Howard Stern, Honesty, and Reality Programming

Howard Stern has used honesty as his rallying cry, as his shelter from censorship, and as the basis for his media empire.

“I’ve always been honest. One thing about—You don’t have to like my radio show. There are those that like it and there are those that hate it. But one thing anyone who’s ever heard my show knows, I’m a straight shooter, and I’m an honest guy.”

-          Howard Stern on Hannity & Colmes 3/2005

Every listener has come to expect honesty and authenticity from Howard and his team.

Listeners are not subjected to drummed up, “made for radio” characters. We experience the trials and tribulations of real, authentic people.


(Photo credit: IsaacMao)

These people come on the air with real feelings, faults, and relationships. The authenticity of The Howard Stern Show has helped Howard cultivate and maintain his audience for more than thirty years.

He removes the filter between the entertainer and the fan and is one of the first to provide a glimpse into the world of fame. That idea does not seem all that revolutionary today, does it?

Today, reality TV has taken over virtually every network. These shows regularly break down the walls between entertainment and reality. They take us inside worlds and professions that we could never get a glimpse of before reality programming came into vogue.

Want to know the inside scoop on the restaurant business? There are about ten shows for you to watch. The art of tattoos? There are a few for you on that. Hunting alligators? Raising kids? Training dogs? Finding a mate? Pitching an investment? Making it as a singer, actor, or model? You better get your TiVo ready. You’re in for a long night!

These shows have taken over programming. They’re a network’s dream. They’re low-cost, short-turnaround programming that turn niche markets into national phenomena. Amazingly, as reality TV matures, it seems less real and more staged. It may come to the point where once again The Howard Stern Show is the measuring stick for “reality programming.”

Jamie Troia is President of Greystack Digital Marketing and author of Stern Rules!

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