Despite brash touting as being unauthorized, this uninspired biography of the shockjock is as mild as they come. While Stern...

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HOWARD STERN: KING OF ALL MEDIA: The Unauthorized Biography

Despite brash touting as being unauthorized, this uninspired biography of the shockjock is as mild as they come. While Stern is routinely deplored by the chattering classes as a base vulgarian, lately a strong revisionist swell has begun championing him as a vulgarian of rare genius and insight (look for such hallmark cognoscenti approbations as "Rabelaisian"). Certainly, his achievements have been impressive. Buoyed by his key demographic, men 25 to 34, Stern has conquered almost every medium he's tackled, from radio to cable TV to books. Egocentric as it may be, he can and does justifiably boast of being the "king of all media." Long-running battles with the FCC over indecency have only served to raise his stature further to that of celebrated First Amendment defender. Like many show-biz biographers, Colford (The Rush Limbaugh Story, 1993) provides the prose equivalent of paint-by-numbers—broad clear strokes that reveal only their essential flatness. And given Stem's unabashed, confessional tendencies and self-obsessions, his listeners are already familiar with most of the details presented here. Though Colford claims substantial indepth research, he manages to conceal most of it effortlessly. In the footsteps of countless newspaper profiles, Colford points out that much of Stem's hyperbolic persona is an act. The loud-mouthed, foul, opinionated, even bigoted DJ is in reality a polite, softspoken family man and devotee of Transcendental Meditation. Colford does a good job, however, at digging into the secretive Stern's finances, revealing that despite his chronic complaints of being underpaid, Stern earns about $8 million a year (this is a man who dropped out of the New York gubernatorial race in part to avoid revealing this figure). For those truly interested in finding out about Stern, his radio show is much more entertaining and revealing than this pallid, perfunctory bio.

Pub Date: July 26, 1996

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2005