Howard Stern brought his signature "shock jock" radio style to New York listeners in 1982 and by 1986 his show went into national syndication. Repeated fines and interference from the FCC eventually drove the self-styled "King of All Media" to satellite radio in 2004. Stern's bestselling 1993 autobiography is titled Private Parts.
His grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Poland and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Radio disc jockey, author and television talk-show host Howard Allen Stern was born on January 12, 1954, in New York, New York, the youngest of Ray and Ben Stern's two children. The self-proclaimed "King of All Media" spent the early part of his youth in the mile square town of Roosevelt, Long Island.
Stern's early taste for radio and recording seems to have been inherited from his father, the part-owner of a recording studio who frequently taped his son and daughter on the holidays. The sometimes short-fused father frequently quizzed his children on current events, an open invitation to his young boy to get sarcastic when he didn't know the answers. "So when I asked him these serious questions, he ends up being a wise guy," recalled Ben. "And so I got mad and said, 'Shut up and sit down. Don't be stupid, you moron.'"
Stern showed an early love of not only performing, but also the outrageous. In the basement of the Stern family's Roosevelt home, Howard frequently put together elaborate puppet shows for his friends. The performances had come at the urging of his mother, but Stern quickly gave them his own twist, his marionettes more than living up to his title for the performances: The Perverted Marionette Show. "I took something so innocent and beautiful and really just ruined it," Stern said. "My parents weren't privy to the dirty performances. My friends would beg me for puppet shows."
Stern's love for attention was coupled by his outsider status, an identity he's clung to for much for his career, which settled into his life at a young age. In the largely African-American community of Roosevelt, the white Stern had trouble fitting in. Over the years, Stern has referred to a rough childhood that saw him the target of periodic school fights. One of his best black friends, Stern once recalled, was beaten up for hanging out with him.
In 1969, the Sterns moved to Rockville Centre, a largely white community that seemed completely alien to the 15-year-old high school student. "It wasn't any better in Rockville Centre," Howard Stern wrote in his 1993 best-selling autobiography, Private Parts. "I couldn't adjust at all. I was totally lost in a white community. I felt like Tarzan when they got him out of Africa and brought him back to England."
Stern took five years of piano lessons, and took an interest in marionettes and put on shows for his friends.
In the fall of 1972, Stern left New York and enrolled at Boston University where the first hints of his future "shock jock" career would make a showing. At BU, Stern volunteered at the college radio station, and got his first taste of the business. After his debut program, a broadcast that included a racially charged skit called "Godzilla Goes to Harlem" BU cancelled the show.
Following his BU graduation, which saw him finish with a 3.8 GPA and a bachelor's in communications, Stern immediately set out to begin his radio career. His first gig came at a small radio station in Briarcliff Manor, New York, and it was here that it dawned on Stern that he would forever be relegated to a life of mediocrity if he continued on as a straight deejay. "So I started to mess around," he said. "It was unheard-of to mix talking on the phone with playing music. It was outrageous. It was blasphemy."
But it was exactly what Stern wanted to do. So the deejay moved to Hartford, Connecticut, and then Detroit. When the Michigan station changed its format to country and western, Stern fled to Washington, D.C.
In D.C., Stern made significant career inroads. There, he meet Robin Quivers, a newswoman and former U.S. Air Force nurse, who became a part of the Stern radio team ever since. Stern also began developing a reputation for his wild antics.
Later that year, Stern moved back to New York after he accepted a job with WNBC-AM. But trouble awaited the deejay before he even got behind the microphone, as his new — and apparently nervous—bosses handed the jock a long list of orders. The list prohibited Stern from using, among other things, "jokes or sketches relating to personal tragedies," as well as "slander, defamation or personal attacks on private individuals or organizations unless they have consented or are a part of the act."
In 1985, Stern was fired, freeing him to eventually sign on with the New York City-based WXRK, better known as K-ROCK.
At the new station, Stern took his radio career to new, pioneering heights, confronting two of his favorite subjects — race and sex— in controversial ways. To the surprise of radio executives but not hard-core fans, Stern, seated in the station's morning slot, knocked off WNBC's Don Imus to claim the ratings mantle. A year after his arrival, Stern took the unprecedented step of syndicating his show, allowing him to break into other big markets like Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and eventually Los Angeles, New Orleans, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Dallas, Boston and Chicago.
Armed with an identifiable and talented on-air team that included Quivers, as well as producer Gary "Baba Booey" Dell'Abate, writer Fred Norris, and stand-up comic/writer Jackie "the Jokeman" Martling, Stern proved to be a ratings force. By 1993, he was in 14 markets and claimed some 3 million daily listeners.
Stern's popularity was taken to new heights soon after with the release of his autobiography "Private Parts".
