BY 1997, radio rebel Howard Stern, then 43, was already the self-proclaimed “King of All Media.” Paramount Pictures’ release of Private Parts, a biopic in which he starred, made the boast closer to the truth and pushed Stern from pop culture’s fringe to its mainstream.
Based on Stern’s best-selling 1993 memoir, Private Parts finished atop the U.S. box office in its opening weekend, March 7-9, 1997, earning $14.6 million (and $41.2 million to date, according to Box Office Mojo). Its dominance quickly extended to the Billboard 200, as the movie’s soundtrack debuted at No. 1 on the chart dated March 15, 1997. It sold 178,000 copies in week one and 562,000 to date, according to Nielsen Music.
The album includes AC/DC, Cheap Trick and Van Halen, along with Stern’s performances of “The Great American Nightmare” (with Rob Zombie) and “Tortured Man” (with The Dust Brothers), which now serve, respectively, as his radio show’s opening and closing theme songs. In 2005, Stern left terrestrial radio to join what is now SiriusXM satellite radio. Its initial 400,000 subscribers have since grown to more than 27 million, in large part because of his appeal, and in 2010, Stern re-signed with SiriusXM for an estimated $80 million per year. In his most family-friendly turn yet, he became a judge on NBC’s America’s Got Talent TV competition in 2012 for a reported $15 million a season.
Stern’s contract with SiriusXM expires at the end of 2015, but in 2014 he told Billboard, “There’s no reason to [leave]. This is my dream. I feel like we’ve created a new home for broadcasters. I’m doing radio the way I wanted to as a little kid.”