Howard Stern Enters the No Spin Zone!

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," December 7, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

Watch "The O'Reilly Factor" weeknights at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET and listen to the "Radio Factor!"

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, a rare interview with Howard Stern. Monetarily speaking, he is the most successful entertainer in the USA after signing a huge contract with a subscription radio service. Over the next three nights, we will give you a No Spin look at Mr. Stern. Tonight, we'll concentrate on the business side of his empire, tomorrow night on his act and Friday the toll success has taken on him. Here we go.


O'REILLY: All right, Stern, you can't be serious, can you? Look at you. Five hundred million bucks. That's what I have here. I don't believe it. But five hundred million bucks! That's what Sirius satellite radio going to pay you in five years. Is that right?

STERN: Well, first of all, I'm worth every penny.

O'REILLY: But is that right? Is it $500 million?

STERN: It's not exactly right but...

O'REILLY: But it's close.

STERN: I don't talk about my salary.

O'REILLY: I understand.

STERN: Because if I try to hire a plumber, I can't get one to come to my house because they think I'm walking around with $500 million.

O'REILLY: But this is in the ballpark, $500...

STERN: No, it's not in the ballpark. I'm not making $500 million, but I'm making a lot of money.

O'REILLY: OK. But it's you and your operations. We're saying your corporation.

STERN: Right.

O'REILLY: They're paying your corporation between $80 and 100 million a year.

STERN: Listen to you. You are so jealous. That's why you sell all those tchotchkes every night at the end of your...

O'REILLY: You want to get that out of the way up top?

STERN: You want to do the tchotchkes later or you want to do it now?

O'REILLY: Let's do it later.

STERN: All right. Well, you've got a good answer. You do it for charity. So that's...

O'REILLY: Yes, you already know that. Your informants tipped you off. But I've got a couple of beefs with you about it but we'll...

STERN: Do you understand what happened to me since they came into this building? You don't want to get to the tough stuff?

O'REILLY: No, we don't have time for that.

STERN: You don't care?

O'REILLY: No. I don't care what happened to you. I know you're in makeup chair for a long time and it's obvious why. And the hair.

STERN: Well, I need makeup because I said that you are the Brad Pitt of this channel. And to really sit here with Bill O'Reilly and try to look good next to this handsome man, I said you'd better put a lot of makeup on me. And I'm sitting there, and while I'm in the chair, Geraldo comes waltzing in...

O'REILLY: Talking about a handsome man.

STERN: Yes. But Geraldo — first of all, you doesn't even recognize him. The guy's got like five pounds of makeup. He's beet read.

O'REILLY: He's 80 years old. Give him a break.

STERN: He's got to be. He's got a 4-year-old wife and he's got a 1- year-old at home, I said, "What are you doing? You've got to relax."

O'REILLY: But look at your hair. I mean, every curl is manufactured. It's terrific. And you're a radio guy. You're not even on TV.

STERN: I am on TV. I'm on OnDemand and I was on E! for 11 years.


STERN: It was the No. 1 show on E! for 11 years.

O'REILLY: It was exciting. I mean, you and Joan Rivers. I couldn't get enough of that.

STERN: You...


STERN: Go ahead. So I make a lot of money. Does that surprise you? I'm probably the most...

O'REILLY: No, no, no, no, no. But I want to get to the economics.


O'REILLY: So $80 and $100 million a year go into your corporation. You go on Sirius, the satellite radio channel. OK? How are they going to make a profit? I mean, how many people do you think are going to go over - - what are they, 50 bucks for that thing, subscription?

STERN: Bill, is it my problem if they make a profit?


STERN: Is that my worry?


STERN: They pay me to go there and entertain the people, and that's what I'll do. And they shall come.

What I've heard so far is that when I got there they had 600,000 subscribers, and lo and behold, it's been a year later now and I've been — certainly, it's been in the news that I'm going to satellite. They are now estimating 3.1 million people have joined Sirius.

O'REILLY: And how much is it a year to do — to get...?

STERN: Well, it's $12 a month for a radio subscription, and I think it is the best — if you want to get into this, I think it's the best buy in town.

O'REILLY: OK. So if you sign a couple of million then they can make money off that.

STERN: Sure. Of course they're going to make money. Satellite radio, it's inevitable. Because FM and AM radio have been so regulated, so overly commercialized, because the content has been so watered down, guys like me who make people laugh in the morning and appeal to millions of people, can't do our act anymore. So guess what's happening? Satellite radio will succeed.

