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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Rogues and Renegades
Aired July 29, 2005 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. Glad to have you with us on this Friday night.
Are you ready for a little scandal tonight?
ZAHN (voice-over): They're the bad boys who push it to the limit and sometimes beyond.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Philip Spector has been booked for murder.
50 CENT, RAPPER: I was trying to be as sexy as I could possibly be without being obscene and disrespectful. It's working, it's working.
ZAHN: And shocking.
HOWARD STERN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: They have beautiful women here. We love you, Jessica (ph), because you are almost nude today.
ZAHN: Tonight, a PAULA ZAHN NOW special edition, the inside story on three notorious "PEOPLE IN THE NEWS: Rogues and Renegades."
ZAHN: So, why is it that people who are blessed with genius are sometimes also burdened with a gift for getting into a whole lot of trouble? We're going to try to answer that question with the three people we'll be profiling tonight.
We begin with Phil Spector. In a little more than a month, he goes on trial for murder, accused of shooting a little-known actress that he had picked up in a ritzy bar in Los Angeles two years ago. But turn back the clock some 40 years, and Spector was a rock 'n' roll god, producing hit after hit with a unique sound that ruled the charts in the early '60s. But there were disturbing signs along the way of trouble to come.
Here's Tony Harris.
TONY HARRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Until his 2003 arrest, Phil Spector had been most famous for his wall of sound productions, multiple overdubs of dozens of musicians.
HARRIS: That sound created some of the most memorable songs of the '60s, huge hits like the Crystals, "Da Doo Ron Ron," and the Righteous Brothers, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling."
MARK RIBOWSKY, BIOGRAPHER: Spector really was the first and the last of the great producers who were actually the star of their records.
HARRIS: He was born Harvey Philip Spector December 26, 1940, and grew up in a lower-middle-class Jewish section of the Bronze, New York. When Spector was 8 years old, his father, under severe financial strain, committed suicide.
RIBOWSKY: He ran a hose from his exhaust pipe of his car through the window of the -- you know, the front window and slowly died on the street in broad daylight as people walked by his car.
HARRIS: In 1953, Spector's mother moved the family to L.A.'s Fairfax district, where she worked as a seamstress. Spector enrolled at Fairfax High and had a tough time fitting in.
He turned to music and wrote and recorded original songs with two classmates. In 1958, they formed The Teddy Bears. Spector took the title of their first tong "To Know Him is To Love Him" from his father's epitaph. The song went to No. 1.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): To know, know, know him is to love, love, love him...
HARRIS: In 1961, he co-founded the Philles record label. By the age of 21, Phil Spector had become a millionaire with songs like The Crystals' "He's a Rebel."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three.
HARRIS: But friends say Spector was a control freak, running the studio like a factory, using musicians interchangeably in sessions that could last for days.
He cranked out hits like "Be My Baby," by the Ronettes and fell hard for its lead singer, Ronnie Bennett. Although he was married to long-time sweetheart, Nanette Lamar (ph), a romance heated up in the studio. The two married in 1968, but musicians say he controlled his wife like he controlled his music.
DARLENE LOVE, SINGER: So I said, "Come on, Phil, we went right around the corner to get hamburgers. We didn't know Ronnie wasn't supposed to leave." "Well, I gave her strict instructions not to leave here."
RONNIE SPECTOR, FORMER WIFE OF SPECTOR: I stayed married to him for a while, until I found myself being literally a prisoner in his home. And there were barbed wire fences. There were security guards.
PHIL SPECTOR, MUSICIAN: Let's forget about the intro for now. Let's just come right in.
HARRIS: By 1964, 25-year-old Spector had put 23 records in the top 50. But Spector's run of hits soon dried up. By the end of the year, the British had invaded.
MARK RIBOWSKY, BIOGRAPHER: By '64, he was part of the American recording scene that was vanquished by the Beatles. He couldn't help it. His way of making music was old hat.
HARRIS: Spector did little work until 1970, when he produced the Beatles' "Let it Be" album. Some of the studios say he behaved strangely while working with John Lennon.
RIBOWSKY: John would come to him and say, "Phil, come on, let's do some work." And they would fight and scream, so at one point, John said -- you know, he must have said something, you know, more forceful than that. Spector pulled out a gun and shot a hole through the ceiling of A&M Records.
HARRIS: He also pulled out a gun during a session with the Ramones in 1980. He produced their successful "End of The Century" album.
