The Howard Stern Show is a syndicated radio show that has run from 1982 till present day. Broadcast out of New York by Howard Stern and running from 6:00AM-10AM, and sometimes as late as 12PM. Howard's show was instrumental in breaking down many barriers in radio from deviating from regular talk and corny morning routines and focusing on gross out jokes, strippers and sideshow style characters mixed with some political and pop culture commentary and news segments. Howard's show has been fined by the FCC several times in his career in the process of developing his show's material.
The show started to come together over various stations Howard worked in after graduating college with a media degree. He met and worked with Fred Norris and Robin Quivers, who he found good chemistry with. By the time he reached Detroit, he had established himself as a top notch DJ, preferring talking and doing his schtick versus playing records. While most who would listen to his earliest work would find it tame by today's standards, for it's time it was very edgy for radio.
After Detroit and Washington D.C., the first big success the show found was at WNBC in New York, Howard's home city. The show became a huge hit, seemingly getting more popular the more Howard and his crew fought censorship and management to produce their show the way the wanted it. It culminated in them being fired after several spats with NBC management. The full story is documented in his book and movie Private Parts. (Ironically, just two years after he left, NBC sold off their radio ops and WNBC became WFAN, an all-sports station currently owned by CBS.)
He was immediately picked up by WXRK radio, also in New York, where he dropped music completely from his format in favor of a purely morning talk/comedy radio show, and was eventually syndicated throughout the country and the show gained its largest success nationwide. Throughout the 90s, the "King of All Media" would write two books and make a movie based on his show's exploits, as well as three TV shows (one on local NY station WWOR-9 that was a variety (which was proceeded by a couple of pilots for Fox that didn't go anywhere), two on E!, a one on one interview show that was dropped in favor of airing clips from his radio show, which was also duplicated by CBS on Saturday nights for a brief while), and two pay per view events, establishing The Howard Stern Show as the undisputed biggest radio show in the country.
While the show is famous for being edgy, vulgar, over-the-top, etc., the hardcore fans are just as fond of the interaction with the various members of the staff (particularly if Howard is yelling at someone for screwing up). Additionally, Howard is probably one of the best, if not the best, interviewers in the country; always providing a fascinating look at anyone from a hooker working down the street to an A-list celebrity, often getting them to open up about things they would never say elsewhere.
By 2005, Howard's show was broadcast in several major markets, until Clear Channel had his show cancelled in many of those markets, prompting Howard's move to Sirius Satellite Radio so his un-PC jokes and material can flourish, profanity can't be censored and the FCC is off his back. Additionally the show has its own on demand TV channel, Howard TV featuring highlights of the show daily plus classic clips and other special programming.
The show largely begins with Howard Stern and sidekick / newswoman Robin Quivers discussing the previous day's show, upcoming events in the day among other topics. These can be several, or if something is really stuck in Howard's craw, can last for hours. Celebrity interviews are normally in the middle of the show and finally Robin's news report which often ends the day-is considered the best parts of the show. Phone calls from fans/protesters and other games the cast plays are usually interspersed in between, like prank calls, feuds between cast members, and calls/visits from the Wack Pack.
Howard Stern has been doing this show now for almost 30 years. Most of the cast and show members have been with him at that time.
- Howard Stern - host, overseeing creative director, King of all Media.
- Fred Norris - cohort, handles a little of everything on the show. Does voices, plays sound effects and writes segments. Oddest member of the show. Longest-running member, has been with Howard (mostly) since he was at his first radio gig out of college in the early 80s.
- Robin Quivers - news anchor and co host. Second longest running cast member since the early 80s.
- Gary Dell'Abate - Head Producer and Gofer (the infamous Ba Ba Booey!). Been with the show since the WNBC days in the mid 80s, starting as an intern.
- Jackie Martling - Head writer starting in the late 80s - left show in 2001 over contract dispute. Returned to Sirius for his own separate show.
- "Stuttering" John Melendez - intern turned segment producer. Worked taking calls from listeners and known more for asking celebrities embarrassing questions at press functions or movie premieres (to Chevy Chase "Did you think you'd live to see the day that Garret Morris matters more then you?"). Left in 2004 to be the announcer on The Tonight Show.
- Billy West - Voice talent on the show who appeared intermittently in the early 90's before becoming a full part of the show before leaving again (he was making too much money in voice acting to be on the show daily). Famous for his Marge Schott impression and operating the Jackie Puppet.
