Zap2it: You can be biting and have no compunctions about speaking your mind, yet you are very gentle with the people auditioning for “America’s Got Talent.” Why?
Howard Stern: You can provoke people to just be mean. Over the last two seasons, it has been so accepting. They know they are safe here. We change people’s careers — Collins Key opening for Demi Lovato.
Zap2it: It makes perfect sense for those with talent, but why do you let some people go on when there’s no obvious talent?
Howard Stern: You want to see where it goes. Howie [Mandel] and I have a debate. If you find a Tiny Tim, a loveable kook — he was amazing. It’s the nuance.
Zap2it: There are a lot of strange, fun, weird acts. Does that remain fun for you?
Howard Stern: Where else could you go? We are like a beacon of light. Where do these people go? “The Gong Show” never took the talent seriously. This is network TV. This will survive that format because of variety.
Zap2it: Have you considered being a judge on other shows?
Howard Stern: I would be bored on a show because how many times can you listen to a singer?
Zap2it: Have you changed as a judge?
Howard Stern: Now I am really relaxed judging. I give constructive criticism. You want to make sure you are encouraging. Most people are very serious. You don’t want to humiliate acts.
Zap2it: How does shooting some of the show at Radio City Music Hall make a difference?
Howard Stern: Radio City just matters. It makes it more important.