MARKY RAMONE, MUSICIAN: He had on occasion to be a little macho, to be a cowboy. But I thought it was funny, seeing this guy do this. The great Phil Spector doing this, playing, you know, with the guns.
HARRIS: By the late '80s, Spector had turned his back on the music industry and became a virtual recluse. His behavior became increasingly odd. He drank heavily, surrounded himself with bodyguards and regularly carried a gun.
On one wild night, he crossed paths with part-time actress Lana Clarkson. The 40-year-old striking blonde always wanted to be an actress. Her first role, one word in the '80s teen flick, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH")
LANA CLARKSON, ACTRESS: Hi.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Clarkson got more action in low budget movies like 1985's "Barbarian Queen." And two years ago before her death, she got some stage work. She played a feminist in the community theater play, "The Powder Room Sweep."
Without great success, Clarkson, to make ends meet, took a job at the House of Blues. It was here where she met Phil Spector.
This account comes from police records and unsealed grand jury testimony. Spector left his mansion in the early evening via chauffeur-driven Mercedes. He had four night spots with two different women. By 1:00 a.m., witnesses say he was slurring his words and appeared drunk. The last stop, the House of Blues, where he met Lana Clarkson on the hostess room in the Foundation Room, an enclave for big spenders.
Spector ordered an $8.50 alcoholic drink, a $5 bottle of water and left a $450 tip. As the club closed, Clarkson helped Spector get into his limo. He invited he home several times. Finally, she agreed for just one drink. They arrived at his secluded Alhambra mansion on top of the hill at about 3:00 a.m.
Two hours, Spector's chauffeur called 911 and said: "I think my boss killed somebody." When police arrived, they found Lana Clarkson slumped in a care dead from a gunshot wound to her mouth. Police subdued Spector with a stun gun and arrested him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Philip Spector has been booked for murder and has a $1 million bail.
HARRIS: Spector told investigators he shot Lana Clarkson accidentally, saying, "I'm not Robert Blake."
Then he claimed she had committed suicide. Spector turned down CNN's request for an interview, but told "Esquire" magazine's Scott Rabb (ph) that Clarkson -- quote -- "kissed the gun" -- end quote -- and that he is not guilty.
RIBOWSKY: It seems like the version that Phil told me was a fairly sanitized version, that Lana Clarkson wanted a ride home that -- wanted to see the castle. He never, never saw her before in his life, had no idea what her agenda was, if she was loud and drunk at the bar, did she grab the bottle of Tequila on the way out, that it's a -- you know, it's a sad thing. It's a tragic thing, but clearly, the woman must have had problems.
HARRIS: Clarkson's friends defend her character.
SALLY KIRKLAND, FRIEND: And I read somewhere in the press that she killed herself. No, this was not someone who is going to kill herself. No way. She was at a very happy time in her life.
ROBERT HALL, CLARKSON'S FORMER BOYFRIEND: No way. Over the years, she's become very savvy and very smart. She never lets herself get into any kind of weird predicaments.
HARRIS: And now, 64-year-old Phil Spector, the legendary rock producer who became famous for his eccentric behavior and his music, a man who has spent most of the last 25 years hidden inside his armored castle, is back in the spotlight to face a different kind of music.
ZAHN: That was Tony Harris reporting for us tonight.
Phil Spector faces one count of murder. He remains out on bail, on $1 million bail, and is scheduled to go on trial on September 16. Back in May, a Los Angeles judge ruled that testimony from four women who say Spector allegedly threatened them with guns will be allowed in the murder case.
Well, if Phil Spector is the sound of the '60s, here's the beat of the new century.
ZAHN: So, how did 50 Cent go from drug dealer to rap star? It's an amazing journey.
And a little bit later on, on our Friday of "Rogues and Renegades," is there anyone Howard Stern hasn't offended?
ZAHN: And at 12 minutes past the hour, still to come, his mother was a drug dealer. He was, too. How did 50 Cent get to be one of the hottest rappers in the world?
And this guy is headed out of the world. Can Howard Stern put satellite radio on the map?
Lots of money being bet on that proposition.
Right now, at just about 13 minutes past the hour, Erica Hill standing by with great anticipation, because she's going to let us know what else is going on tonight.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Hi, Paula. Good to see you.
We actually start off with, of course, one of the big stories today, authorities in Great Britain and across Europe scoring several wins in the war on terror this Friday. Sources close to the investigation tell CNN all four suspects in last week's failed London transit bombings are in custody tonight.
