but never replayed the original clip on his show. The pageant wasn’t the only time that Stern used blackface. He also used blackface during a talk show appearance while he was at DC-101 and Clarence Thomas sketches on his old Channel 9 TV show. In the Fox News interview, Stern said, “I’ll be the first to admit. I won’t go back and watch those old shows; it’s like, who is that guy. But that was my shtick, that’s what I did, and I own it.” What better way to “own it” than playing the sketch for his audience and reacting to it?
- Gilda Radner (1983): Howard has talked a lot about how he regrets how his interview with Gilda Radner went in 1983. Gilda was so on edge during the interview that at one point, she jumped up and hit her head on a speaker in the studio. Gilda left the interview in tears, and Howard never got a chance to talk to her again before she passed away. The Gilda interview was addressed by Stern in the “SNL On Stern” radio special perfectly. Just move that clip to this playlist.
Stern will sometimes talk about these “regret clips,” but they aren’t usually available in the SiriusXM app. The Howard Stern Show has a long tradition of honest radio, let’s dig up these clips.
Howard Stern Feuds
Howard has had his fair share of both on and off-air feuds. He’s repaired many of these relationships over the years, most of them recently as he’s shed a lot of his anger. These feuds used to live and die on the air (i.e., Jon Bon Jovi and Sam Kinison Feuds). No more. As listeners, we no longer get all the details. Howard is doing a lot of these relationship repairs privately, and we’ll often find out more details from Howard’s former foes, or the press, than from Howard on his show.
Chevy Chase, Rosie O’Donnell, and Imus are all great feuds to add to this franchise. But personally, I’d also like to hear more about these tattered relationships listed below. This is another franchise that can be “anchor content” for the post-Howard Stern retirement archives.
- Tool (1997): When compiling the soundtrack for his 1996 movie Private Parts, Stern made a deal with Tool‘s record label Zoo Entertainment to use Tool’s unreleased cover of the Led Zeppelin song “No Quarter.” However, the record company didn’t have permission from the band. Oops! Tool denied the request saying that they didn’t want their music on soundtracks. The frustrating back and forth annoyed Stern to the point that he refused to book Tool’s lead singer Maynard James Keenan on the radio show when Maynard was promoting his side band, A Perfect Circle. Fast-forward several decades, and Maynard’s lungs are permanently damaged now from his battle with COVID-19. This could be an opportunity for Stern to bury the hatchet with Tool.
- Wendy Williams Feud (2019): After Wendy Williams said Howard had gone “Hollywood” on her daytime talk show, Stern responded with a vicious tirade that attacked her marriage, appearance, and health issues. At one point, Stern said Williams looked like “E.T. with a wig.” Angry outbursts like this were common from Stern in his younger years. Except for maybe Simon Cowell, Stern hadn’t gone after anyone this sharply in years. Williams and Stern ended their feud a few months later off the air. Howard even removed the segment bashing Williams from his radio archives. What if Howard and Wendy got together and replayed what they each said about each other and talked about the feud? That would be a great radio.
- Kathie Lee Gifford (1990s – 2018): Stern had a one-sided feud with Kathie Lee Gifford for almost 30 years. That’s almost a lifetime of hate. Stern finally patched things up with Gifford after they ran into each other at the TODAY Show while doing an America’s Got Talent appearance. It would be great to hear how the feud started, classic clips from his radio show, and even invite Kathie Lee to be a part of it all to tell her side.
- Stuttering John (2004): The departure of Stuttering John really annoyed Stern. Not only was one of his longtime staffers leaving the show just as he was about to make a move to satellite radio, but Jay Leno poached John. John was both an announcer and writer with Leno’s show between 2004-2014 and used his real name, John Melendez. In the years since John’s fame has dwindled, and he’s reluctantly re-assumed his old Stern Show nickname, Stuttering John. John now hosts a podcast that has a weird and unhealthy obsession with Howard Stern.
