This morning I heard Howard Stern and his crew conduct an impromptu game show with a porn star. She asked the questions, and whoever answered correctly won the prize of being allowed to grab her boobs. Howard won that round. Then somebody else, who answered the next question correctly, got to "hug her bordering on dry humping" as Howard put it. Is that disgusting? Perhaps. Is it good radio? Not sure. Did I tune out? Hell no.
Stern's now-infamous autobiographical motion picture Private Parts recounts having a couple of lesbians on his show: It was a big hit and Stern said it taught him that "lesbians equal ratings." The rest is history.
As trite as juvenile sex talk has perhaps become, at least it's not right-wing hate speech. If you like right-wing hate speech, you're gonna love the Pittsburgh new talk-radio station run by Clear Channel on 104.7 FM. If you haven't heard, they've stolen the mighty Jim Quinn for the morning show, and will import established wingnuts like Sean Hannity and heinously hateful homophobe Michael Savage (recently canned from MSNBC for asking a gay viewer to "get AIDS and die") for the remainder of the programming, except for a little sports in the evening.
I don't know whether it'll work because Pittsburghers like local. But my question is: Is that all there is? Are we left with right-wing hate speech, sports or lesbians? Is there any other kind of talk radio out there?
What about a show obsessing on pessimism? Pittsburgh is dying. My wife hates me. My mistress is getting fat. My uncle cut me out of his will. We're all gonna die. Kind of a Woody Allen neurotic rambling yapfest with a hint of Dr. Kevorkian realism.
Or how about a show revolving around apathy? It's actually perfect for Pittsburghers and most Americans, most of whom couldn't care less that a dangerous dolt is in the White House, Pittsburgh's going bankrupt, and the fast food we're wolfing down is creating a cesspool in our organs. Bush wants to invade more countries? Who gives a damn? I'm goin' dahn the Giant Eagle and buy a lottery ticket!
Could we combine some of the existing formats? Could we ask Arlen Specter who his favorite lesbian porn stars are? Could we ask Melissa Hart if she wants to become a lesbian porn star? (Nah, she's too shy.)
What about all jocks and lesbians all the time? I don't mean tennis- and golf-chick chat. I mean Jerome Bettis and two lesbian strippers. I know that already happens, but I want to put it on the radio.
What about a station devoted to bodily fluids? City Paper readers are familiar with the Savage Love column defining santorum as the unique blend of fecal matter and fluids that results from anal sex. But you never hear anyone talk about it on the radio. Why is that?
What if we just hound unpopular public figures 24 hours a day until they resign or disappear? "Good morning and welcome to Stalking Mayor Murphy. I'm live in front of Hizzoner's palatial North Side estate, where some charming young street urchins have just sold me the best crack this side of the Allegheny."
What about a station in which the hosts talk only in Pig Latin? "Oodgay afternoonyay, omingcay upyay, esbianslay udenay udwrestlingmay."
How about an all-lying radio station? No, the conservatives have cornered that market.
If you have any suggestions for a new talk-radio format, e-mail me. I'm a former TV talk host who may re-emerge in radio and I'm hungry for new ideas. I'd like to combine the truth-telling of Lynn Cullen, the condescension of Alan Cox, the humor of Jim Krenn and Randy Bauman, the fearless obnoxiousness of Fred Honsberger, the general knowledge of Uncle Dougie, the scholarly patter of Jerry Bowyer, the eat-me aggressiveness of Mark Madden, the sense of history of Stan Savran, the grooviness of Sean McDowell, the fanatical following of Jim Quinn, and the lesbians of Howard Stern.
But I'll settle for the lesbians.