Letters From the Issue of Thursday, February 9, 2006

Humble Howard

It's Howard's world; we only live in it: Great article on Howard Stern. Alice Rubio is the perfect example of a Stern fan ("After Shock," Sarah Fenske, January 26). I also went through withdrawals during the show's hiatus from "testicle radio" until the show's arrival on the future of radio.

In the wee hours of January 9, I was up and ready to listen at 4 a.m. like it was some major world event. For me, it was five straight hours of pure auditory bliss. It was entertainment history in the making, like the first Technicolor film or the Fox network debut.

I have been a loyal Stern fan since his days at WNBC, KROQ and the WOR Channel 9 show. I've heard it all, and we Stern fans get the joke.

Sirius is the next stage for a show that is without equal. Stern's career progress and his drive to be the best at anything he puts his name on is awe-inspiring -- despite the farts, the FCC, the retards, the racists and the parade of whores and freaks.

Aside from the Stern show, Sirius simply blows away FM/AM radio in the vast amount of quality music, news and entertainment programming it offers.

I predict that in three years, FM is going to be like AM in listenership, relevance and revenue generated. In five years, we will mock those with terrestrial radio like we now mock a person with rabbit ears atop his TV set.
Sean Shepherd, Scottsdale

In the mood: Thank you for your article about Alice Rubio and her addiction to Howard Stern. I, too, am in her company. That is, if I don't hear Stern in the morning, I find that I'm in a bad mood all day. Howard is funny, intelligent and real. Unfortunately, these are traits too few possess.
Susan Krebs, Glendale

Stern addiction: I just finished your article on Howard Stern addiction. It was a terrific piece. What I can't understand, though, is why Sarah Fenske would choose to live like an animal and deprive herself of one of the few things in life she truly enjoys. Besides Howard, there are lots of commendable offerings on Sirius. Start living.
Ronald J. Castro Jr., Phoenix

Worth every nickel: Outstanding article on Howard Stern! I am a 34-year-old, well-educated female licensed professional engineer (raised Catholic), and I have been a loyal Stern fan for 18 years. He was yanked off the air here in Florida for 15 months. Unable to listen, I clung to the show's transcripts every day at

For those 15 months, I endured NPR and Diane Rehm. I experienced a transformation that even my husband noticed. I became angry and bitter in the mornings. The current state of political and world affairs was so depressing that I felt we were all doomed.

I missed Howard so much! I just wanted to laugh again, to experience honesty, hear Robin's news, hear Artie's stories, hear Fred's sound effects.

My husband bought me Sirius for Christmas, and I have been getting up at 6 a.m. listening to the show. I can tell you it's better than ever. I can't stop laughing. It's worth every nickel.
Maureen Maxwell, Miami Beach, Florida

Sirius-ly entertaining: Just finished reading Sarah Fenske's eight pages on Howard Stern's departure from FM radio and her analysis of what kind of person she's discovered herself to be through it all.

Mentioning that Stern's show is non-informative on serious issues confuses me. Don't get me wrong, it is full of non-informative content, but Stern does discuss serious matters as well. The article cited numerous histories of the show (showing the writer's listening loyalty), but not once did it mention that Howard was one of the first to report on 9/11 (being right there in Manhattan).

The author seems to block out Howard's reporting of real issues and continues to focus on strippers and the other politically incorrect bits. I think this is the "smart person" coming through in Sarah Fenske. She mentioned that she couldn't come up with one intelligent issue to her boyfriend that she had heard on the show (as if she should ever have to).

But what about the ever-dominant issue of the right to free speech, which Howard has dealt with daily? The intelligent issues are there; maybe Sarah is not really listening.

She has drawn the conclusion that she and other "smart people" shouldn't listen to Howard. That "smart people" have to listen to NPR.

She wrote: "What was wrong with me? I was supposed to be a smart person, or at least had spent years thinking of myself as a smart person. And yet I was struggling, hard, to like NPR, which is what smart people are supposed to like."

What she wrote here about an NPR offering also cracked me up: "Aha! I thought. Wine. I will learn something important."

When did wine become an intelligent topic? Is it because of the stereotype that only classy/intelligent people know about and drink wine? Get over it. Don't imply that knowing about wine is intelligent and not doing so isn't.

It seems that Fenske falls into the very rut she is so elegantly trying to write herself out of. She boasts that it is Howard's fault that she doesn't know about Shiites and Sunnis. When did it become his job to educate the American public? His job each morning is to entertain us.
Matt Boice, via the Internet

Dead air: Great article on Alice Rubio and Howard Stern. When Howard left the air, I wondered how my entertainment in the a.m. was going to be filled. I started listening to Adam Carolla but got bored pretty fast. He's a pretty bland host.

Thankfully, my girlfriend bought me a Sirius Sportster. I gladly pay $12.95 a month for the entertainment I get from Howard, music stations and comedy stations now.

I remember when I first heard of satellite radio, and I pretty much sounded like my father when cable TV and pay-per-view came out. I can still hear him saying, "Who's gonna pay for cable TV when you can get national affiliates for free?"

I changed my mind about satellite when I heard what it offers. I feel fortunate to be living in this day and age. Now if they can only take care of this gas situation -- so fast to rise, so slow to drop.
Mike C. Chavez, via the Internet

Turning a deaf ear: Thanks to Sarah Fenske for such a thoughtful article about her relationship with Howard Stern and NPR. I am a big Howard fan, which also started gradually for me, when I would switch over during uninteresting NPR spots.

Slowly, I found myself listening more and more to Howard, until I finally gave up the pretense and listened to him exclusively during the week. I even wore headphones at work so I wouldn't miss anything.

I still struggle with reconciling how I -- a well-educated, liberal woman -- can love a show that sometimes features fart jokes and making fun of the disabled. However, I keep tuning back in for the show's honesty, excellent interviews, smart commentary on American life and pop culture, and, of course, the fascinating dynamics of the cast, crew, and Wack Pack.

I decided to follow Howard to Sirius, and his show there is even better than before.

I must say, though, that I was disappointed with how Sarah Fenske ended her article. Even though she enjoyed the Stern show (except for the admittedly disgusting High Pitch Eric stool-weighing), she settled for deciding to laugh at NPR's unintentional humor, even though its painful earnestness and focus on tragedy can be hard to take.

I was sorry to see that she made her decision based on what her friends listen to and not what she truly enjoyed.
Lisa Shields, Portland, Oregon

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