June 18, 1984: Alan Berg Murdered

On this day in 1984, provocative radio talk show host Alan Berg was shot and killed by white supremacists in the driveway of his Denver home. His senseless murder resonated in talk radio and pop culture and the story is still shocking today.

Alan BergOn this day in 1984, provocative radio talk show host Alan Berg was shot and killed by white supremacists in the driveway of his Denver home.  His senseless murder resonated in talk radio and pop culture and the story is still shocking today.

Liberal and outspoken, Berg began broadcasting at Denver’s KOA at a time when radio talk show hosts were becoming brasher and more confrontational. In early 1984, Berg rightfully called out members of the Christian Identity movement for their belief that Jews descended from Satan. At the time, Berg’s show was syndicated in 30 states.

The exchange placed Berg, who was also Jewish, high on the “kill list” of The Order, a white supremacist splinter group of the Aryan Nation. Formed in 1983, The Order began fulfilling its mission of separation of the races and annihilation of the Jewish people through robbery, but graduated to murder with Berg’s heinous execution.

Five members of The Order whose names aren’t even worth mentioning were believed to be involved in the crime, but Denver District Attorney Norm Early did not have enough evidence to prosecute them for murder.  So federal prosecutors took over and convicted two members of civil rights violations in connection with Berg’s murder. Two more were convicted of other federal charges while another, the co-founder of The Order, was killed in a shootout with FBI agents in December of 1984.

Berg’s death was the inspiration for the play, “God’s Country,” as well as “Talk Radio,” a gem of a movie based on Eric Bogosian’s play that Oliver Stone made between “Wall Street” and “Born on the Fourth of July.” Sadly, it was also the inspiration for “Betrayed,” one of the most obnoxiously bad films about racism ever made.

Those who wish to learn more about Berg should check out “Talked to Death: The Life and Murder of Alan Berg” by Stephen Singular.

January 9, 2006: Howard Stern Debuts on Sirius

On this day in 2006, Howard Stern debuted on Sirius, ending his 20-year run at WXRK (K-Rock) and taking satellite radio to a new a level.

On this day in 2006, Howard Stern debuted on Sirius, ending his 20-year run at WXRK (K-Rock) and taking Howard Sternsatellite radio to a new a level.

According to USA Today, technical glitches delayed Stern’s debut by 20 minutes (music was played during the delay), but then Stern appeared and quickly found his groove. The hoopla surrounding his move to a radio station not regulated by the Federal Communications Commission was whether he would use profanity like a guest on The Jerry Springer Show. However, Stern was tame compared to expectations, but he and his team did use 172 swear words throughout the four-hour broadcast.

Seven years later, Stern, his cast, crew and interviewees use the f-word and others as they please and it makes for a better show and interviews with celebrities. The self-proclaimed “King of All Media” has said that he has tried to create a show that is similar to friends chatting in a bar and people cuss when they’re having frank conversations in bars.

While Stern and Sirius disagree on how just many listeners he brought to the Sirius, both concur that his move added at least two million subscribers.