Howard Stern: Will Fans Have to Pay to See or Hear Him?
Wednesday July 27th 2005, 6:35 am
Filed under: FCC, Free Speech, Government, Media Watch, Howard
Howard Stern hosts a controversial radio show. It is broadcast on FM and includes interviews with strippers.
Video of Stern doing the show is re-broadcast on cable television, basic cable’s “The E! Channel.”
Stern is moving his radio show from FM to satellite in 2006 to avoid FCC fines.
Indecency fines will greatly increase if the “Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005” becomes law.
Cable television isn’t currently subject to FCC fine for indecency, nor does the “Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005″ change that.
However, there are other bills in Congress which would apply FCC fines to basic cable, and Howard Stern may be preparing for this possibility, by going to Video on Demand, in which customers pay for an individual show.
From the Internet Movie Database:
Howard Stern’s move to Sirius satellite radio may be accompanied by a simultaneous move of the TV version of his show to Comcast Cable, where it would be available by subscription “on demand,” TV Week reported today (Monday).
The trade publication said that an uncensored version of Stern’s radio show could attract about a million video-on-demand subscribers. It quoted Cathy Rasenberger, a cable distribution consultant, as saying, “Having Howard Stern on subscription VOD is a killer application for the [video on demand] platform. … It would draw a lot of viewership. It would be as big a coup for Comcast as it was for Sirius.”
While the above passage implies the move to Video-on-Demand move is intended to cash-in on the greater ratings of showing naked strippers over pixilated strippers (who are pixilated on basic cable like the E! channel as a matter of tradition and not law), steering clear of possible legislation that may include fines for even pixilated strippers may be a motive.