- Artie Lange (2010): Artie is another major Stern Show regular that left the show in a cloud of mystery and controversy. After Lange’s suicide attempt in January 2010, the comedian was out. In a March 2011 interview with Rolling Stone, Stern spoke about Lange and how he wanted Artie to stay alive. Lange has publicly defended Howard after his departure and has said multiple times that he wants to make up with Howard. Maybe it’s time. Like Howard, Artie is a new man.
Howard Stern Cast – Where Are They Now?
One of the show’s biggest voids is when a staff member leaves without much explanation to the listeners. If someone departs the show, there’s usually no goodbye party or official send-off. They disappear like a ghost. It reminds me of the final line in the movie The Usual Suspects, “And like that… he is gone.”
If I had to place a date on the “ghosting” practice, it started sometime after the departure of Stuttering John in 2004. I think Howard started to realize that talking about someone before their departure just gave them a larger exit platform.
For example, when Jackie Martling left the show in 2001, segments like “Win Jackie’s Money” made fun of Jackie and increased his fame. Bad publicity is still publicity.
The same thing happened when Stuttering John quit. The segment “Win John’s Job” helped increase John’s celebrity as he left to become the announcer for The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.
For privacy and legal reasons, some of the Howard Stern cast’s departure probably couldn’t be discussed at the time. For example, K.C. Armstrong‘s departure because of drugs. But years later, it would be good to hear from former staffers, find out why they parted ways with the show and what they are doing now.
Many of Stern’s staff successfully used The Howard Stern Show as a stepping stone for their careers. Just look them up on LinkedIn if you’re curious. It would be nice to invite alumni like Gay Rich, Mike Gange, and Al Rosenberg to discuss their time at the Stern Show and what they did afterward.
Or what about current staffers that are no longer regular voices on the show, like Scott Salem. According to Scott’s LinkedIn page, he still works on the show. But, does he? When was the last time that you heard Scott on the air? What is he doing now?
Sal And Richard Phony Phone Call Show
Swapping Stuttering John for Sal and Richard was one of the best things to happen to The Howard Stern Show. Stuttering John’s awkward interviews were OK, but they are nothing compared to Sal and Richard’s contributions. From rectal beer tastings to song parodies, the comedy duo adds so much more to the show than John ever could. But where Sal and Richard really shine is their phony phone call work.
It would be great if they could continue their phony phone call efforts post-Howard Stern retirement. The Sal and Richard show could just be them introducing both new and older calls. Plus there are plenty of opportunities to use other show members as voices in their prank calls, like Flirty Gary, Howard, Robin, and Fred. It will be a way to keep everyone involved after they retire.
Best Of The Wack Pack Show
No one in Howard Stern’s Wack Pack can conduct a thoughtful conversation, let alone an organized radio program. But a series dedicated to the best Wack Pack moments would be fun. From Kenneth Keith Kallenbach blowing smoke out of his eyes to Hank The Angry Drunken Dwarf playing Rock-N-Roll Trivia against Gary Dell’Abate, there are so many great moments to share.
I’m not sure what Shuli Egar‘s exact job responsibilities are, but one of his main tasks is keeping up with the Wack Pack members. Shuli could invite Wack Packers to join him and introduce these classic clips.
Cancel The Wrap-Up Show
Personally, I’m not a fan of The Wrap-Up Show. As a diehard Stern fan, I really want to like it, but I just can’t. As soon as I hear The Black Crowes song, “Remedy” that they use in the intro and Gary say, “Hello, Hello,” I’m out. But if Howard isn’t doing a daily show anymore, then there’s no reason for The Wrap-Up Show to exist.
Add More Context To The Howard Stern Interviews
Howard does an incredible job with his interviews, and his guests are always impressed with how much research his staff has done. Howard is very proud of them. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have released the book of his best interviews, Howard Stern Comes Again ($20).
