Yahoo! executives on Wednesday publicly admitted that they had no idea who Steve Langford is, scratching their collective heads as they tried to determine the identity of a man already to known to millions of fans across the country as Howard Stern’s former right-hand news man and key member of the Howard 100 News team.
For the search engine that bills itself as the place to go when you need to know anything, Yahoo! on Wednesday became known to millions of Howard Stern fans as ‘the little search engine that couldn’t’ after a South Florida-based production company pitched a new TV show to Yahoo! Studios executives starring Langford, but was rebuffed because a studio executive had never heard of the high-profile newsman.
In the wake of Yahoo!’s patent cultural gaffe, internet users now are wondering whether Yahoo!’s lack of awareness of current events calls into question their ability to accurately report on political news and other high-profile topics.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Michael Melish, a longtime Langford and Stern fan from West Palm Beach. “One of the largest search engines in the country and it’s run by clueless people with zero knowledge of pop culture icons. I’m switching to Google on general principle.”
TMR Multimedia, a Hallandale Beach-based production company, made the Langford program pitch on Wednesday to Yahoo!’s co-heads of program development, Court Petrie and Adam Besserman, who are charged with building a successful video programming slate for the search engine. When pitched Langford’s name as the host of the new program, Petrie reportedly told TMR, “I’ve never heard of him.” When the TMR staffer tried to explain who Langford is, she was told, “We don’t do shows with people we’ve never heard of.”
“I was shocked,” said Margaret Kessler, V.P. Creative for TMR, who spoke with Petrie on Wednesday. “This kid, who works for one of the world’s premier search engines and who’s responsible for developing TV shows that will appeal to the masses, had no clue what the masses were into. I suggested that he Google Langford. He declined.”
News of the Yahoo! gaffe did not sit well with Howard Stern fans or some of the staffers at Stern’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show headquarters in New York City.
“They’ve obviously got a bunch of yahoos running Yahoo!,” said one Howard Stern staffer who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Steve is known and loved by millions around the country. He could put those idiots on the programming map.”
Langford, an investigative pitbull journalist known for his dogged pursuit of the truth, took the Yahoo! snub in stride, exhibiting his trademark cool and modest demeanor.
“I’m just some news guy who’s been fortunate enough to appeal to millions of average Americans who like their news delivered honestly, with no agenda, and with no punches pulled,” said the New York-based Langford. “I don’t take the Yahoo! thing personally.”
But for the millions of adoring Langford news fans, Yahoo!’s snub is another story – a breaking news piece that won’t soon be forgotten.
“I say boycott that third-rate search engine,” said Beverly Bounders, referring to Yahoo!’s third place ranking among search engines. Bounders is a die-hard Langford fan from Miami. “Steve is America’s new Walter Cronkite, without the mustache and paternal underpinnings. He’s the guy I want on the trail of the truth … even when the truth’s not pretty, like with Yahoo!.”