Three years ago, this news story from late last week would have created massive "water cooler talk" in and out of radio:
In case you didn't hear (and you probably didn't), Artie Lange walked off the Stern show last Thursday after an incident with his personal assistant. This would have been the radio buzz, but instead, the entertainment headlines were all about Michael Johns getting booted from American Idol, Katie Couric's status at CBS, and a new Keanu Reeves movie that opened this past weekend.
It's about environment. While Stern's CPA is obviously reading this blog and laughing, the fact is that by placing himself on a much smaller stage, Stern has taken himself out of the mainstream of American media. People don't talk about his show because most of them can't hear it. Compare that to his terrestrial radio reign where even celebrities who were terrified of him went on the Stern show to promote their movies, books, and sitcoms.
We even saw this while working for Stern stations over the years. On the really well-positioned, solid stations, Stern pulled in those boxcar numbers that everyone remembers. But on the dogs - stations that were poorly programmed, also-rans, and or simply doing a lousy job - his ratings were not impressive at all. Even Howard couldn't compensate for being on a losing team.
Many personalities and operators make these same faulty assumptions when analyzing talent and environment. The aforementioned Katie Couric is either mis-cast on the CBS Evening News or the reality that she's moved from a great gig like Today to a much tougher putt in her new job is something that even she cannot overcome.