By Adam Zaki
Published: April 1st, 2017
The Brooklyn College Office of Communications has announced that the legendary broadcaster Howard Stern will become the President of Radio Operations at Brooklyn College’s WBCR, an opportunity for the campus’ radio station to take the next step into broadcasting.
“I’m here to get WBCR ratings,” said Stern. “Ratings bring success. If you want to do what you want in radio, have complete freedom, you need to get ratings. We will be the most-listened-to college radio station in the world.”
According to sources from City University of New York (CUNY), Stern negotiated a five-year contract with a base pay of $69,000 annually plus incentives based on ratings and student participation at the station. Despite the new position, Stern will continue his radio show at SiriusXM, where he makes upwards of $80 million a year. The King of All Media continues to be the highest paid broadcaster in history, and some have questioned why Stern took any form of salary coming from student activity fees.
“The money that [Brooklyn College] will pay me is a heck of a lot of money,” said Stern. “I worked for $96 a week in radio. If you told me I’d be making what Brooklyn College has paid me to take this job when I was in college, I’d be thrilled.” He promised that his salary would pay major dividends to the entire campus and community.
Stern and his team have plans to implement changes in content, programming, advertising and promotions. “I came to a conclusion a long time ago about radio; specifically, that the person who doesn’t grow and change is dull and remains dull and will never, ever, succeed,” said Stern.
“We’re really excited to get Howard here,” said Eric Norris, the Head Director at CUNY’s Campus Radio Division. “Howard will bring an opportunity to current Brooklyn College students, while also allowing Brooklyn College to represent New York City as the go-to school for television and radio production.”
Student reactions at WBCR have been polarized about Stern’s arrival. His departure to satellite radio almost 13 years ago has students who were too young to tune in with mixed feelings about a controversial professional with whom they are unfamiliar.
“I really don’t know,” said Gary Dell’Abate, a biology major who hosts “Talking Teeth with Baba Booey,” a weekly program at WBCR that discusses proper dental hygiene and dental bone structure. Dell’Abate is more worried about the changes of day-to-day functions at the station than any changes to the content of his show. “I think Howard is going to boss us around and forget that we have other things to do as students,” Dell’Abate said.
“I’m super, super excited for the arrival of Howard,” said John Melendez, a speech pathology major who hosts a monthly podcast at WBCR. “Although I’ve always liked Jay Leno better, I’ve found that Howard is really generous to the people he works with, and I like that.”
“I am unsure about what Howard can do for our school,” said Jackie Martling, a music major who hosts the weekly program “Jokeland with Jackie and Nancy” at WBCR alongside his girlfriend Nancy Sirianni. “It doesn’t matter to me. Howard won’t help me get any funnier than I already am. As long as he doesn’t have an influence on my stipend at [the station], I couldn’t care less,” Martling said.
“I’m excited because I feel like Howard and I have a lot in common,” said exercise science major Arthur Lange, who hosts the show “Too Heavy to Levy” at WBCR. “Howard and I have the same sense of humor, and I’ve listened to him since I was young.”
A lifelong Stern fan, Lange’s opinion of Stern has changed over the years. “He has become much more [politically correct] as of late,” said Lange. He also cited one of Stern’s team members in his criticism of the changing content of the show. “Hopefully he leaves Marci Turk at Sirius so we can get back to good radio at WBCR,” said Lange.
One of Stern’s biggest fans Mariann Tepedino—or “Mariann from Brooklyn” as she is referred to on “The Howard Stern Show”— is extremely excited for Stern to take his new position. “All I need is Howard in my life,” said Tepedino, who spoke extensively about her years of dedication to the program and all of its members. The “Mother” to Stern’s infamous Wack Pack and lifelong Brooklynite, Tepedino claims Stern’s arrival to her home borough is a dream come true. “This is incredible,” she said. “Students and faculty will see me outside of campus soon; I’ll be screaming for Howard!”
“Your lifestyle, opinions, view of the world, it has to evolve and change,” said Stern when asked about a message he would relay to students. “I’ve always tried to give my fans me,” he said, speaking about how fans favor years that featured comedians that personified the content of the show through their respective years on the program. “I’ve always changed my show so it never got boring; I want my audience to always be as entertained as possible.”
Stern spoke about how poor communication skills among students is affecting them in the real world. “Parents today hang on every word their kids say, and a lot of kids are big bores,” he said. “Whether it’s on the radio or [interpersonally], they do a windup for fifteen minutes and can’t even get into the story they’re trying to tell.” With this in mind, Stern is focused on preparing students to tell stories throughout all formats of media.
“If students are going to succeed in what they want to do, they have to put in the hours of practice,” said Stern. He plans to use lessons from the book “Outliers,” by Malcom Gradwell, to drive students to success. “We are going to make major changes. I’m the best. This campus is in for a major slap in the tuckus.”
“The fact of the matter is, I’m here to stay now,” said Stern, who hurried off to prepare for the next day’s show. As WBCR continues to be one of Brooklyn College’s most popular organizations, the arrival of Stern to take the reins of WBCR will undoubtedly give students a unique experience in the learning process of being successful broadcasters. Stern’s arrival is imminent, as his part-time office hours at the station will begin by appointment in the first week of the semester this Fall.