Mock funeral for rivals stirs up Stern sentiment

An overflow crowd turned out yesterday as radio shock jock Howard Stern celebrated his ratings triumph over cross-town rivals Mark Thompson and Brian Phelps by staging a mock funeral, forcing several streets and nearby freeway off-ramps to close.

Police estimated 25,000 fans gathered in the area surrounding the Palace on Vine Street, where Stern held a press conference.

The fans spilled from inside the theater and its nearby parking lot onto rooftops and into the streets, causing police to close Vine and call out riot-gear-equipped officers for crowd control.

The police arrived shortly after 7:30 a.m., when fans began clogging Vine, prompting officials to close the street between Hollywood Boulevard and the 101 Freeway. The freeway’s Vine Street off-ramp was also shut down.

Protesters from several Filipino-American groups, objecting to some of Stern’s comments about Filipinos (Daily Variety, Nov. 18), demonstrated outside the event, causing clashes between fans leaving the event and demonstrators trying to get in.

A brief scuffle between the fans and the anti-Stern protesters resulted in one arrest, but there were no injuries.

The event was used to signify Stern’s ratings lead in L.A. morning drive time and brought listeners from as far away as Orange County. The mock funeral, which was previously used in Philadelphia to celebrate a similar triumph, was organized by L.A. station KLSX.

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