Dramatic pictures show two of the suspects, shirts off, hands in the air, emerging at gunpoint on the balcony of an apartment building in West London. Now, the man on the left is said to be Ibrahim Muktar. He is suspected of trying to blow up a bus on Hackney Street. The suspect on the right, Ramzi Mohammed, is believed to be the failed bomber at the Oval Street tube station. The two were arrested after a three-hour standoff with SWAT teams.
Now, just around the same time, another suspect was arrested by Italian police in Rome. Hussain Osman reportedly tried to detonate a bomb at the Shepherd's Bush subway station. Now, he was traced by Scotland Yard and Italian authorities, who monitored a cell phone he was using as he traveled to Rome. The fourth suspect was already in custody. He was arrested on Wednesday in Birmingham, England.
Space shuttle Discovery commander Eileen Collins says she's pretty sure the orbiter did not suffer any major damage when foam fell off the fuel tank during Tuesday's launch. Now, Collins added she doesn't think the shuttle should fly again. Until NASA can prevent the same thing from happening in the future, the crew has scanned the orbiter for damage. Photographs show about 25 small nicks in the shuttle's protective tiles.
Well, after much haggling and political maneuvering, Republicans and Democrats have reportedly decided to begin the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee John Roberts on September 6. That's the day after Labor Day. Republicans hope to get Roberts through the process and on the bench by the time the nation's highest court starts its new term at the beginning of October.
And, Paula, that is the latest, now at almost quarter past the hour.
ZAHN: So, aren't you relieved we don't have to worry about the summer doldrums coming out of Labor Day this year?
HILL: Oh, absolutely.
ZAHN: We're going to have a lot to talk about. Thanks, Erica.
HILL: It's -- I know.
ZAHN: See you in about 20 minutes or so.
Coming up next, he got so little money from first -- his first recording contract that he actually had to keep his day job.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
50 CENT: After all -- a whole year of working on music, I went right back to selling drugs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: You heard right. How did a onetime drug dealer become a millionaire rap star? It's really a fascinating story. Please stay with us. We'll have it for you.
ZAHN: You can look at pop music over the past 50 years as generation after generation of teenagers trying to push their parents' buttons, dancing with the limits of outrage. So, if you have kids now, you know it's probably rap they're using to drive you up the wall.
And the big star in rap now is 50 Cent, or 50 Cent, 50 Cent, however you want to say it, a former drug dealer who grew up in a tough New York neighborhood.
Tony Harris has his story. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
HARRIS (voice-over): Cinderella he is not. But thanks to hits like "Candy Shop," "The P.I.M.P.," 50 Cent's rise from crack dealer to multi-platinum rapper has been like a fairy tale.
50 CENT: Hey, what's up? Yo, this is 50 Cent.
HARRIS: Make that a gritty, urban, bullet-ridden fairy tale. Definitely not one suited for kids.
Yet both kids and adults from all walks of life can't get enough of the 30-year-old rapper.
PETER CASTRO, EXEC. DIRECTOR, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: Anybody that is selling a million records a week on a consistent basis is obviously appealing to pretty much every sector in the country. You know, white-collar businessmen who are, you know, driving in their BMWs, blaring this stuff, urban kids, white kids in the suburbs, housewives, everybody.
HARRIS: His first album, "Get Rich or Die Trying," debuted at number one and produced four hit singles.
50 CENT: And whoever said progress was a slow process wasn't talking about me.
HARRIS: His sophomore release, "The Massacre," also grabbed the top spot in its first week out and set the record for fastest selling debut.
50 Cent is a worldwide success, conquering music and fashion with equal aplomb.
50 CENT: I have no limit. When you come from where I come from and you reach where I'm at now, nobody can convince me I can't do something. There's points in my life when nobody was convinced that I'm going to do well but me. I mean, so I've got to be strong enough mentally to make myself believe that when no one else believes it.
HARRIS: You can't blame them for not believing 50 Cent, born Curtis Jackson in 1976, would make it out of South Jamaica, Queens.
LLOYD BANKS, FRIEND: South Jamaica's very fast. The street is like real -- everything negative is there for you. Everything, like anything you could possibly think of that can make you stay there, or make you go to jail, make you not progress. It's all there, man, and it all seems good.
HARRIS: 50 Cent's father wasn't around, and his mother sold drugs. When he was just 8 years old, his mother was murdered -- he says the result of a drug deal gone bad.
