A genteel interview of FCC Chairman Michael Powell on a morning radio talk show turned into an impromptu debate between the Commissioner and a "testy" caller by the name of Howard Stern.
Powell reportedly didn't want live calls but was convinced by the show's host who claims he had no idea that Stern would call. Whoops.
But host Ronn Owens is no amateur. Despite the fact that Powell was blindsided and uncomfortable, he actually nixed three commercials to let the two spar: "I know when it's good radio, so I let them go back and forth.''
After accusing Powell of only being Chairman because of his father's connections, Stern alleged that not only are FCC rules "dangerous to free speech" but that they're unequally applied.
He pointed to a pending investigation of an Oprah Winfrey show that few believe will elicit much of a response – certainly not anything close to what Stern's received. "You're telling me I'm guilty of saying something (indecent) and Oprah isn't, and I wish you'd address that.''
Stern then accused Powell of having said that Oprah will be treated differently because she's beloved, which Powell denies having said. A quick search reveals a Hollywood Reporter article from April, which states: "While Powell defended the commission's evenhandedness, commission aides admitted that Winfrey is probably untouchable. It's more difficult to fine a beloved figure like her than to go after lightning rod like Stern." source Colin Powell defends his son