Howard’s interviews have become one of the best parts of the show. Personally, I enjoy listening to his interviews with A-list celebrities like Eddie Vedder, Robert Downy Jr., Metallica, Green Day, and Jennifer Aniston.
I understand why longtime fans are critical. Many of these interviews don’t have the same edge as Pat Cooper confronting his estranged family members live on the air. But these celebrity relationships have a lot more longevity and value than interviews with former show regulars like Joey Buttafuoco and Tempest. Plus, Howard does ask some very raw and newsworthy questions. Some examples include Conan O’Brien‘s struggle with depression and how Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed Gwenyth Paltrow and Brad Pitt’s response.
Right now, the Howard Stern Interviews section in the SiriusXM app has raw celebrity interviews. It would be great if Howard, or someone from his staff like Gary, could add some context to these interviews. For example, before listening to an interview with Mia Farrow talking about how she lost her virginity to Frank Sinatra, it would be great to hear how hard it was to secure her as a guest on the show, what research they did for the interview, and whatever behind the scene’s info that would add value to the listener. Just add some more context to these segments, like how Howard introduced each interview in his book Howard Stern Comes Again.
Rename And Reboot Saturday Soundtracks
If I had to guess, the only thing Howard Stern likes more than his interviews is the show’s musical performances. Right now, these performances are just lumped together into a series called “Saturday Soundtracks.”
The word “Saturday” needs to be removed from the name. Adding a day to a franchise name is a stupid technique practiced by lame terrestrial radio programmers. Howard makes fun of franchise names like “Two For Tuesday” anytime he does his WNBC DJ impersonation. So why is his team using the word “Saturday” in this franchise name? Why do I have to wait until Saturday to listen to musical performances?
And as Howard spends less time in his studio with his reduced show schedule, there have been multiple performances in his studio without the show being present. For example, The Highwomen‘s visit in August 2019.
There’s a big opportunity here for new performances and interviews, as well as repackaging older performances from The Howard Stern Show. Instead of having guests perform in an empty studio, this show should have a host.
Getting a famous musician to conduct the interviews makes a lot of sense. Someone like Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue would be perfect. He already has experience hosting a radio show. Or Howard always raves about Rage Against The Machine‘s guitarist, Tom Morello. With a Ph.D. from Harvard and radio hosting experience, he’d also be a great choice.
Add A New Host, And New Show To Howard 100
Yes, I’m proposing a new host and show be added to The Howard Stern channels post-Howard Stern retirement. Hold on, hear me out before you completely reject the idea.
Adding a new original show to the channel will freshen it up and help keep the content relevant. Like how Howard had Bubba The Love Sponge on Howard 101, some fresh voices could add a lot to the mix. Don’t think of this as a clone of The Howard Stern Show, but as a separate independent daily show with roots to the Stern show. Plus, it would give Sal and Richard, or whoever else is still working on the Howard Stern Archives, an opportunity to promote their content. Here are some thought starters for new show hosts.
- Nikki Glaser: Nikki already has experience hosting radio shows at SiriusXM. Plus, she’s embraced Howard’s mantra of being honest on the radio. Nikki has been very open with both her personal life and love life while on air. Maybe even pair her up with Nikki Sixx for the Nikki And Nikki show?
- Sharron Osbourne: Sharron has always been an incredible and outspoken guest on The Howard Stern Show. She’d be a great host if she ever wants to leave daytime talk.
- Contessa Brewer: The beautiful CNBC host is known for being quirky and fun, yet still hosts a serious news report. She has a great mix of talents that would make her an ideal host capable of handling various topics and situations. Contessa would be a great co-host or news person on a new show to help fill Robin’s role.
Howard Stern Specials
Post Howard Stern retirement, Howard and the rest of the Stern Show staff can contribute clips and specials for his archives. For example, in the fall of 2020, Howard hosted a radio special on his channel Howard 101 called “Gone But Not Forgotten,” where he introduced archive show interviews with people who have passed away, including Joan Rivers, Valerie Harper, Eric The Actor, and Wilt Chamberlin. If Howard could keep specials like this going during retirement, that would keep both his archives and his celebrity status fresh.