50 CENT: I lived with my grandparents anyway growing up. My mom had her own place, but she spent a lot of time in the streets. She had to do what she had to do to provide for me. And my grandparents, I remember them telling me that I was going to stay, you know, permanently, and trying to explain to me that I wasn't going to see my mother again. And then, I mean, at 8 years old, you don't understand at that point, you know what I mean, what it is. But it's just -- it's a difficult thing.
HARRIS: Now orphaned, he felt he had to take care of himself by himself.
50 CENT: My grandparents always wanted to do nice things for me. And I didn't want them to, because I felt like it was putting a strain on them. So I would ask the people that appeared to have it with no problem, and those were all people from my mother's life. And you know, they had jewelry, nice cars. They were hustling. It was from that life. And what they did was, they -- they bought me nice stuff, took care of me. And then they got tired of giving me.
HARRIS: In a perverse version of a hand up and not a handout, 50 Cent says his mother's friends taught him the business of becoming a drug dealer. Not even a teenager yet, he left school and hit the streets.
50 CENT: You try telling a 12-year-old kid that's having a hard time in school, you do this for about six more years, you can have this car, you know, you might even get a car and a nice apartment. And a lot of kids' curiosity make them leave the neighborhood to find somebody who's accomplished that in six months' time, well, it's right there in the neighborhood. So then it doesn't appear as one of the options; it appears as the only option.
HARRIS: As the crack epidemic swept the inner city, the young hustler was cleaning up financially. In 1994, at the age of 16, his ex-boys got him arrested, and he spent six months in a boot camp for youthful offenders.
When he was released, he went back to selling drugs and back to living the lavish lifestyle he had become accustomed to.
BANKS: You know, he had money. You know, he was like a hood star.
HARRIS: That money and the local celebrity status that went with it came in handy when 50 Cent ran into Jam Master J, a local rapper who gained international fame with a super group, Run DMC.
50 CENT: I've never been in a studio with intentions of recording a record. You know, so I told J, yeah, you know, I rap, you know. I write music, I do. I was hustling him.
HARRIS: Jam Master J took him under his wing, showing him how to write songs and letting him record for over a year. During that time, 50 Cent says he was so consumed with writing music and learning the business that he stopped selling drugs.
In 1999, Columbia Records came calling with a recording contract. But 50 Cent's first legal pay day didn't quite live up to his expectations. 50 CENT: They offered $65,000 for me in advance. And J, he had to have $50,000. The attorney got $10,000. So I was left with $5,000 after doing a deal with Columbia. So it was like, back to just having $5,000 again after all -- a whole year of working on music. I went right back to selling drugs.
HARRIS: 50 Cent's reentry into the Jamaica drug trade brought more than just disposable income. It also brought old enemies and new danger.
ZAHN: And when our profile continues, the gun fight that nearly ended 50 Cent's life and derailed his career.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
50 CENT: When I got shot, I was scared to death, man. If I couldn't make music, I was going to be back on the street.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: So, as you might have guessed, his record label dumped him. So, how did he get back to the top?
Stay with us.
ZAHN: So, 50 Cent's first experience with a big record company may have been as rough as anything but, to him, growing up on the streets. He signed for $65,000, as you heard, and says, after just a year of work, he walked away with $5,000. So, he headed back to the streets, until things got even worse.
Once again, Tony Harris.
HARRIS (voice-over): Nowadays, even on mainstream and pop airwaves, rap rules. One of the undisputed rulers of the kingdom is 50 Cent, topping the charts with songs like "In the Club."
MIMI VALDES, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "VIBE" MAGAZINE: 50 Cent has very much a typical gangster rapper image. He's hard. You know, he has an attitude. You know, there's no sort of sugarcoating his message of what he wants to do in terms of having that success, any means necessary to get it.
HARRIS: His racy and violent lyrics push the boundaries of good taste, but with upwards of 15 million albums sold, he's proving that he knows what fans want.
50 CENT: I try to be as sexy as I can possibly be without being obscene or disrespectful. CASTRO: This guy has incredible credibility and staying power, in not -- forget about rap community, just the music community. And he would not be this popular if you also didn't have a whole bunch of white kids in suburban areas buying this record and thinking, this guy's the coolest guy in the world.
HARRIS: Coolest guy in the world? Maybe. But there was a time not so long ago when record labels wanted nothing to do with him.
