There’s no boundary to Howard Stern’s raunch, said his producer, Doug Goodstein – especially now that he’s off the traditional TV and radio airwaves.
“There’s no limit, it’s uncensored,” said Goodstein, of Howard TV On Demand, the radio personality’s iN Demand endeavor to replace his stint on the E! network. “I think the noose has been let loose. We can get riskier with the guests. We could barely talk about certain things on the show before.”
“Such as a sex machine. We have girls come on the show and demonstrate the orgasm machine. We could barely even say ‘vibrating orgasm machine’ on terrestrial radio.”
This is Howard Stern he’s talking about – the self-proclaimed “King of All Media” and among the most fined radio personalities in the history of media – so an orgasm machine is just part of a day’s work.
Goodstein, who will speak to students in the SMPA’s Celebrity Journalism class this evening at 8 p.m., is executive producer of Stern’s new network, as well as the producer of all 2.300 episodes of the Howard Stern Show on E!. The shock jock used to be accessible to the general public, but now that his radio show has moved to Sirius and his TV show to iN Demand, fans of his usually-offensive brand of humor must pay to hear him – a situation which has pros and cons, according to Goodstein.
“It’s a catch-22 – both are pay services, but it’s retained Howard’s audience and given them the show the way it was meant to be,” said Goodstein. “You can’t do what we do on TV or radio because of the FCC regulations.”
Though his title suggests that he’s a behind-the-scenes guy, Goodstein has appeared on many episodes of the show, often as a target of Stern’s humor.
“There have been a few times where things behind the scenes show up on the air,” said Goodstein. “When you take a hit, it sucks. It’s hard to argue with him. I don’t know if people really care about my personal life, but I took a beating on the air when I got engaged.”
Because of his involvement with the Stern show, Goodstein also had a small role in a movie. “Supertwink,” a film about a gay superhero, was produced by Stern, who, with Goodstein, thinks of the film as an embarrassment.
“It was the worst movie ever made in the history of movies,” he said. “It’s an embarrassment to even call it a movie. When it was all said and done, it was a disaster. It wasn’t a proud moment in my career.”
Goodstein started out as a journalist, working for ABC news. He soon changed course after he realized the hard news environment wasn’t for him. “Most people work their whole lives to get there, but I realized quickly that I wasn’t having any fun,” said Goodstein. “It was corporate and stodgy and boring, and it wasn’t my calling.” He sent out his resume to dozens of channels, landing the gig on E!.
Throughout the years, some of Goodstein’s favorite characters to appear on the show were members of the Wack Pack – a regular group of freak-show-esque guests that included characters named Jeff the Drunk, Beetlejuice and Bigfoot. The celebrity guests, however, were just as compelling.
“Howard gets incredible interviews,” said Goodstein. “People let out their dirty laundry, they talk about their personal life or their sex life or their friends’ sex lives. He makes people not even realize they’re on the air.”
An example of this, said Goodstein, was a recent interview with David Arquette.
“[Arquette] revealed that Jennifer Aniston wasn’t as upset about her breakup with Brad Pitt as the media made out. It got picked up by the mainstream press.”
Though Stern’s been fined several times by the FCC, Goodstein said he’s not worried about any lawsuits.
“We take extreme measures to cover ourselves, and we have a release that guests sign that’s ironclad,” he said. “If someone reveals too much, we can just edit it out.”
Off the air, Stern is a different person, said Goodstein.
“He’s actually a woman,” he kidded. “He’s got a persona on the air that’s the Howard most people know, but off-air he’s a normal guy.”
As for Goodstein’s off-air life, his parents and wife are big fans of the show, despite the risqu? scenarios that are a part of day-to-day filming.
“My wife knows the innerworkings of the show after all these years, and she lets me do what I want,” said Goldstein. “If there’s a naked girl on the air, and I have to do something with her for the bit, she doesn’t care,” he laughed. “It’s a tough job.”