Infinity pays Stern price for spiteful move

There's no easy explanation for why a profane loudmouth with an eight-pound nose and an obsession with flatulence should be perpetually smiled upon by the PR gods the way Howard Stern is.

There's no easy explanation for why a profane loudmouth with an eight-pound nose and an obsession with flatulence should be perpetually smiled upon by the PR gods the way Howard Stern is.

Maybe it has something to do with the enemies he picks; clearly they're not too sharp.

The fact that Stern is moving his show to Sirius satellite radio is so well-known by now you'd think it was Dick Cheney's job to keep it a secret. And everyone's heard the reason why, too: He just wants a safe place to humiliate women and little people without the FCC getting all cranky about it.

But on the off chance there's someone left in the US who had not heard about Stern's move, his current boss, Infinity Broadcasting, took pains last week to get the word out for him.

Infinity took the highly rated shock jock off the air last Tuesday to punish him for spending too much time on its airwaves promoting his new Sirius show. And it would have been a really smart move had it been orchestrated by Sirius. Or Stern.

Unfortunately for the folks at Infinity, it was their idea. And what did it accomplish? First, it spawned lots of coverage in outlets like CNN and the Drudge Report, all of which reminded the world that Stern would soon have a new show on Sirius. Also it likely led to lower ratings for Infinity stations on Tuesday, when Stern's usually live show was replaced with past clips.

We understand the need to punish insolent employees, and Stern is no doubt a huge thorn in the sides of those who sign his checks. But cutting off your nose to spite your face is never a good idea. Particularly when it's the biggest one in town.

Rating:

1. Clueless
2. Ill-advised
3. On the right track
4. Savvy
5. Ingenious

  • Douglas Quenqua writes PR Play of the Week. He is PRWeek's news editor.

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