In 1999, the rapper had signed a deal with Columbia Records. But demons from his former life as a drug dealer caught up with him in a blaze of gunfire outside his grandmother's house in New York. Shot a staggering nine times, he was rushed to the hospital. 50 Cent later dramatized the event in one of his music videos. But it nearly ended his life and his music career. When Columbia Records heard what happened to its newest artist, the label dropped him immediately.
50 CENT: When I got shot, they were scared to death, man. Because they heard all the things that I said on the records. And then people began to confirm it for them. And then they were like, wow, like, OK, we're not going to deal with this. You know? It's easier to just walk away from it.
HARRIS: The 24-year-old hadn't even gotten a chance to release a record, and he saw his dreams disappearing before his eyes.
50 CENT: I remember being confused, like what am I going to do with my life, like what am I going to do, period? And that was the most painful portion of that situation. If I couldn't make music, I was going to be back on the street. So that's the only other thing I know how to provide for myself outside of that. I never filled out a job application in my life.
HARRIS: After weighing his meager options, 50 Cent decided not to give up on the music business, only this time he would have to go a nontraditional route, releasing his songs directly on the inner city streets, through mixed tapes, cassettes and CDs produced by local deejays.
Eminem, himself a rapper known for bold, controversial lyrics, heard the underground songs and introduced the novice to legendary producer Dr. Dre. The two of them went on to produce 50 Cent's debut, "Get Rich or Die Tryin'." The record was a smash hit. With anthems like "In the Club" and "P.I.M.P.," it skyrocketed to number one in its first week on the charts, and went on to sell more than 11 million copies.
50 Cent felt vindicated.
VALDES: He recognized that there was an appeal in just being true to who he was, because there's so many kids out there who have gone through the same thing, who have gone through the same struggles. And I think for him, he just sort of saw that there was a sort of opening there, a niche for someone just to come out and be so unapologetic about his background, that I think that's what -- that's the reason why he's so successful. HARRIS: And like most modern-day superstars, the man became a brand. One that would translate into millions of dollars.
JIMMY IOVINE, CEO, INTERSCOPE RECORDS: I think he's one of the best marketing people to ever -- like, since Madonna. I think he's one of the best marketing people to ever hit the record business.
HARRIS: In 2004, the unlikely corporate pitchman made $20 million just from sales of his G-Unit sneaker line with Reebok. He also started a popular clothing line, and a record label that has turned several of his long-time friends into fellow platinum-selling artists.
50 CENT: Yeah, I make more money outside of music than I do off of my actual music. You know, and that's because I take advantage of the opportunities that are opening up for me. And I'm moving forward at a pace that they haven't seen.
HARRIS: 50 Cent's success didn't just bring cash. It also brought conflict that sometimes spilled over from the airwaves onto the streets. He detailed his fight with another platinum rapper, Ja Rule, in the song "Wanksta."
VALDES: What happens when you come from nothing, the only thing you have is your respect. That's sort of, you know, what you live and stand by. And anytime someone questions that, whether they criticize your music or criticize your, you know, way of life or your dress or whatever, it becomes this sort of battle, so to speak, where people feel like they have to defend themselves.
HARRIS: Earlier this year, right before the release of 50 Cent's sophomore album, "The Massacre," he got into another public spat with his newest rap protege, The Game. The war of words culminated in shots being fired outside a popular New York radio station.
CASTRO: Right after this whole incident and the flying bullets and all of, you know, all the trash talking, one album sold like over a million units. So you have to wonder, and a lot of people do, was this all a ploy? Was it all fake?
HARRIS: Publicity ploy or not, "The Massacre" went straight to number one and broke a SoundScan record by selling one million plus copies in its first four days.
Despite his overwhelming success on and off the charts, 50 Cent promises not to turn his back on what enabled him to go from selling drugs to selling his own multi-million dollar brand.
50 CENT: Music is definitely my priority. Because without the music, I wouldn't be able to do any of the other things. I wouldn't generate the interest that allows me to do business for RBK. Wouldn't be able to do G-Unit clothing. I wouldn't be able to do Glaceau vitamin water, or anything. G-Unit watches. I got on G-Unit drawers right now. It's serious, it's that serious right now for me. And I don't want to try to sell anything that isn't the best possible product. And I can vouch, these drawers feel good. (END VIDEOTAPE)
ZAHN: Tony Harris reporting. 50 Cent makes his movie debut this fall in "Get Rich or Die Tryin'."
