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Airwaves: January 13, 2006

Howard Hits the Bird

Howard Stern and his morning show made his debut on Sirius Satellite Radio January 9th as planned. And while some were expecting at least part of the first day to be dedicated to trashing traditional broadcast radio or reading a list of expletives, neither happened.

In fact, Stern was in a darn good mood, thank you very much, and his debut show was quite tame and at the same time, quite entertaining. Entertaining not just to his typical fan, but even to me.

He did spend some time talking about his past shows, and some of the things that he woudn't be allowed to play. Speeches given o his las syndicated program, for example, are apprently the property of his past employer, Infinity Broadcasting.

But he banned himself from saying curse words, and actually told his associates to be more creative and avoid them as well. Not that everyone took heed, but it wasn't the free-for-all that some expected.

For the most past, it was as if his show was just picking up where it left off, but with a renewed energy that gave it renewed appeal. As I said, I found the parts of the show I heard quite interesting, and I am not -- or at least was not -- generally a fan.

New to the show is George Takei, also known as Mr. Sulu in television's original Star Trek. He's the official announcer and spent the week in studio with Stern and crew. Next week he'll be on the show via recorded segments unless plans change. Fans of the show posting to the Stern forum at seem to like the interaction with Takei.

The first show was completely commercial-free; beginning Tuesday there were six minutes of commercials per hour. Not bad compared with the past when single breaks could last 15 minutes or more.

Overall I was quite impressed with the program. It was more entertaining to me than most Stern shows I heard in the past, and I plan to listen more. Who knows ... maybe I'll become a satellite Stern fan ...

Speaking of Satellites

We left Yosemite Valley in the early morning recently in order to avoid trafic in Los Angeles as we returned. Even with a stop in Bakersfield for breakfast, we figured we'd sneak in and be home by 2 PM or so, 3 PM at he latest.

Unfortunately, an accident on the 405 in Culver City got in the way of our plans. So as we're sitting in traffic, I hit the button for Sirius Los Angeles traffic. They report the accident and say it is moving off to the side.

For more information, I tune in KFWB with their "traffic on the ones." No mention. KNX's "expanded coverage" traffic report? No mention there, either.

Don't get me wrong: This is not an indictment of KNX and KFWB. But when a national satellite radio service actualy covers local traffic better than the stations that claim to be Southern California's traffic authorities, that says something. In fact, it says a lot.


Copyright © 2006 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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