When it comes to the National Radio Hall of Fame, will the fourth time finally be the charm for Howard Stern? And if he does get voted in, will the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" even bother to show up for the honor?
Those were among the first questions that leaped to mind Tuesday when the Chicago-based Radio Hall of Fame announced its 2010 list of nominees. Stern, who's been nominated three times before, is competing this year in the "national active" category with Carl Kasell, retired news anchor on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" and official judge and scorekeeper on "Wait, Wait . . .‚ Don't Tell Me!" (produced by Chicago Public Radio and NPR); Bob Brinker, host of the syndicated "Money Talk"; and Bob Kingsley, host of the syndicated "Country Top 40."
While Stern has been merciless over the years in mocking the Radio Hall of Fame (and officials of the Museum of Broadcast Communications who oversee its administration), fans long have been rankled by the conspicuous exclusion of Stern from a shrine supposedly dedicated to "recognizing and showcasing contemporary talent from today's diverse programming formats, as well as the pioneers who shaped the medium during its infancy." Since its inception, the Hall of Fame has inducted more than 165 broadcasters and programs.
In fact, the announcement of this year's nominees was moved up by several weeks after one of Stern's fans, acting on the pleas of actor David Arquette, started a Facebook page last Friday called "Howard Stern for the Radio Hall of Fame." Although the list of nominees had already been ratified by the 23-member steering committee, Hall of Fame chairman Bruce DuMont said Tuesday the committee did not want it to appear as if they were reacting to outside pressure.
Soon it will be in the hands of those fans -- and anyone else who cares -- to decide whether Stern gets in after all. Online voting, which is free and open to the public, will run from June 14 to Aug. 1 at radiohof.org. Winners will be inducted Nov. 6 during a live national broadcast from Chicago. If Stern wins and doesn't show up, DuMont said, he'll still be inducted. No matter what, that should be quite a night.
Among nominees with connections to Chicago are: Steve Dahl, the trailblazing comedy/talk personality, in the "local or regional pioneer" category; Terri Hemmert, the 37-year veteran of adult rock WXRT-FM (93.1), in the "local or regional active" category; and "WLS National Barn Dance," the famed country music hoedown that began in 1924, in the "national pioneer" category.
It's Dahl's third time up for the honor -- and the first since he was taken off terrestrial radio and began daily podcasting from his home. After his second snub in 2008, Dahl told listeners that he was so upset about losing to Scott Shannon in 2006 that he didn't think he could take losing again.
Radio Hall of Fame rules previously permitted would-be inductees only five chances to get in. Since voting was opened to the public three years ago, the rules were modified to allow additional opportunities for induction.