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Inside Politics

Stern lambastes Bush, FCC

'I criticize Bush and then I'm fired'

From George Lerner
CNN

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Radio host Howard Stern took aim at the Bush administration, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and media giant Clear Channel as he announced Wednesday that his program will soon be broadcast on nine new stations across the country.

In a news conference held during his morning show, Stern said some of those stations -- in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; San Diego, California; West Palm Beach, Florida; Rochester, New York; and Orlando, Florida -- will replace Clear Channel stations that once carried the Howard Stern program.

In February, Clear Channel pulled Stern from six of the stations it owns after the FCC fined the company $495,000 for Stern comments that were deemed indecent. (CNNMoney: Stern's show adds stations)

"When I was thrown off the six stations I was devastated. I really thought Clear Channel had 'thrown me under the bus,'" Stern said. (Clear Channel yanks Stern from 6 stations)

"I'm not taking it sitting down. ... I'm going to kick their asses. ... I'm thrilled to be back on in these markets."

The radio host said he had considered moving to satellite radio, where he would face less FCC scrutiny, but decided to remain with his current radio contract with Infinity Broadcasting, which syndicates the Stern show. That contract has another 18 months to go.

"I'm so frustrated by the amount of censorship that's going on," Stern said "The FCC is on such a witch hunt against me that they actually go back 2 (or) 3 years for reasons to fine me. ... The FCC is on a witch hunt."

Stern accused Clear Channel of taking him off the air not for reasons of obscenity but because he had spoken out against President Bush.

"Clear Channel is very tied to the Bush administration" Stern said. "Clear Channel for years has been defending me...I criticize Bush and then I'm fired...They acted out of politics."

Stern lashed out against Bush administration's policies on everything from the environment, to stem cell research and the war in Iraq. (Bush: Iraqi sovereignty defeat for resistance)

He said he was encouraging his listeners, whom he described as swing voters, to cast their ballots for John Kerry. (Edwards tops Kerry veep poll)

"John Kerry will receive more votes because of this. ... My audience will vote in a bloc," Stern said.

"We're also in a lot of key states. ... If we can affect that state that's big news."


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