With more than 500,000 copies in print its first month, Private Parts proved to be the fastest-selling book in Simon & Schuster's 70-year publishing history. After taking the top spot atop The New York Times bestseller list in October 1993, it remained there for a full month. Five years later, the book was turned into a successful movie starring Stern himself.
The increased success and salary (by 1995, Stern was reported to be earning $8 million a year from just the radio program), hardly constrained Stern. Instead, it seemed to only unleash more of the very things that had made him successful.
Four years later, another firestorm erupted when, just a day after the Columbine High School shootings in April 1999, Stern questioned why the killers didn't try and have sex with some of the girls before they shot them. The Colorado State Legislature issued a censure against the shock jock.
Of course, Stern's behavior didn't just catch the attention of a portion of the radio listening in public. He also proved to be far from popular with the Federal Communications Commission, too. By 2005, the FCC had levied some $2.5 million in fines against Stern's employers.
In early 2004, Clear Channel, then the country's largest radio station chain, pulled the plug on Stern after an especially contentious show that saw the use of a racial slur from a call-in listener and featured Rick Solomon, Paris Hilton's ex-boyfriend and the man involved in her infamous sex video, describing in detail his relationship with the famous socialite. The resulting fines, and the further fights with the FCC over control of his show, set the stage for Stern to leave terrestrial radio for good. In 2005, he signed a $500 million deal with Sirius Satellite Radio. He began broadcasting exclusively on the subscription-based radio service on January 9, 2006.
Freed from the constraints of the FCC rules, Stern's show has taken his shock jock formula into new territory. It's also made him wildly wealthy. In addition to his contract, Stern also helped catapult satellite radio's popularity. In 2005, Sirius boasted 2.2 million new subscribers, a 190 percent increase from 2004. The better than expected numbers netted Stern roughly $200 million in Sirius stock.
In December 2010, Stern re-signed with Sirius to continue his radio show for a further five years. Under the new deal, Stern has worked a reduced schedule from four to three live shows per week. On March 22, 2011, Stern and Buchwald filed a lawsuit against Sirius for $300 million, claiming further annual bonuses were not paid despite Stern meeting subscriber growth targets. On April 17, 2012, Judge Barbara Kapnick dismissed the lawsuit and prevented Stern and Buchwald from filing for similar allegations.
In 2011, Stern took up photography and shot layouts for Hamptons that July. He has also shot for WHIRL and the North Shore Animal League. He formed a photograph company named Conlon Road Photography, which references to the road he lived on in Roosevelt, New York. In December 2011, Stern announced his decision to replace Piers Morgan as a judge on America's Got Talent for its seventh season in 2012. Stern subsequently reappeared on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list at number 26. He continued as a judge on the show for the eighth ninth and tenth seasons. Stern plans to leave America's Got Talent in 2015.
Stern was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2012. He has been openly critical of the organization. In August 2013, Stern and Simon Cowell shared first place on Forbes' list of America's highest-paid television personalities with $95 million earned between June 2012–13. Stern and Cowell tied first place in the following year's poll with the same amount earned from June 2013–14.
In February 2015, Whalerock Industries announced its partnership with Stern to set up a future direct-to-consumer digital "media hub" service, with a potential mix of free and subscription-based programming.
Stern was raised Jewish and still claims Judaism, but he seems rather skeptical of organized religion.
Stern is a Libertarian and even ran for governor of New York on the Libertarian ticket. All in all, though, he seems politically confused.
He comes from a full-on Jewish family, both of his parents are children of Austro-Hungarian Jewish immigrants.
Now, Stern doesn’t seem too enchanted with his inherited religion and is sometimes labeled as a “self-hating Jew.” These critiques don’t seem too off the mark, especially when Stern goes on about what he considers ridiculous Jewish rituals, such as fasting, or speaking Hebrew in English speaking countries, or circumcision.
he thinks religious practices are superfluous, saying:
"I just think being a good person and trying to do your best (is what’s important)… (with religion) you’ve got to bow and all sorts of (ritual)."
"I always resented the label of 'shock jock' that the press came up with for me. Because I never intentionally set out to shock anybody."
"I'm sickened by all religions. Religion has divided people. I don't think there's any difference between the pope wearing a large hat and parading around with a smoking purse and an African painting his face white and praying to a rock."
Height: (1,96 m).
Trade Mark :Sunglasses, curly hair, unashamed juvenille sense of humor.
Stern is married to model Beth Ostrosky. The couple wed in October 2008 in a ceremony at a restaurant in Manhattan. The guest list included longtime friends Barbara Walters, Billy Joel, John Stamos, Joan Rivers, Donald Trump and Sarah Silverman.