NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t

Howard Stern REVISED

Illustration by DREW FRIEDMAN

FRESH AIR: Looking back on his early career, Howard Stern remembers being “petrified” that he wasn’t going to be able to make a living. “All the sexual antics, the religious antics, the race antics — everything that I talked about, every outrageous thing that I did — was to entertain my audience and grow my audience,” he says. “Whether you liked it or not, or the person down the street liked it or not — I didn’t care as long as I kept growing that audience.”

Stern ultimately grew an audience of millions over a four-decade career, first on terrestrial radio and now on satellite radio. At 65, Stern says he’s not the raunchy shock jock he once was. “If I hadn’t grown and evolved and changed … I don’t know that I could still be on the radio,” he admits. Stern’s new book, Howard Stern Comes Again, is a collection of some of his most memorable interviews with celebrity guests, including Madonna, Mike Tyson, Jerry Seinfeld, Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump.

With two years left in his contract at SiriusXM, Stern says he’s not sure what’s next for him. “I’m kind of afraid of retirement,” he says. “It’s like on any given day I don’t know — and this disturbs me that I don’t know myself well enough. … I don’t really know what it is I want, and what I want to do.” For now, Stern is the happiest he’s ever been in radio: “I think where I’m at now is the perfect place,” he says. MORE