Howard Stern has lost his No. 1 spot as talk-radio host
A year into his new gig at Sirius Satellite Radio, Howard Stern has a lot more money, an engagement ring and what he says is far greater peace of mind.
What he doesn't have, according to the leading radio trade magazine Talkers, is his former stature as the most important talk radio host in America.
Talkers' annual "Heavy Hundred" list drops Stern from the No. 1 spot, which he held last year, to No. 12.
"He's still doing very well," says Michael Harrison, editor of Talkers. "But this list is about what's hot - and you just don't hear about Stern the way you did before he went to satellite. People don't talk about what he said the way they used to.
"A year ago, he had put satellite on the map. He was a liberal talk voice, even though that's not how people defined him, who got huge ratings. He pioneered a style of FM talk.
"He absolutely deserved to be No. 1. But that was then and this is now. We had to ask what talk hosts are most important in the radio industry now."
"Some people are furious about this list," says Harrison. "But Opie and Anthony, for instance, are now the biggest thing in FM talk. They belong where they are. And so does Stern."
Stern does remain a potent radio touchstone. The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), in opposing the proposed XM/Sirius satellite radio merger, asked the FCC "to weigh whether an industry that makes Howard Stern its poster child should be rewarded with a monopoly platform for offensive programming."
NAB executive vice president Dennis Wharton, under whose name the statement was issued, said he's been bombarded with angry e-mails from Stern fans.
Stern himself has been on vacation this week and has not commented on the merger or the NAB.
1. Rush Limbaugh
2. Sean Hannity
3. Michael Savage
4. Dr. Laura Schlessinger
5. Ed Schultz
6. Opie & Anthony
7. Laura Ingraham
8. Mike Gallagher
9. Neal Boortz
10. Glenn Beck
12. Howard Stern
13. Randi Rhodes
14. Don Imus
15. Bill O'Reilly