Industry Views

SABO SEZ: Howard Stern Deserves a Big Thank You

By Walter Sabo
Consultant, Sabo Media Implementers
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Radio Host, “Sterling On Sunday”
Talk Media Network

imNO ONE has done more to elevate the status and improve the working conditions of on-air talent as much as Howard Stern.

Howard turned 70 this month and he has been on the air for 50 years – half of the time of the existence of radio. During his brilliant career, he has elevated the capabilities of radio to a scientific, pristine art. His success is neither an accident nor luck. It’s not even God-given talent. It’s all work. Nobody has ever worked harder on their radio show than Howard and, as a result, no radio star has ever earned as much money or deserved as much acclaim.

Several important notes:

— For Howard, radio always comes first. When he made the movie Private Parts the production fit around his radio show.

— “America’s Got Talent” ended taping at the pre-agreed times to accommodate Howard’s radio show.

— I made the first call to his agent to recruit Howard to SiriusXM Satellite Radio. He was already making a lot of money… his motivation for moving was to give his radio show the support and freedom necessary to see just how great he could make it.

— He loves radio.

Whatever you’ve heard Howard earns, it’s probably close. That’s good for everybody on the air in the world. He earns more than any TV star. He earns more than 99.9% of all movie stars. I think it’s pretty much Taylor SwiftPaul McCartney and Howard. A radio star is actually in that conversation!

When he started in the 1980s, he was suspended for saying douche bag. Now you can say douche bag. Thank him for winning that fight.

Thank him for proving that radio stars do better with real writers and producers. Radio stars can create four hours a day of magic with little help. (TV Sitcoms produce 22 minutes a week, for 22 weeks a year with 11 writers.) Thank him for moving millions of dollars of products a week with his live reads, enhancing the value of your live reads.

Thank him for being harassed by the federal government. Thank him for not blinking. Thank him for raising the profile and stature of American radio. Thank him for being funny.

I just don’t think he’s been thanked enough…

Walter Sabo was a founding architect of SiriusXM Satellite Radio and began the recruitment of Howard Stern. He has consulted RKO General, PARADE magazine, Hearst BroadcastingPress Broadcasting, and other premium brands. He launched the first company to engage online video influencers, Hitviews. As an executive, he was EVP of NBC FM RADIO giving Dr. Ruth Westheimer her first media job and fostering the creation of adult contemporary. As VP ABC Radio Networks, Sabo hired Ringo Starr to be a DJ for a 24-hour special.