The Howard Stern Interview

Howard Stern says he has changed. How much?


Honesty, credibility, vulnerability…these are the building blocks of a career, these are what bond people to you.

Distribution is king. After all, Stern gave this interview to the “New York Times,” the paper of record, the one with gravitas, the one that has lasted.

Sure, you can say something on a website, but most sites are evanescent, they have no history, and therefore not the same imprimatur, but if it’s in the “New York Times”…

The right might hate the paper, but it reacts to it. That’s power. And power is the key in the twenty first century. We think it’s about money, but it’s not. Sure, money buys you power, but it does not deliver hearts and minds, and it’s those that move mountains, that define our country.

If you’ve been listening to Howard’s show, you know that he’s been promoting his new book for over a month. But what I did not expect him to do was to reveal new feelings, to open his soul, to tell the truth in the promotion off the air.

Now let’s go back to distribution. Only when he appeared on “America’s Got Talent” did the rest of the world recognize Stern’s power, which is why he gets all the A-listers on his show these days, Stern’s fans are not passive, but active. If they like something, they buy it, they experience it, and have an opinion about it. This is the opposite of the late night TV world…that’s soft entertainment to put you to bed. Maybe that’s why Colbert is triumphing, speaking his truth, people feel like they belong to a tribe when they watch his show. Same deal with Rachel Maddow on the left and Tucker Carlson on the right.

But they don’t have the reach of Howard Stern.

The politicos create tribes for what they say, Stern’s tribe is in love with the man as well. Because he reveals himself, warts and all, in a guarded society.

Sure, people go on social media and say everything. Then again, at this point most only put forth their best selves. Isn’t that the essence of Instagram? Nobody’s life is that fabulous. As a matter of fact, inner life is littered with potholes, regrets, questions, depression, but those with a sustained audience don’t reveal this stuff.

Usually an interview is negotiated. For a cover. What questions can’t be asked. That’s not interesting.

As for Stern asking about people’s sex lives…to hear a celebrity talk about this is to realize they’re just like you and me, no better. Sure, maybe they have opportunities we don’t, but at the end of the day we’re all the same.

Dedicated listeners will tell you Stern’s show has changed. And it has, whether you like it or not. But kudos to the man for changing, in a world where you cannot contradict yourself or apologize unless it’s to get the world off your back. In America, you have to do the same thing forever, you can never admit you’re wrong. And in this interview, Stern regrets his mistakes, his two previous books, and he explains why. This is not fodder for the news, this is truth, this is vulnerability, this is honesty, and it draws you closer to him.

Admitting your mistakes… Howard does.

And back to that change… We want to evolve. Being 60 is not like being 30.

Then again, Howard talks about being 30, fighting for listeners on terrestrial radio, afraid they’ll tune out, ratings were everything.

It’s like talking to any professional, there are rules we’re unaware of, Howard’s revealing them.

Even if you don’t know who Howard Stern is, you’ll be riveted by this interview. Because he knows these people, he’s not afraid to say it straight, this is what he’s built his whole career on!

Now if you don’t listen to the show, you might not understand the religion. But the truth is…

Most people pooh-pooh the man, then they get hooked and it’s all they can talk about. All the peripheral characters, who cares? And then you do.

But you’ve got to pay. People keep talking about entertainment being free, news being free, that’s hogwash, if you want the good stuff you have to pay. You pay for Netflix, right? You’re paying for HBO? If you’re not paying you’re out of the loop.

The key is not to bitch about theft, about people wanting stuff for free, but to create something so great people want to pay. That’s the essence of concert merch, correct? People want to feel closer. If no one wants to pay for your work, you’re doing it wrong, or just haven’t been doing it long enough.

Funny world we live in. Everybody’s criticizing everybody else and their choices, to the point where many cower. Hell, I heard an interview with Pete Townshend the other day and he said he would never say this stuff on Twitter, it would cause a conflagration. To be in the mix and let your freak flag fly takes a lot of courage, which most people don’t have. They say they want the attention, but when they get it, when eyes are upon them, they fold, or they react. If you see someone in a Twitter war you know they’ve lost the plot, this is exactly what the trolls want.

I was surprised by the Stern interview. I expected a rehash of the usual topics. But to find out Howard had a cancer scare…now you know why he missed work that one and only time. Talking about his family. Talking about Trump. This is a guy who’s been there, but has always taken the position he’s a schnook, just like us.

That’s right, we’re all schnooks. We’re trying to hide it, we’re faking it, but we’re all insecure. And when someone reflects our schnookiness back to us…

We breathe a sigh of relief. We feel like we belong. In an ever more alienating world.

It’s about people. It’s always about people. Life is a struggle. You’ve got to keep on keepin’ on. But it’s constantly reinforced that we’re inadequate. We’re not attractive enough, rich enough, we don’t know the right people, but the truth is we’re all right.

That’s the essence of Howard Stern’s message.

And that if you work really hard, REALLY HARD, you might just get what you want.

But almost no one’s willing to work that hard, even though they believe they’re entitled to the rewards.

Hell, Howard is always imparting lessons on the show, how to manage your money, your relationship…

And we’re all looking to learn.

You can start with this interview.




Visit the archive:


If you would like to subscribe to the LefsetzLetter


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Posted Under