Coming up, a man who has been censored more times than 50 Cent because he's been around a whole lot longer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD STERN, DISC JOCKEY: I said what I said, and nobody else has to apologize for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: So, how did Howard Stern get to be so outrageous? It's a fascinating story you probably never heard before. We'll be right back with more.
ZAHN: So, do you have any idea how long Howard Stern's very first radio show lasted? It was way back in college. He's come a long way since then. We're going to get to the answers in a little bit. Right now, though, at 20 minutes before the hour, time for another update of top stories from Erica Hill of HEADLINE NEWS.
HILL: Thanks, Paula.
After days of fear, residents of London may be breathing easier tonight. Sources close to the investigation tell CNN the four men suspected of planting failed bombs on London's transit systems last week are in custody tonight. Two of the suspects were caught in a dramatic raid on a west London apartment building. They're the ones on the balcony with their shirts off. Italian police today arrested the third suspect in Rome just hours after his arrival there. A fourth suspect was taken into custody on Wednesday.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is breaking with President Bush, voicing his support for increased federal funding of stem cell research. Frist's change of heart could have a significant impact on the fate of legislation that would free up some 400,000 embryos for research. President Bush had placed strict limits on the federal funding of stem cell research, citing moral opposition to the destruction of embryos.
Also on Capitol Hill, the House passed $286 billion highway and mass transit bill. It provides new money for roads, bridges and trains all across the country. It is also expected to create tens of thousands of new jobs.
And just hours ago, the Senate is voting to shield the firearms industry from lawsuits brought by the victims of gun crimes. Supporters say the bill protects the industry from financial disaster caused by damage awards in lawsuits. Opponents argue the legislation is just political payback to the National Rifle Association. And surviving victims of another Boy Scout tragedy are at a California hospital tonight. Lightning struck a group of Boy Scouts taking shelter from a storm in California's Sequoia National Park. A troop leader was killed, a 13-year-old boy left brain dead. Six others were injured. Earlier this week, four adult scout leaders were electrocuted while putting up a tent at the National Scout Jamboree in Virginia.
And Paula, that's going to do it for us at Headline News at this hour. We'll hand it back over to you. Have a great weekend.
ZAHN: You, too Erica. Thanks so much.
Well, there's no middle ground about our next rogue and renegade. You either love him, Howard Stern, or you hate him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has scraped the bottom of a barrel, and he kind of sits there. It's pathetic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: If he's so pathetic, how is he able to rake in millions of dollars every year and get millions of people to tune into him every day? That's next.
ZAHN: As we continue our evening with some bad boys of entertainment, take this as a warning that our next specialist in outrage may be more than you want your kids to hear. I'm talking about Howard Stern, the original shock jock. And for more than two decades, he's been making millions and millions by pushing the limits of bad taste.
HOWARD STERN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hey, G-man, you're on the air.
ZAHN: This is Howard Stern.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, what's going on, Howard? They're cutting off your show.
ZAHN: Talking on his radio show.
STERN: Are they bleeping?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're cutting it all up.
STERN: I don't know why. I didn't do anything wrong?
ZAHN: Listen closer, what do you hear? Do you hear one of the most influential voices in the history of radio?
RICHARD ROEPER, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: He's funny. He's smart. And he says a lot of things on the radio that most people just think but don't have the guts to say.
STERN: Maybe you're made at me.
ZAHN: Do you here a so-called shock jock, outrageous and offensive?
STERN: Breast implants, girls? No. Well, hello.
L. BRENT BOZELL III, PRESIDENT, PARENTS TELEVISION COUNCIL: He has scraped the bottom of the barrel. And he just kind of sit there. It's pathetic.
ZAHN: Or can you hear something else? Something below the surface. An ongoing debate over indecency and the question of free speech.
KEN PAULSON, FIRST AMENDMENT CENTER: Howard Stern is not a hero of the first amendment. He's a very savvy user of the first amendment.
STERN: Something going with the FCC.
ZAHN: For more than two decades, controversy and Howard Stern have been inseparable. He's pushed the limits of what can and can't be said on broadcast radio and racked up plenty of FCC fines in the process. Now, he's rocking the radio world once again, moving his show to satellite in what could be a seismic shift for the radio industry.
STERN: My shows been changed by the government, huge chunk of the show that are removed. I mean, you listen to my show now, it's not what it was ten years ago. They keep chopping it up. They keep hacking it up. Every time the religious right complains about the show, they get their way.
I know that some people find this hard to believe, but we've actually come up with cash this time.