- Ralph Cirella - Howard's stylist since the early 90s, probably the most hated regular by the fans.
- Artie Lange - Sidekick for Howard and replacement for Jackie Martling in Fall of 2001. Does jokes and still tours and acts. Was eventually let go for his drug and alchohol problems that culminated in a suicide attempt in 2009. Has cleaned up his act and hosted his own show on Direc TV (now cancelled) and still doing stand up.
- Richard Christy - segment producer and often prank caller for the show, despite his inability to disguise his effeminate southern voice. He competed and won the "Get John's Job" Contest in 2004. Formerly a wack packer and oddly, a drummer for several well known death metal bands.
- Sal the Stockbroker - segment producer and often co-conspirator at prank calls with Richard Christy. He was the runner-up in the "Get John's Job" Contest behind Richard Christy, but he ended up being hired for the staff anyway. Formerly a wack packer and of course Stockbroker.
- George Takei - a semi-regular cast member (he lives in Los Angeles, so he is usually only part of the show when he's in New York, often for week-long stints) and is officially the show's announcer. Began in 2005.
- Lisa G - News reporter for Howard News. Joined after the jump to Sirius.
- Jon Hein - News reporter for Howard News. Creator of jumptheshark.com, joined after the jump to Sirius.
Regular contributors (aka "The Wack Pack")
- Fred the Elephant Boy - A man with a speech impediment, one of the longest running constant members of the pack since the 80s.
- Eric The Midget - Sorry, Eric the Actor, a little person confined to a wheelchair with a host of medical issues, known for his negative demeanor and ungratefulness. A regular since 2002, passed away in 2014.
- Bigfoot - A large man with a deep voice and odd personality. Won a "Be a New Wackpacker" contest his friends entered him in (he had never litstened to the show before). Known for his weird life, a regular since the move to Sirius/XM.
- Kenneth Keith Kallenbach - A strange young man who kept trying to set himself on fire for the show, among other stunts. A regular since the late 80s, he passed away in the mid 2000s.
- Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf - Exactly What It Says on the Tin. A fan favorite from the mid 90s who passed away in the early 2000s.
- Beetlejuice - A little person with a mental disability who nevertheless has supreme confidence. A fan favorite since the mid 90s.
- Jeff the Drunk - An alcholic loser who's (you guessed it) usually drunk (and stoned) on the show. Lost use of one arm due to refusing to go to the hospital for medical problems. Been around since the early 90s.
- Mariann From Brooklyn - A super fan who's been calling into the show since the late 80s, known for her obnoxiously annoying voice.
- Captain Janx - The supreme prank caller of the show's regulars, been calling into the show (and others obv) since the mid 80s. Invented saying "baba booey" to various call-in shows (along with "Howard Stern's penis" etc)
- King of All Blacks - A regular caller since the early 90s.
- King of all Jews - A regular caller since the early 90s.
- Blue Iris - An elderly porn star.
- Joey Boots - A regular caller since the late 90s.
- Sour Shoes - Supreme song parody creator. A regular since the mid 2000s.
- Crazy Alice - A bipolar woman and regular since the early 90s.
- Underdog Lady - A strange woman known for going around in an Underdog costume, was a regular through the late 80s and early 90s, left the show for over a decade and returned intermittantly since the mid 2000s.
- Crackhead Bob - A former crack addict left with a speech impediment from his drug days, a regular since the 90s.
- Gary the Retard - A mentally challenged man, a regular since the late 90s.
- Wendy the Retard - A mentally challenged woman from Florida, a regular since the early 2000s.
- Beautiful All Along: Most people know Mariann From Brooklyn by her annoying voice (and usually end up picturing her as an ugly old crone), and most are taken aback when they see her (she's quite the attractive woman).
- Berserk Button: Howard can be set off by many things, usually when it comes to his competitors who copied his act.
- Catch-Phrase: Baba Booey is the most infamous but there are other lesser known ones.
- Ronnie Mund: "Let's fuck some whores!"
- K.C. Armstrong: "Noice"
- Gary: "Can I ask you a question..."
- George Takei: "Oh myyyyyyy..."
