I was mentioned on his show today. I got a text from my brother Richard:
“Howard Stern mentioned you a bunch this morning.”
Huh. Hope he ripped on me.
“Not really. Talking about Hall of Fame thing.”
Thx. I’ll have to get a clip of that.
“He rips on the National Radio Hall of Fame. And said everyone who made a career in radio should be in. His producer said really nice things about you and says you should win.”
For a second I thought of jumping into the truck, which still has a lifetime Sirius/XM subscription. If I sit in the driveway and listen it will eventually come up on the replay. I’ll never sell that old truck because when I bought one of those early satellite radio subscriptions, they meant the lifetime of your vehicle, not you.
About the National Radio Hall of Fame.
I certainly don’t expect to win and am very appreciative of the nomination. No matter what anybody tells you about awards not being important, it’s always nice to get a nod. The timing is good. I am interviewing with anyone who’s interested in hiring me to put together a new show.
Why? After a few years of semi-retirement, my gut says go back in. I like making content that’s different, and hopefully, people enjoy it.
I worked like crazy for 30 years on a morning show. We made and shared parodies with radio shows all over the country. I would send Scott Shannon or Rick Dees a twisted tune, and I would hear that they played the hell out of them, taking full credit. Scott would say that’s another one from the “Scott Shannon Morning Zoo Singers!” Scott was at least appreciative when we finally met. Rick Dees not only took credit, he never even returned a phone call to say thanks.
When Howard played my songs, he said my name. Profusely. He made fun of me. He once talked about one of my Christmas Albums for a half hour. Mockingly. My phone didn’t stop ringing.
I don’t think I’ve ever said this publicly, but if not for Howard Stern I might not have had a career. You see, when I was a new morning show host back in the 80’s, radio consultants would travel from city to city with tapes of major market talent and ideas we could use. I remember the big album rock radio consultants at the time were Lee Abrams, Lee Michaels, and Dwight Douglas. I was new to mornings, at WAAF in Worcester. One of those guys played me a recording of Howard doing a bit called God’s Weather. It was freakin’ amazing. God giving the weather forecast. As in “I’m going to make it cloudy today…” It was obvious that “God” was just Howard’s voice slowed down with thunder and copious amounts of reverb. It was very diabolical and irreverent, and yet somehow cute and fuzzy at the same time.
The consultant said if you like this bit you should try it. Several other shows are doing it too.
I thought of John Lennon saying the Beatles were bigger than Jesus Christ. I thought of George Burns and John Denver in the “Oh God” movies. I remembered my 8 tortuous years of Catholic School. Religion is portrayed as being about love and faith, yet it’s always been a gold mine for hypocrisy.
So I did my version of God’s Weather for several years.
And it was a huge hit. Doing it taught me how to write from the heart. The scripts based on my feelings about religion and authority. It killed. Editorials against it were written in the Worcester paper. Everyone loved it. Or hated it.
Then I heard Howard was mad. He was railing on air against morning shows stealing his ideas. I felt GUILTY! How ironic was that? It was my biggest bit. But it wasn’t really mine. I stopped doing it. If I couldn’t make it on my own, I didn’t deserve to.
By now I was recording song parodies and syndicating them with ABC Radio out of New York. I’d found something I could do better than anyone else. I asked Nancy, my ABC syndication contact if she would send me cassette tapes of Howard. I wanted to hear this phenomenon, and see what I could learn from him. I got a box of cassettes every month and devoured them. I was fascinated that he could be both vulnerable and fearless at the same time. Stern was Everyman, if only Everyman had the balls to speak what was really on his mind, and could somehow get away with it. And yeah, there was a lot of sex. If you started listening, you could not turn it off.
And in my gut, I knew that he was a threat. I remember telling several programmers that his show should be national. Mind you, this was before any syndication.
“It will never work outside of New York”. Then, “Philly is right next to New York. It will not translate to the West Coast.” Yeah, right.
About then I realized I should pay no attention to radio programmers who didn’t have a clue. But I also knew that I had to be an original.
I abruptly stopped listening to the Stern show and did not listen again until he left terrestrial radio. It would be impossible not to be influenced, it was time to buckle down.
Sure enough, eventually we went head to head. In Seattle. Was I nervous? Heck yeah, but that’s good. I never even heard him. Not once. He did great. We also did great. That’s what I had hoped for.
What I learned from Howard was not to copy anyone, but to be yourself. Keep practicing and evolving, you can always get better. Go ahead and be your own worst critic, who else knows you as well as you do? Do your homework, ya lazy bum.
And give credit where credit is due.
Hear the audio clip: https://bobrivers.blog/audio-bob-rivers-mention-on-howard-stern/
Radio Host from age 14 to Present. Currently blogging, planning to launch a new radio show later this year.
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