Just another year in the life of a Nice Jewish Boy From Long Island: Howard Stern lost one TV show, found another, signed a movie deal, became the nation’s No. 1 shock-radio jock, and topped the FCC’s Most Unwanted list. For more on Howard’s 1992 high points — or is that low points? — we offer the following diary:
FEBRUARY 3 Presidential candidate Jerry Brown dials up Stern’s radio show (then heard in New York, L.A., Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., and now also heard in Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, Cleveland, and Las Vegas) to talk politics. Other guests in ’92 included Sylvester Stallone, Jerry Seinfeld, Donald Trump, Bob Hope, Julius Erving, Dick Clark, James Brown, Slash, Richard Simmons, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and Sen. Al D’Amato.
FEBRUARY 8 Boston TV station WFXT drops The Howard Stern Show, his highly rated, nationally syndicated late-night schlock-variety series, because of an episode in which ”The Kielbasa Queen” swallows a 12-inch sausage as innocent bystanders Tawny Kitaen and Sally Kirkland look on in awe.
JUNE 11 On the Today show, a Sternophile calls in to ask quasi candidate Ross Perot if he had ever had the ”desire to mind-meld with Howard Stern’s penis.” Perot is all ears — but no response.
JULY 15 While Stern is on vacation, his TV syndicator, WWOR-TV in New Jersey, announces that The Howard Stern Show has been ”discontinued” due to high production costs and low revenues. On July 28, a fuming Stern tells reporters, ”I was not canceled. I canceled them. I wasn’t happy with the production values.” In other words, he thought the show looked too crass.
JULY 24 On The Tonight Show, Stern tries to get Jay Leno to say that Arsenio Hall is a rotten comedian. Jay won’t. ”That’s the problem with you, Jay — you got no killer instinct!” says Stern. ”You’re like a lamb! Jay is like a lamb!”
JULY 28 Stern signs a deal with New Line Cinema to play a superhero who propels himself by the force of his own flatulence in the $11 million feature The Adventures of Fartman. He promises ”the most disgusting movie ever made” (it’s due in late 1993).
SEPTEMBER 9 Stern previews his new superhero at the MTV Video Music Awards, slipping into a buttocks-revealing Fartman suit and flying over the crowd in a harness, à la Peter Pan.
OCTOBER 21 Stern signs a deal with E! Entertainment Television to host a new late-night talk show, The Howard Stern Interview. The L.A. chapter of the National Organization for Women threatens to boycott the cable network’s advertisers.
OCTOBER 27 The FCC charges L.A. radio station KSLX-FM (and three other stations that carry Stern’s show) with ”indecency,” citing crudities ranging from Stern’s comments about having ”masturbated to a picture of Aunt Jemima” to an in-depth discussion of rectal bleeding. If the FCC fines stick, the four stations will have to pony up a total of $111,000. Stern reports to his radio audience that the bad news makes him feel ”kind of blah.”