The polemic radio personality's two Great White North outlets look to be avoiding further heat for carrying the love-it/hate-it show by pledging to Canadian authorities that, even with Stern on their rosters, they'll adhere to local broadcast standards.
Last week was the deadline for CHOM-FM (the Stern Montreal affiliate) and CILQ-FM (the Toronto station) to respond to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, an advisory board which earlier published an 86-page report on The Howard Stern Show and its "abusive, bigoted, sexist and profane" language.
CILQ-FM promised to "take whatever steps are necessary...to remain in compliance" with the Canadian Broadcasting Act. CHOM-FM, in like, pledged to "carefully monitor the show," and maybe even edit the, er, outspoken host to conform to broadcast standards.
And while CILQ-FM at one point offered to hire a producer to essentially babysit the Stern show, officials at both stations say that, in practice, the show will be the show--and that's the way the majority of their listeners like it.
"Our plan is to keep him," said CILQ-FM program director Pat Cardinal, noting that the Private Parts purveyor has helped power the station from No. 10 to No. 2 in the Toronto morning drive-time race since his September 2 debut.
And in Montreal, E. Lee Hambleton, vice president and general manager of CHOM-FM, says ratings are up (more than 60 percent), and complaints are down. Things have been quiet since Stern's Day 1 rant against Quebec's French-speaking populace. More than 80 percent of complaints that the radio station has received were prompted by Stern's "peckerwoods" remarks, according to Hambleton. (Overall, CHOM-FM's ratings among French-speaking listeners are on the rise--up 4 percent since the summer, thanks to Stern.)
The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, meanwhile, has declared itself pleased with the response by the two stations. But, "this confidence does not in any way mean that the Council has washed its hand of this matter," chair Ron Cohen said, in a statement. "It will continue to apply its procedures to ensure that compliance does in fact occur."