04/06/1995

En español

Selena's public outraged

Shock jock Howard Stern's comments hit raw nerve

By STEFANIE ASIN
R.A. DYER
Copyright 1995 Houston Chronicle

Controversial deejay Howard Stern, widely known for his tasteless humor, has really hit a nerve this time. He picked on slain Tejano music superstar Selena and outraged Hispanic communities around the state -- including Houston, where his radio show isn't even aired.

Hundreds of Selena fans called local radio stations Wednesday to vent their anger after hearing about Stern's ridicule and how he played Selena's music -- with the sound of gunfire.

City leaders showed anger at the City Council meeting, and a local state representative publicly condemned Stern's remarks.

On Monday, the day Selena was buried in Corpus Christi, Stern and a colleague on his show used Hispanic accents to make fun of Selena and her fans.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported he said: "This music does absolutely nothing for me. Alvin and the Chipmunks have more soul ... Spanish people have the worst taste in music. They have no depth."

The newspaper also said Stern poked fun at mourners weeping for Selena, shot to death at a Corpus Christi motel Friday. More than 20,000 fans viewed her casket in Corpus Sunday and hundreds wept at a memorial service in Houston.

Stern's nationwide show is heard on KEGL-FM in Dallas, where Hispanic leaders started the battle cry. They threatened to boycott businesses that advertise on the show, and are considering complaining to the Federal Communications Commission.

As word spread in Houston about Stern's show, Hispanic leaders and music lovers also spoke out.

Councilman Ben Reyes urged those at Wednesday's council meeting to be outraged because of what Selena meant to young children.

"Mayor, I have not shed tears since I left Vietnam," Reyes said, "but this hurts me so much. This pains my heart, because good people in Houston, Texas, and all over this country and all over this world have done so much to heal the wounds. For this one sick individual to even utter these comments brings tears to my eyes and pain to my heart."

Tatcho Mindiola, director of Mexican-American Studies at the University of Houston, received numerous calls from angry Hispanics.

"Mr. Stern has violated a very strong norm in our community, and that is the norm of respect," Mindiola said. "He has turned a sense of grief into violent rage against him."

Houstonians also jammed the phone lines at the popular Super Tejano 108 FM radio station. Morning radio personality Bo Corona called Stern to complain, and Stern instantly put him on the air. The two argued about the Selena remarks, generating hundreds of calls to the station. Corona said he received about 200 calls every half-hour.

"He (Stern) has no clue about what he just did to the Hispanic community," Corona said. "I let him know what she meant to the Tejano market. It's just making us come together more.

"I wish something could happen. The only way you can hurt Howard Stern is if he loses ratings off each radio station."

Stern has hurt the Hispanic community by his show of disrespect, said state Rep. Diana Davila, D-Houston.

"Howard Stern has gone beyond his discourteous and uncivil nature, and has begun to perpetuate a terrible disrespect for our community, the family of Selena and the young people in our community to which she performed a great service and acted as an immense source of inspiration to succeed," Davila said.

New York-based Stern is expected to make a public statement today about his Selena show. His agent, Don Buchwald, told the Star-Telegram he had no comment beyond saying, "Insofar as his philosophy is concerned, I know him as a terrifically kind and concerned person."


Back to HCI Home Page