ZAHN: Howard Stern says he's wanted to be on the radio since he was 5 and stuck in traffic with his father.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He remembered seeing how sad and how bored his father looked, listening to the news, sitting in that car in traffic. And it dawned on him, what if somebody had a radio show that made people laugh?
ZAHN: Stern grew up on Long Island in a household where no holds barred conversation was the norm. "People" magazine's Peter Castro interviewed Stern and his family in 1993.
PETER CASTRO, PEOPLE: Within the first 30 seconds, the father was already telling me about the terrible gas problem that little Howard had. And in the next 30 seconds, you had his mother telling us how she used to like giving Howard her underwear, because sometimes, he ran out of his own underwear and he would have to wear heard.
And I thought, are these people putting me on? And then I realized, you know what, no, they're not acting. This is what these people are really like, which explains why he turned out the way he did.
ZAHN: Stern attended Boston University where he met his future wife, Allison. He also got his first radio show which lasted one day.
STERN: And I started to do an outrageous radio show with three other guys. And I got fired on my college radio station. And at some point, my father said to me, why don't you go try to be a straight disk jockey? You've got to learn how to do it straight before you get on and start doing some nutty things. It was good advice. I mean, for a year or two, I played it very straight. It was very stifling.
ZAHN: Stern soon discovered, playing it straight wasn't the right path for him.
STERN: I wasn't going out there and really letting loose. I was worried about image. And I was worried about pleasing my boss. And I even had program directors tell me don't talk to women because you sound weak when you talk to women on the phone. And I was listening to everybody. And I said, that's it, I'm not listening to anybody. I know what I've got to do. And I'm going on the way.
By the end of 1993, I will be in over 200 cities in the United States of America.
ZAHN: A different Stern emerged.
STERN: We have beautiful women here.
ZAHN: He was funny, baudy and offensive.
STERN: We love you Jessica. They're almost nude today.
ZAHN: He spoke whatever was on his mind.
STERN: I'll tell you the truth, I said what I said. And nobody else has to apologize for me.
ZAHN: He even joked about a miscarriage his wife had had, an event dramatized in "Private Parts" a movie based on Stern's autobiographical book.
STERN: Howie Jr., no bigger than the size of an aspirin.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was it a boy?
STERN: It was a boy. Yes, a little tiny...
ZAHN: Stern became known as a so-called shock jock. A label he rejected. STERN: I'm a comedian. These guys, I don't know, they get on, they just -- you know, they go, oh, you're a communist, egg sucking pig. And that's they're style of radio. I'm not into that. So, I don't really attack people, I make fun of situations.
What's your name?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jeff Tanser (ph).
STERN: Jeff Pansy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tanser (ph).
ZAHN: Stern's brand of comedy caught on. In 1982, he reached the top of the radio world. He was hired by NBC in New York.
STERN: Mr. Showbusiness with you, Howard Stern.
MICHAEL HARRISON, EDITOR, "TALKERS" MAGAZINE: And they had a 50,000-watt signal that covered the whole northeast and it had the NBC call letters.
STERN: Three twenty-two at WNBC.
HARRISON: WNBC was a giant prestigious radio station and it was also the establishment.
STERN: The point is that I am the star of the radio station. I have the highest ratings on the station. I own this station.
ZAHN: But Stern's brand of radio didn't mesh with his corporate management. Despite being number one in the ratings, Stern was fired.
STERN: It was the best thing that ever happened to me, getting fire from there and to be honest with you, I really don't even care what happened at NBC. I'm proud to be away from them and it's just great to be out there. The place is a loony bin.
ZAHN: Stern was then hired by a rival station and soon beat WNBC in the ratings.
STERN: Now the ratings are bigger than ever. The station I used to work we've just buried in the ratings. We held a big funeral for them and they're finished.
ZAHN: But it would be just the beginning of Stern's run-ins with the powers that be.
STERN: Well, my career is over!
ZAHN: When the story continues: War over words. Millions-of- dollars in fines, Howard Stern takes on the FCC.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZAHN: And we're back now with more on Howard Stern. His brand of comedy appeals to millions and millions and millions of people, but definitely not everyone. So, here's another heads up, some of what you're about to hear might offend you or may be more than you want the kids to hear at this hour.
Stern, of course, has made plenty of enemies along the way and fought frequent battles with regulators who want to tone him down and he's about to make a major move he hopes will end all of that.
ZAHN: Howard Stern's morning radio show draws millions of listeners every day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Howard rules. He takes the cake of all media.
