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FCC rules that Howard Stern is a newsman. That means he's free to book candidate Schwarzenegger without worrying about equal-time rules

Howard Stern | BOW TO STERN He's also a newsman, you know
Image credit: Howard Stern: NY Photo Press/Newscom
BOW TO STERN He's also a newsman, you know

If you have breakfast with Howard Stern every morning, in between the sound bites about breast size and lesbians, you're actually getting some nutrition. According to a Federal Communications Commission ruling issued Tuesday, Stern's morning raunchfest is a ''bona fide news interview'' show. The ruling means that Stern's show is exempt from equal-time statutes, allowing him to book celebrity California governor's-race candidates like Arnold Schwarzenegger without giving equal air time to all 134 competitors.

The ruling came at the request of Infinity Broadcasting, the Stern show's syndicator. Stern has wanted for weeks to book candidates Schwarzenegger and Mary Carey, the porn actress, Reuters reports. Citing a precedent that exempted Phil Donahue's daytime talk show in 1984, the FCC ruled that Stern's show qualifies as news programming because it's regularly scheduled and books guests based on newsworthiness without looking to advance any individual candidate.

Not thrilled with the ruling is the Media Access Project, a media watchdog group that plans to appeal the FCC decision. ''Howard Stern isn't 'bona fide' anything,'' Media Access president Andrew Schwartzman told the Associated Press, adding that the FCC was mocking the system by equating Stern with, say, Tim Russert of NBC's ''Meet the Press.'' ''When guests are selected by the size of their bust, it is not bona fide news programming,'' Schwartman told Reuters.

Originally posted Sep 10, 2003
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