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Howard Stern suspended for indecency


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Howard Stern
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

(CNN) -- The U.S.'s largest radio chain has taken shock jock Howard Stern off its stations indefinitely for running afoul of new decency standards.

"We will not air Howard Stern on Clear Channel stations until we are assured that his show will conform to acceptable standards of responsible broadcasting," said a Wednesday statement from John Hogan, president and CEO of Clear Channel Radio.

Stern was subdued but firm on air Thursday morning in response.

"They are so afraid of me and what this show represents," he said.

Earlier, he had wondered if he should even talk about the controversy. "I could blow my stack, but ... ," Stern said, trailing off. "A caller used the N word, and I hung up on him."

Stern was referring to his Tuesday morning interview with Rick Salomon, Paris Hilton's ex-boyfriend and the man involved in her infamous sex video. A person called in during the interview and used a racial slur.

The company said Stern's suspension from its stations came after a review of his Tuesday broadcast.

"Clear Channel drew a line in the sand today with regard to protecting our listeners from indecent content, and Howard Stern's show blew right through it," Hogan said.

"It was vulgar, offensive and insulting, not just to women and African-Americans but to anyone with a sense of common decency."

The statement did not outline what parts of Stern's show ran afoul of the policy or how long the suspension might last.

Clear Channel operates 1,200 stations nationwide. It was unclear how many of its stations currently run Stern, who is syndicated across the country by another company, Infinity Broadcasting. The suspension applies only to Clear Channel stations.

Earlier in the day, Clear Channel, which has been under fire from the Federal Communications Commission over allegedly indecent content aired on its stations, announced a zero-tolerance policy that called for immediate suspension of its on-air personalities who cross the line.

Hogan said there would be "no appeals and no immediate steps" for DJs found in violation, and that on-air personalities employed by Clear Channel who were found to have violated FCC indecency rules would be fired.

In January, the FCC announced it would fine Clear Channel $750,000 for allegedly indecent content aired by one of its DJs, Todd Clem, known as Bubba the Love Sponge. The company fired Clem on Tuesday.


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