Cool article http://ca.complex.com/pop-culture/2015/01/brief-history-of-howard-stern-show " Today is the infamous shock jock Howard Stern's 61st birthday, and regardless of whether or not you hate him or love him, you have opinions about his show. Anyone who has listened to the Howard Stern Show for an extended period knows that the strippers and fart contests aren't the only things that make it great—it’s Stern's stewardship and the way he critiques the American underbelly and its weird cultural underpinnings with irreverent commentary. It's also the awkward relationships, funny stories, and constant ball-busting between Stern,Robin Quivers, and Fred Norris that keep fans hooked. So whatever camp you belong to, it's worth looking back at what Stern has done over the last 35 years to earn his crown as one of the most important radio personalities of all time. Here’s A Brief History of the Howard Stern Show. It's a tale with enough drama to fill an epic novel. " The Rough Years (and Fred!) The early years were a struggle, in both finding an audience and finding a creative direction. Stern's first gig was in Hartford, Connecticut, and it was here that he met Fred Norris, the longest tenured member of the staff besides Stern himself. Fred was the DJ for the graveyard shift at the station, and he was both a talented voice impressionist and writer. In his second biography, Mr. America, Stern writes that he will be forever grateful to Fred because he would clean up and organize Howard's music records in the studio. Today, he's known for his incredibly timed sound drops, his raw intelligence, and his quiet demeanor, which scares half the staff. The King of All Media Meets Queen Quivers From Hartford, Stern went to Detroit, until his Detroit rock station became a country music station. He left that job and landed in Washington, D.C., where he met his best friend and co-host, Robin Quivers. Stern wanted a newscaster to cover current events, but unlike other radio programs, which strictly separated the respective departments from one another, Stern wanted someone to converse and riff with on the air. Robin and Howard had instant chemistry. She's been the golden key to show's success ever since. She's the voice of reason and moderation, and she adds a much-needed female perspective to some of the show's frat boy antics. And that laugh. Such a loud, joyous laugh. W-N-N-N-N-B-C!! It was at WNBC that Howard finally hit the big time and gained a national audience. He met Jackie 'The Joke Man" Martling, who would write on-the-spot jokes and feed them to Howard. He hired Gary "Baba Booey" Dell'Abate, who now serves as the show's executive producer. But despite the national exposure, Stern was miserable. His bosses wanted him to quit. They spent a great deal of time psychologically torturing him, making him repeat the station's call letters ad nauseam and even throwing things at the glass while he was on the air. The ringleader was Kevin Metheny, the program director that Stern dubbed “Pig Vomit"; Metheny would later be skewered in Stern's autobiographical Private Parts movie and played by Paul Giamatti. The Terrestrial Golden Age After Stern parted ways with WNBC, he signed with WXRK, which existed under the Infinity Broadcasting banner. The show entered national syndication later that year, and the rest, as they say, is history. Stern crushed his old rival Don Imus in the ratings; at its peak, Stern's show commanded the attention of over 20 million listeners. It was an unprecedented, unbelievable success, and Stern began to diversify himself. He had live pay-per-views (including one of him playing tennis against Gary), wrote two New York Times bestsellers (Private Parts and Mr. America), and made tons of appearances on Late Show with David Letterman. He also got in trouble—the Mexican community was up in arms after he insulted Selena's music in the wake of her assassination. Not to mention, the endless parade of topless strippers and porn stars made him a target for the FCC. The Joke Man’s Out and Artie’s In Jackie Martling was never grateful for the head writer job that he had; he eventually left the Howard Stern Show over a money dispute. Stern had a rotating cast of stand-up comedians fill in, but no one was really a perfect fit. Then Norm MacDonald introduced Stern to Artie Lange, and Lange took over the "Jackie chair." Artie was a blue-collar Italian from Jersey, and his comedy reflected that and complemented Stern's neurotic personality. Artie also had issues with drugs, alcohol, gambling, and prostitutes, and his struggles made for some of the weirdest, funniest, most awkward moments in the show's history. Win John’s Job Stern Show mainstay Stuttering John also made his departure, in 2004, after many years of ambushing celebrities with stupid questions. (Raquel Welch once punched John in the face for asking her, "Are they drooping yet?") To fill his spot, Stern held an on-air contest called "Win John's Job." The two winners were Richard Christy, a perverted, nerdy hick, and Sal Governale, a shit-talking stockbroker with a racist streak and marital problems. Richard and Sal added aJackass component to the show. They continue to make phony prank phone calls, as well as perform stupid stunts that injure both themselves and others. Uncensored on Sirius Stern finally got sick of fighting the FCC; after Janet Jackson's Super Bowl Nipplegate, the FCC clamped down hard. Stern moved his entire show and crew to Sirius Satellite Radio, and brought his audience with him. The Sirius audience, which once was comprised of around 900,000 people, now numbered in the millions. The now-uncensored show became dirtier than ever, and the fights got even more intense now that people could swear on the air. Stern also created a news department to cover Howard Stern related news, and started HowardTV, an on demand service that broadcast video footage of the show. And to everyone's delight, Stern hired George Takei to be the show's official announcer. “Oh, my!” Artie’s Heroin Saga Artie Lange has a lot of demons—drugs, alcohol, gambling—and over the course of the show, they finally caught up to him. The signs were all there: He gained a ton of weight, threatened his co-workers, called in sick, and grew an untrimmed beard that made him look like a homeless person. One time, he even fell asleep in the middle of the show. Howard turned it into a comedy bit, but there was very little that was funny about it. And then, the shocking news broke: Lange attempted suicide in his apartment, stabbing himself nine times with a 13-inch kitchen knife. Today, he's better (and getting himself in trouble on Twitter), but he has yet to return to Stern's show. Robin’s Cancer Scare Date(s): 2012-2013 For a year, Robin's trademark glass booth was empty. She was reading the news and co-hosting from her house, and the entire staff was mum as to why. Finally, she revealed the reason: She'd been battling endometrial cancer and was undergoing aggressive radiation treatment and chemotherapy through Sloan Kettering. She's now miraculously cancer free. On the air, a tearful Robin recalled Howard's support throughout the ordeal. It re-emphasized how important their friendship is to each other, and how necessary their chemistry is to the show's success. The Mainstream Era Date(s): 2013-present Perhaps it was the combination of Artie's downward spiral and Robin's cancer. Maybe it's the influence of Beth Ostrosky, Stern's supermodel wife for the past seven years. Maybe it's just getting older. But whatever the case, in the past several years, Stern has achieved newfound levels of mainstream respectability. There's his judge stint on America's Got Talent, but this kinder, gentler Howard has extended to the radio show as well. There are less porn stars and more A-List celebrities, like Bradley Cooper, Bill Murray, and Neil Young. Stern's also become a staunch advocate for LGBT rights, and speaks out against hate crimes and bigoted politicians. A lot of fans are bothered by the changes, and wish they had the old Howard back. But Howard definitely seems happy with the choices he's made,. He's set to finish out his career as a figure who's loved by most rather than despised by many.