As much as Howard says that he’s done with radio, I don’t think Howard can stay completely away from a microphone. After years of being mostly rejected and ignored by the show business elite, Howard is now part of that elite. Is he ready to give that up? Without his radio show, Howard loses his influence, cache, and show business status. Plus, he’d be too bored. As much as he wants to retire fully, he can’t. But if he continues to do occasional interviews, Stern gets to keep the best of both worlds: Semi-retirement, plus maintaining his celebrity status.
The Howard Stern Show Changed – It Had To
Over the years, Howard has changed a lot. So has his radio show. If you go on social media sites like Twitter or Reddit, Howard gets a lot of crap about the transformation. Some people, including Wendy Williams, have criticized Stern, and even nicknamed him “Hollywood Howard.” His evolution to a softer Howard is likely a combination of shifts in society, self-discovery, old age, and necessity.
- Me Too: The Howard Stern Show of the 1980s, 1990s, and early-2000s couldn’t survive today. Even if Howard could pull off another Butt Bongo Fiesta segment, it doesn’t work anymore in the age of #MeToo. As a result, the show has adapted by going… gay. Instead of lesbians and strippers, we now have segments like The Prettiest Penis and Fist Fest. Is it funny? Sure. Sexy? It’s not my thing but to each their own. Do I miss Stripper Jeopardy and the Houston 620? Yes. But I get it. Segments like this had their time and sadly wouldn’t work today.
- Howard Stern Age: Howard Stern’s age is likely another factor in how the radio show changed. He’s in his late-60s now. Howard isn’t that young guy from the Channel 9 show anymore. A lot of the show’s older staples start to feel a little uncomfortable with the age difference. As his daughters start families, explaining Grandpa’s antics might get a little uncomfortable.
- Legacy: Another factor for Stern’s change is legacy. Decades from now, how will Howard Stern be remembered? As a shock jock surrounded by strippers and lesbians? As a great interviewer? Maybe now, a little of both? I respect him for wanting to finish his career with some class.
- Self Discovery: One of the biggest changes in Howard is his lack of anger. What does he have to be so angry about anymore? Nothing. He’s rich, successful, and has a beautiful wife. His days of battling cheap production budgets at Channel 9 and WXRK are long gone. He has A-list guests. He has no competition. There are no more imitation DJ zookeepers to destroy. And he doesn’t have any bosses to battle with anymore. Howard conquered radio and will retire with The Howard Stern Show being the most successful radio talk show in history.
Howard Stern Retirement: The Moment All True Stern Fans Dread
I’ve been listening to Howard Stern since I was a teenager in the mid-1980s. When I was a kid, my dad would sometimes take me to work and listen to the Howard Stern Show in the car. One of the first times I heard Howard was when he was fighting with his old bosses at WNBC, either Kevin Metheny (The Incubus) or John Hayes (AKA Pig Vomit or Pig Virus), I can’t remember. Similar to the scene that was recreated in Stern’s 1996 film, Private Parts. After that, I was hooked. I’ve been listening daily for over thirty years.
Most of the mornings in my life have been spent listening to Howard Stern. It’s hard to imagine what things will be like after he retires. But hopefully, SiriusXM has a plan for Howard’s archives to keep fans engaged for years to come.
As much as I don’t want Howard to retire, he can’t keep doing his radio show forever. For decades, Stern has been waking up hours before the rest of us and creating entertainment for millions of listeners. If you’ve ever worked a morning shift or overnights before, then you know how grueling an early shift schedule can be. Some people are born with the sleepless elite gene, like Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and Thomas Edison, but not Howard. One of his biggest complaints about his job is the hours. It’s time to let him sleep in; he’s earned it.
Thank you, Howard.