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October 10, 2004

Howard Stern, Satellite Radio and Freedom

  • Reuters: Howard Stern to broadcast on Sirius Radio in 2006. Howard Stern, one of the most popular U.S. radio personalities, on Wednesday said he will broadcast his show on Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. beginning in 2006, after being dropped earlier this year from several stations that objected to his often off-color humor.

    How big is this news? It's huge.

    I don't care for Stern's crude humor, but I care a lot for his free-speech rights. And with luck, his move represents the beginning of the end for the traditional radio oligopoly, and the end of the beginnining for the alternatives that one day will make the Clear Channels of this world irrelevant.

    With luck, it'll also be the end of the FCC's congressionally mandated war on "indecency," which has turned into a war on common sense and free speech. But now watch Congress move to censor satellite, too. If they succeed, then the First Amendment will die once and for all. Let's not let them.

    UPDATE: I don't want to suggest that satellite radio is the only answer to the current system. Podcasting, the MP3-delivery method that Dave Winer, Adam Curry and others are creating these days, is another smart response.

    It looks to me as though the solution will be found both above (satellite) and below (podcasting) the current, rigged marketplace that Clear Channel and its compatriots have so thoroughly ruined. There's plenty of room for both.

    Posted by Dan at October 10, 2004 06:21 PM


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