- Celebrity Star: Howard can have a wide range of celebrities on his show. Kathy Griffin, William Shatner, Hugh Jackman and Carly Simon among others. Celebrities who are a big deal are often kept a mystery to Stern and staff by wearing blindfolds and guessing such as Ringo Starr, Robert Duvall and Pete Rose.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Fred to an extent.
- Cluster F-Bomb: The Sirius years can often have scattered profanity, with Howard often cluster F-bombing his staff or callers.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Many other radio hosts and celebrities competed with and denounced Stern at the height of his popularity. Now in what may be the twilight of his career, Stern has made up with many of his former enemies, Bubba The Love Sponge, Rosie O'Donnell, and Chevy Chase to name a few. Can Kathy Lee Gifford be far behind? This has proved very controversial with some fans.
- Richard beat Sal in the contest to replace Stuttering John, making Sal irate and considering Richard his sworn enemy. Sal was later hired by the show and he and Richard became best friends.
- Evil Laugh: Many people's opinions of Robin's laugh which is constant throughout the show.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: A LOT in his terrestrial radio days, even though the FCC would still fine the show for what was done. In a bit of irony, Howard would often report of similar radio shows doing similar acts and would never hear of them being fined. See Berserk Button.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Richard and Sal, although the "heterosexual" part seems not to apply at times. Also Gary and Jon Hein.
- Irony: Howard constantly bemoans his staff's lack of professionalism while his show glorifies immaturity and lack of tact.
- Jerk Ass: Howard can be one at times. Eric the Midget is often one.
- Jumping the Shark: Jon Hein, the writer that originally coined the phrase "Jumping the Shark" and created Jumptheshark.com, now works on The Howard Stern Show as the host of The Wrap Up Show, the show that directly follows The Howard Stern Show and discusses the days events with show producer Gary Dell'Abate.
- Like a God to Me: In his first year as a full-time staff member of the show, Sal described Howard Stern (whom he had looked up to for years) as "an entity" and "god-like" as a justification for wanting to do anything (anything) for him, much to the disturbance of the staff (and Stern himself).Sal: There's normal human beings, and then there's Howard Stern.
- Mistaken for Special Guest: George Takei often sits in as an announcer a couple times a year in the Sirius(XM) era.
- Only Sane Employee: Howard as he would point out to Gary MANY TIMES.
- Platonic Life-Partners: Howard and Robin. Howard has stated that he'd refuse to do his show without her and consider each other best friends off air.
- Proud to Be a Geek: Howard admits to being a Star Trek fan and reading Superman and Batman comics. Ralph to an even bigger extent.
- Refuge in Audacity: A staple of the show.
- Rogues Gallery: The Wack Pack, a collection of frequent guests who are afflicted, odd or otherwise interesting to say the least. Crackhead Bob, Hank The Angry Drunken Dwarf, Fred the Elephant Boy, Eric The Midget, John The Stutterer, Evil David Letterman, Crazy Alice, Yukko the Clown, Underdog Lady among many others.
- Smarter Than You Look: Despite having plenty of toilet humor and naked women on his show, Stern is a graduate from Boston University and is well versed in current events.
- The Chewtoy: Gary, though not as much as he once was.
- The Quiet One: Fred. When he talks, take notice, if you make fun of him, run-he does bite back.
- The Unintelligible: Crackhead Bob and Fred the Elephant Boy have severe speech impediments. John The Stutterer.
- Took A Level In Jerk Ass: Gary in the satellite years toughened up to be more competent at his job.
- Ultimate Job Security: Seemingly the entire staff, with Howard refusing to fire anyone even for the grossest incompetence. Howard is much more likely to berate them on air or come up with a Cool and Unusual Punishment.
- Very Special Episode: Joanie "Chyna" Laurer's guest appearance in January 2005 unwittingly turned into this. Having already been having serious personal problems since her departure from the WWE, she underwent an on-air meltdown that saw her drop a Cluster F-Bomb or twenty in a phone call to former boyfriend Sean Waltman, before stripping naked in the studio. Howard called an end to the interview after that and actually told her on-air that for as much as he appreciates bad behavior from his guests, even he could see that she was in serious need of help.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: George Takei and Artie are a mild version of this trope. Artie has a tendency of telling gay jokes, and George good-naturedly calls him on it.
- Vocal Dissonance: As his nickname describes, Wack Packer, High Pitch Erik is a grown man who's about 6'1" and roughly around 400 lbs., and talks like Mickey Mouse with a New York accent.