STERN: The audience never gets tired of me. They love me, don't you? Let me hear the audience. Those are my people.
ZAHN: It in features a mix of topical humor, celebrities and plenty of talk of bodily functions and sex.
STERN: Hey, now.
ZAHN: Lots of sex.
STERN: That's what 18 looks like, huh? Burping and farting still turn me. I still think it's funny. In fact, I have a porno movie waiting for me at the hotel that I'm going to watch and I'm going to be by myself and I'm going to have sex by myself tonight. I am still a child and I'm still excited by those things and that is probably why I'm still successful.
PROF. ROBERT THOMPSON, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: Let's face it, morning radio people are hired to do things that will come this close to getting them fired. It's the job description. They're supposed to do things that so outrageous that every day they are dancing the line between keeping their jobs.
ZAHN: However, has fined stations that carry Stern's show multiple times for millions of time, saying he stepped over the line of outrageousness into indecency.
STERN: Screw everybody.
HARRISON: He's the kind of person that means millions of dollars for the companies that have him. Whenever he gets in trouble, when they have to pay fines, it's worth it, because he brings in so much more money than it costs to have him.
ZAHN: The FCC definition of indecency focuses on language deemed patently offensive by community broadcast standards. However, it leaves plenty of room for interpretation. THOMPSON: What is patently offensive to contemporary community standards? Big city, no way are you going to get any consensus on what contemporary standards are. Small town, probably not. Under the same roof, probably not.
STERN: I'll ask her if she wants to give me a proctological exam.
BOZELL: You look at some of the raunch that's on Howard Stern's radio show, and I challenge you to find me a single community anywhere in America, including the 90210 zip code, that finds it acceptable to have that material.
ZAHN: But Stern has pointed other shows, moat notably, Oprah Winfrey's, saying the same content he deals with can be found there, too.
THOMPSON: Who gets to decide that radio parody, which is essentially what Howard Stern is doing, is somehow an illegitimate form. Where as, sincere confessional self-help, which is what Oprah is doing, is an OK form and that's when this whole thing gets a lot, lot more complicated. doing is an okay form. That's where this gets a lot more complicated.
ZAHN: Right now, those decisions are made by the FCC.
ROEPER: My problem with that is, whether you like Howard Stern or not, it's today they decide that Howard Stern has crossed that line. Tomorrow maybe it's Rush Limbaugh, then the day after that it's another form of programming and you've got all this power in this governing body.
PAULSON: You know, sometimes, the First Amendment debate is not really about the content. It's about holding government to the rules, making sure that government continues to maintain its promise of keeping hands-off free expression. It's not about Howard Stern. It's about James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.
ZAHN: However, Stern won't have to worry about the FCC much longer.
STERN: I am so thrilled about this.
ZAHN: He will move his show from broadcast to satellite radio in January of 2006, when his current contract runs out.
STERN: I have one of the largest radio shows in the world. Whenever I go on my radio show, if I have to sell a book, sell a movie, do anything like that, I can instantly go on and reach millions of people. I'm walking away from that and the reason I'm walking away from that is I believe the future is with satellite radio.
ZAHN: There's another reason for the switch. Satellite radio isn't regulated by the FCC of indecency. So, Stern will have the opportunity to say whatever he wants without fear of government punishment. THOMPSON: The one challenge shock-jocks would have in satellite radio is having no rules to butt up against. They may suddenly find themselves in a situation where the vary thing that animated them in the first place has been taken away.
ZAHN: So listen again to Howard Stern.
STERN: I changed radio when I got into this 20-something years ago, and I'm going to change radio again.
ZAHN: The man who has pushed the limits of indecency and what can and can't be said on the radio is pushing boundaries yet again.
ZAHN: And as we just mentioned, that change won't start until his current contract runs out. As his Web site's countdown clock cheerfully tells all of us, that happens in five months and two days, for those of you counting.
That's it for all of us here tonight. Be sure to join us next week for a special series called "Safe at Home." In the wake of the London bombings, what do we need to change to make a America safer and more secure?
We're going to look at what's being done now and at new high-tech and uncomfortably invasive security systems that may be just around the corner. "Safe at Home." Next week at 8:00 Eastern. You're either going to love what is on the horizon or you're going to find it incredibly invasive.
We hope you all have a really good weekend. Thanks so much for joining us tonight. We'll be back same time, same place Monday night. Larry King starts right now.
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