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Howard Stern expects to be taken off air

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Howard Stern expects to be taken off air

Shock jock blames a campaign by conservatives

BY PETER GOODMAN

STAFF WRITER - March 5, 2004

Howard Stern, sounding grim and depressed, said Friday that he expected to be forced off the radio within three months, the victim of a political and financial campaign driven by religious conservatives. He urged listeners to vote against President George W. Bush in revenge.

"The plug is about to be pulled on me," he told his audience, which he estimated at about 16 million listeners. "I'm saying my goodbyes now. There's nothing you can do about it ... Vote George Bush out of office. That's all I ask. Remember me when you go to the voting booth."

Until recently, Stern has stayed away from politics. "I just want to do ... jokes and have stripper chicks in here," he said Friday. He has previously threatened to leave, but usually around the time of contract negotiations. His current contract expires in two years.

Stern's show, carried on more than 40 stations and broadcast from WXRK/92.3 FM in New York, was suspended Feb. 24 from six stations owned by radio giant Clear Channel Communications, a Texas company whose owners are major backers of Bush. Stern is syndicated by Infinity Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. When announcing the suspension, Clear Channel CEO John Hogan cited a Stern incident in which a caller used a racial slur while referring to African-American women. On Tuesday, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) wrote to Viacom president Mel Karmazin about Infinity's lack of action. "In light of Infinity's reported new indecency policy, and the supposed use of a substantial time delay, I do not understand how such a broadcast could be aired using an Infinity broadcast license," he wrote.

Stern said he expected Infinity to be forced to drop him by the threat of huge fines (Congress is considering raising fines for broadcast indecency to $500,000, up from the current maximum of $27,500) and possible loss of broadcast licenses. "Mel will not be able to do business ... The company will try to fight back, but it won't be able to. I'm heartbroken about this."

From New York Newsday

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I'm with ya Slim. I think his ratings have been sliding because his show has become very predictable so he hopes that this can give him some free publicity.

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