Who is the King of All Media?

Kevin Kelly


Thanks to my lifetime subscription to Sirius, I’ve been enjoying The History of Howard Stern, Part II over the Holiday break. There’s no doubt that Stern has been on top since the 1980’s and with at least two more years to go on satellite, Howard will continue to hold his audience.

With his radio show, a couple of best sellers, the great “Private Parts” movie and countless TV projects, Stern dubbed himself the “King of All Media” and no one has come along to knock him off the throne.

But, can Vince McMahon be considered a bigger, more impressive King for all he’s done? The WWE Empire or the Stern Empire? Who’s got a bigger crown?

Stern was dubbed a “shock jock” while McMahon has shocked audiences from time to time with his style of television. One way to compare the two is their kingdom and the impact each has on it.

While you can’t compare cable’s universe to satellite’s in size, if Howard Stern left Sirius/XM, I think satellite would be seriously hurt. There’s no one to fill the void. If McMahon left cable, cable would not be affected in the least. Stern IS satellite radio at this point. But again, it’s hard to compare satellite radio to cable TV.

However, Howard’s audience size on satellite is greater than the WWE’s audience on cable and broadcast TV combined. Add the fact that all of Howard’s audience pays to listen. All Hail King Stern!

On pay-per-view, there is no comparison. King Vince wears the crown, despite Howard’s efforts with various specials throughout the years and his current “Howard TV” subscription channel, similar to “WWE 24/7”. If Vince left PPV, the industry would be hurt but if Howard left, little if any effect would be felt.

Books? Howard has two best-sellers while the WWE has dozens. While Vince has yet to write his autobiography, the WWE has told some great stories in print. Throw in the successful WWE magazines and you can add another mark on King Vince’s side of the ledger.

Movies? Vince has released a handful of stinkers while Howard surprised many with his touching bio-pic “Private Parts”. Each piece of WWE cinematic crap stinks worse than the next and their biggest movie star, Dwayne Johnson, doesn’t make films for the company. One good movie is better than a rotten can of tomatoes so Howard Stern wins for film.

Another way to compare the two? Fights with the government… Howard has battled the FCC while Vince fought the Feds. Stern eventually left terrestrial radio for the freedom of satellite so Stern’s FCC fight ended in a no-contest. McMahon got the duke in a controversial decision and was acquitted of any wrong-doing. King Vince gets his hand raised again!

But perhaps the best way to compare the two and settle the argument is to ask this question.

With both men gaining ground on collecting Social Security and since Howard was recently presented with a headstone as a bizarre Christmas gift, it got me thinking…

Who will be best remembered when they are dead?

I would love to hear your thoughts about who the Real “King of All Media” is and who will best be remembered when they are dead. Send me your thoughts at kevinfsu90@yahoo.com.

Next week… some predictions for 2009.

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