After 28 years of trying, local gynecologist Gary Glasser finally got his fifteen minutes of fame on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM radio show on June 20.
“Stern and his coworkers (both on-microphone and behind the scenes) are crass, rude and make fun of everything,” said Glasser, a lifelong Stern fan. “No one is safe. It’s insult comedy that would have made Don Rickles blush. I meet the show’s criteria to be a superfan. If you recognize inane lines like ‘Hit ‘um with the Hein,’ ‘Baba Booey’ and ‘hey now,’ then you are smiling now and are a superfan.”
Glasser, who has been commuting to Athens for work at the UGA Student Health Center since 1994 — three hours, roundtrip — says that the show makes him laugh. His wife, Adele, also qualifies as a superfan.
Stern, 68, who is Jewish (his Hebrew school nickname was “Zvi”) and originally from Jackson Heights, N.Y., became nationally syndicated in 1986 (though not in some “more mannered” states like Georgia). Known for his mop of hair and 6’ 4” stature, Stern became the most fined radio host in history by the FCC, who levied $2.5 million against his indecencies. He has produced two books on the New York Times Best Seller list and commands a $90,000,000 salary.
Glasser’s “Howard history” began when, as a young man, he discovered Stern while visiting his parents in Orlando. Being devoted Jewish parents, they made 90-minute cassette tapes of the daily show and mailed them to Gary each week. They stopped taping in 2006, after 12 years, when Glasser could finally get the show on his own radio.
“Now that is true parental love,” he said. “My father didn’t even like the show, but Mom did.” Glasser’s father, Robert Glasser, died in 2017. At 85, his mom, Doris, remains a devoted fan.
Over the years, Glasser has heard thousands of callers and studied what makes a successful call-in: “Don’t use a speaker phone, speak articulately, succinctly, only about the topic that you mentioned to the screening intern, leave the humor to the professionals and don’t interrupt Howard when he is talking to Robin Quivers [co-host].”
On Monday, June 20, Glasser was driving and listening when Stern mentioned his distaste for the harmonica. Glasser immediately thought of Stevie Wonder and his brilliant harmonica, featured in songs beginning in the 1960s. “I called Howard at 1.800.STERNSHOW,” Glasser related, “and got a busy signal (like every one of the thousands of times I have over the past three decades) … but this time an intern picked right up and said, ‘Stern Show, what do you want to talk about?’
“I mentioned my comments about Stevie Wonder and the intern said, ‘Okay, hold.’ I couldn’t believe it! Dayenu. I got off the speaker and pulled into a parking lot to not be driving while holding a phone. I knew I could be on hold for a while or never get picked up. Then, 30 seconds later, Howard said, ‘Yes, Gary from Georgia.’ Couldn’t have been happier if the person on the other end said, ‘This is the President.’ I gave an obligatory ‘Hey now’ and told Howard that Wonder was a master in his craft on the harmonica — no mumbling, clear reception from my phone — I was radio gold,” he said.
“Howard spoke about how wonderful Stevie Wonder is — but it didn’t change his mind. He made a few jokes to Robin and I laughed, just softly enough to hear but not interrupt the flow of their conversation. I was ready for all questions.”
Glasser knew that if Stern found out he was a gynecologist, the conversation could rapidly turn “off-color.” After some preliminary chit chat, Stern thanked Glasser for the call.
Kvelling later, the gynecologist said, “Friends from all over listened to Howard that day and contacted me — my mother was so excited that Howard was kind and respectful to me. My kids, for a nanosecond, actually thought their father was cool. In my professional life, I’ve delivered over 4,000 babies, written book chapters and published in peer-reviewed journals, given talks at national conventions, but will be most praised by my peers and family as someone who once spoke to Howard Stern. Nu, es ken zeyn erger — well, it could be worse.”