O'REILLY: We'll see.

STERN: Much like cable television, which you're on, has succeeded because you can program...

O'REILLY: But FOX has succeeded, but MSNBC is a disaster, so it's not a lock. But I'm glad you gave me the segue.

STERN: Trust me. With me, it's a lock.

O'REILLY: OK. We'll see.

STERN: Right.

O'REILLY: What are you going to do differently? Are you going to, like, curse every two minutes? Is that what you're going to do?

STERN: No. I think you know better than that. And you better calm down. Sit back in your chair, stop getting in my face.

O'REILLY: I'm OK. I'm relaxed.

STERN: Because I'll smack you around. You know that.

O'REILLY: You know, that would be good because my lawyers, Swifty (ph), is right over there.

STERN: I would take you...

O'REILLY: Hit me, and I'd take a lot of that hundred million.

STERN: Go ahead, baby. It's all yours. No. But in all seriousness. What was your question again?

O'REILLY: Are you going to curse every two minutes?


O'REILLY: What are you going to do?

STERN: Here's the deal. I can't do the kind of material I used to do 10 years ago. In 1987 I started getting fined by the FCC. And what happened was all the big corporations I worked for, Viacom, Clear Channel, they bowed to the government. They didn't challenge anything. They didn't go and say, "Gee, are we really indecent or obscene?" I don't think there's one thing I've ever said on the radio that would have been found indecent or obscene.

O'REILLY: No, you just talk sex talk.

STERN: Big deal.

O'REILLY: Are you going to ratchet that up?

STERN: I don't know. You know, there's no restrictions. Here's the analogy. You ever watch the Chris Rock special on HBO? His first one? I think it's some of the most brilliant comedy I have ever seen.

O'REILLY: But there's a lot of F-words in it.

STERN: There's a lot of language.

O'REILLY: There's a lot of concepts that they couldn't allow on network television. If you took that same special and you put it on NBC television in prime time, they would chop it up and edit it...

O'REILLY: You can't use the F-word in prime time...

STERN: You'd be bored — forget it's the F-word — you can't talk about certain aspects of your sex life. You can't talk about certain views that you might have, or topics. This special would be horrible. That's the difference.

My show was revolutionary, ground-breaking. When I came on the scene, people were not doing a thing. There were no Bill O'Reillys, even, who gave their opinion. I remember news guys used to be, "Call us with your opinion." News guy didn't even give his opinion.

The state of radio changed when I got into it. I want to get back to that. I am tired of being harnessed. I want to get back to what I was doing 15 years ago.

O'REILLY: But people don't know what that is, so pitch it...


STERN: Well, my fans know. My fans know exactly what that is.

O'REILLY: Does it mean more four-letter words? What does it mean?

STERN: Yes, I believe blue material is funny, but if that's all you've got, you're dead in the water. It's not good.

O'REILLY: All right. So it's going to be more blue material combined with what?

STERN: It's combined with doing everything that I ever did. I used to do bits. I did a bit at NBC, going back to 1980 something, called the Bathroom Olympics. I would run around the studio — I'd have a guest in there. If you were my guest, I'd say, "Hey, let's see if we can go to the bathroom. We'll time it, and we'll see who can go faster." I can't do that.

Now you might think that's not sophomoric. That might not be your type of humor. My audience used to eat that stuff up. Now if I mention going to the bathroom, the government fines me millions of dollars.


STERN: I like bathroom humor. I like fun, man. I like to knock people's socks off. And I can't do it any more.

O'REILLY: So we can look forward to more four-letter words and bathroom humor for $12 a month.

STERN: Listen to me. For $12 a month — don't be a wise ass — for $12...

O'REILLY: You're telling me not to be a wise...

STERN: You're a wise ass. Because for $12 a month, here's what you get. You'll go out to a video store and rent a movie for $5, and that's one movie. You'll pay $12 or $20 — hold it, don't stop me.

O'REILLY: Go, go, go....

STERN: You'll pay $20 for a CD that you can hear, some music. For $12 — you get two channels of what I'm doing. You get commercial-free music off the charts. It is tremendous content.

O'REILLY: All right.

STERN: I mean, it's not just me for $12 a month.


O'REILLY: All right. As we mentioned, tomorrow, we'll talk about how Howard Stern sees his fan base, what his new act will specifically be about and what he thinks of "“The Factor”." Believe me, you don't want to miss it.

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