Stern fires back after suspension

— Suspended by the nation's No. 1 radio conglomerate, Howard Stern grabbed a microphone Thursday morning and ranted. He asked his boss to fire him and complained about censorship.

Then he fielded a call from his girlfriend -- to discuss their sexual encounter the night before.

Typical Stern on an atypical day for the shock jock. The self-proclaimed "King of All Media" saw his kingdom shrink as Clear Channel Communications yanked Stern off a half-dozen stations Wednesday over the content of his oft-salacious show.

"They are so afraid of me and what this show represents," Stern told his legion of devoted listeners -- those who could still hear him, anyway.

Clear Channel's decision comes at a time of heightened public and political pressure on broadcasters to clean up their act. The uproar started after singer Justin Timberlake exposed Janet Jackson's breast to 90 million viewers during the Super Bowl halftime show, prompting Congress to convene hearings into indecent programming.

Clear Channel yanked Stern from stations in San Diego, Pittsburgh, Rochester, N.Y., Louisville, Ky., and Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Fla. Clear Channel said the suspension would last until the Stern show met its programming guidelines.

Infinity Broadcasting, which syndicates Stern's show, declined to comment on the latest flap. In 1995, the company paid a record $1.7 million fine to the FCC for violations by the Stern show.


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