After One Day – He’s Off The Air For Three Days
Today, you’d never know it. It’s been pretty well forgotten. Howard Stern has talked about in the past: out of his entire radio career – there was, once upon a time, an event that made Stern was so nervous that – well, he got sick – which probably worsened his condition. So much so – he was off the air for three days. This, a day into the new job. At the time, Howard Stern said he had some kind of virus/strep throat but – there is no such thing as coincidence.
Sick? You or I might be too. According to, Stern biography, “Private Parts,” when he got the call to WNBC – Stern was beyond elated. This was it. A hometown station. Back in 1982 – WNBC was doing OK in the ratings. Program Director Kevin Metheny put the station in a respectable position. Crosstown AM music rival WABC had just switched to talk – leaving WNBC as the sole contemporary music station on NY’s AM dial. Sure, it could use ratings help – who couldn’t? Stern was picked to do afternoon drive and off he went.
Howard remembered WNBC for DJ Don Imus, a personality with a new type of humor – biting. There wasn’t anyone quite like him anywhere in 1971, especially New York City. The only one who came close – was Bob Grant at talk station WMCA – someone else Stern (then ) admired. Imus was still there – doing mornings.
And, during the 1960’s,WNBC was a pioneering talk station – giving New York City its very first (two-way) talk format: host and callers. By 1982, WNBC was a personality music station – playing the hits of the day. And, it had the best AM signal in New York City.
Howard Stern’s first day on radio 66 was exciting. To be sure – it’s a very tamed Howard Stern – doing pace/format radio. It’s almost hard to imagine Howard Stern doing this kind of work. Pace… timing… sound… You can hear him rebelling by his second day. Later, when Stern got into WNBC trouble – breaking format was the chief reason for his firing. WNBC was as close to being a disc jockey – or having a DJ sound – that Stern ever got: as mainstream as he ever sounded. WNBC was going for a mass audience – male/female 25-54. But wait, behind the scenes, Stern was not feeling well.
Howard Stern – First Day on WNBC – 1982/August 30
Second day – no Howard. Third day – no Howard. Fourth day – no Howard.
Howard’s back – his second day on the air at WNBC.
Howard Back On The Air – Missing Three Days
Howard Stern counts down the top 660 songs (are you kidding?)
If you ever run into Howard Stern – ask him – what was his most feared day? And now you know – the rest of the story.