Shock-jock Howard Stern pranks McPherson radio station

McPherson County is once again on the national scene as the butt of a joke.

Last time it was because of my hometown, Canton, Kan., which is in McPherson County, and Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert who took shots at the town for being small and quaint. This was part of a bit where he made fun of various towns throughout the country that were named Canton, starting with Canton, Ga., and then attacking the rest as a way of apologizing to the previously insulted Canton by explaining he “meant” the following Canton.

He had this zinger of an insult:

“I would say we should convert it to a landfill, but that is insulting landfills,” Colbert said of Canton, Kan., during the nearly minute-long piece. “If Dorothy were from Canton, Kansas, she would have wished that the house dropped on her.”

Besides calling the town a s**t hole, he also said this:

“How many Canton, Kansas, residents does it take to screw in a light bulb? None! They don’t use lights because they don’t want to see where they live,” Colbert said.

Even as a Canton native, I found it all quite hilarious. I wrote about it extensively on this blog. Click here for links to the pieces.

Now, though, the attention has been turned away from Canton and focused on the county seat, McPherson.

Notorious shock-jock Howard Stern, who left domestic radio Jan. 9, 2006, for the uncensored Sirius XM satellite radio, prank-called a local radio station a couple weeks ago, and it was hilarious.

McPherson has a radio station. It is called Mid Kansas Radio 96.7 FM and 1540 AM.

The station has been around for years and years, and it has an extensive coverage area that reaches far beyond McPherson County, not to mention its online broadcast offerings.

One of its feature programs is a call-in show called Swap Shop where people can call in during the live broadcast and tell the masses they are selling an item or wanting to purchase an item. Other listeners can then call in and the seller and buyer are united.

Of course, people can also call in to give stuff away or tell people they want to trade something for another item.

It is an interesting show that is very small-town, which I think is great.

Others think it is funny, such as Howard Stern and his cohorts, Sal and Richard.

They called in and had fun with the fact some local woman was trying to give away a New Hampshire Red Rooster.

First they called in a couple times and were asking about the size, color and age of the cock.

The host, Kelsey Walker, hung up on them often.

Then one of them called in saying he had a donkey he wanted to get rid of and said he’d trade his ass for the lady’s cock.

At this point, Station General Manager Joe Johnston called in and got on the line and talked to the show’s host and audience.

“You’re putting up with a bunch of stuff that you don’t need to put up with on Swap Shop,” he said. “In the introduction we talk about using good old common sense. Now’s the time to exhibit that. We’ve had some calls this morning that have just crossed the line and we don’t appreciate it. And that’s all I wanted to say.”

Kelsey agreed and shared her two cents as well.

“And that needs to stop,” she said.

Ouch. She was very callous with that comment, don’t you think?

Stern and his crew laughed heartily about the whole ordeal, especially making fun of the fact that they got lectured.

Having your hometown or the area you grew up in be the butt of a joke might offend some people, but it doesn’t bother me.

I think it is great because at least people know those parts of the world exist.

Everyone just needs to grow thicker skin.

Besides, in both cases, the jokes were funny and clever.

Colbert took the little nuances of Canton, Kan., and turned them into hilarious jokes. Of the same token, Stern’s boys took an actual caller’s comments and turned it around on the entire show.

Comedy isn’t easy to pull off. It takes skills to do it right.

And as for the negative attention some might view the two comedic attacks as, I say that is nonsense.

There is no such thing as bad publicity.

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About toddvogts 839 Articles
Todd R. Vogts, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of media at Sterling College in Kansas. Previously, he taught yearbook, newspaper, newsmagazine, and online journalism in various Kansas high schools, and he ran a weekly newspaper in rural Kansas. He continues to freelance as a professional journalist from time to time. Also, Vogts is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the Journalism Education Association (JEA), and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), among others. He earned his Master Journalism Educator (MJE) certification from JEA in 2022. When he’s not teaching or writing, he runs his mobile disk jockey service and takes part in other entrepreneurial ventures. He can be reached at or via his website at


  1. I have been long term listener of Howard Stern. This bit of calling in to swap shops around the US is very funny. I think it is just about the funniest prank phone calls ever.

  2. Funny or not, it seems to me that the prank phone calls made by the Howard Stern show violate both state and federal telecommunications laws. These calls are made with the exclusive purpose of annoying, provoking or making fun of the person called. This is illegal. Because they are not intended to communicate any actual information they are not protected by the first amendment. Not only that but many of the calls to individuals contain obscenities- another violation – and so do some of these are broadcast over “terrestrial” radio or TV. Each call is a criminal violation. When you look at the volume of calls this becomes a felony. Because they are made by employees of Sirius/XM with full knowledge of the company everyone involved, from Howard Stern to Mel Karmazin are guilty of a felony conspiracy.

    I am not exaggerating. I’ve looked up the law and using the telephone to harass people, especially when obscenities are involved, is clearly a violation. A complaint to the FCC could certainly be made – but even more serious would be one made to a federal attorney. This issue could potentially destroy Sirius/XM as a business. The NAB was so intent on opposing the merger of the two companies I wonder that they never decided to pursue this. Perhaps it’s because so many member stations are involved in similar activities.

    Here’s a legal reference:—-000-.html

  3. Of course Todd Vogts would think this was funny and that people around here should grow thicker skins. After all, we are just a bunch of hicks around here, right Todd? This is the same Todd Vogts that wrote a story for the McPherson Sentinel concerning the trial of a local teacher accused of sexual relations with a student. Let me tell you, there was nothing held back as Todd went on and on and on, explicitly documenting every detail of the testimony by the teenager. Her parents were not in the courtroom, by choice, but Todd felt it his journalistic duty to report every detail; just in case they might want to read about it in the newspaper. Laugh it up Todd! You need to grow up a little first; get some life experiences under your belt. Then we will see how you would feel if were your daughter, or sister.

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