David Arquette – actor, director, producer, screenwriter, husband of actress Courtney Cox – won the lottery last week by being given the rarely-offered opportunity to sit in on the world’s best radio program with the 60-plus-strong cast and crew of The Howard Stern Show. He wrote a letter of thanks afterward which gives a rare insight into a lot of what makes the show work, which is fascinating to someone in radio like myself who admires Howard and the innovations the show has made in the medium.

Here are a few of his notes:

What I did get was an amazing opportunity to sit front row center on the greatest radio show in the History of Sound. For a fan to be able to witness the inner-workings of “The Howard Stern Show” is a fascinating experience: – Benjy Bronk jotting away violently with a Sharpie… conjuring up jokes that eventually end up as a pile of paper filling the corner of the room… stuff like asking Martina Navratilova, “Have you ever had a penis in your mouth?” Benjy places that under a mini-camera that transmits to a small screen in the corner of Howard’s console, which Howard glances at (in his slightly shaded glasses, that he put on specifically for the interview, and had me take note). Then, drawing on his incredible comic dexterity, Howard transforms “Have you ever had a penis in your mouth?” into his own words, while adding a unique twist that expands the joke from something that is funny to something subtle, personal, and even sweet in it’s humor…

Fred Norris working his NASA-like command center, like the Octopus of Oz. He keeps the show moving at a wicked pace, while popping sound effects buttons to punctuate pivotal topics being discussed, chiming in with personal revelations that are both sincere and slightly cynical… all done seamlessly… balancing “paying the bills”-type stuff, like prompting Howard on the different live promos during each break, or calling out “We’re back in one minute” while slapping on an intro song…

Will Murray coming in the split-second Howard is off-the-air, hovering in front of Howard’s board with a handful of notes that list facts about the next guest, like Raven Alexis: “She’s a Trekkie. (Howard seems intrigued – “Really?”) “Yeah, she dresses up and goes to conventions and everything…” – “She was accepted to Law School…” Howard responds, chuckling “…but decided to go into Porn instead?” Will barrels on, racing against the Howard 100 News Brief currently playing on air: “She once had sex with a stewardess on a flight” (Howard: “That’s great!”)… Jason, Gary and J.D. also throw in facts… Howard absorbs all this information, then goes on the air and artfully twists it into questions that seem to roll off his tongue… siphoning details of truth to further titillate the audience…

Robin’s genius is in her friendship, love, and respect for life AND for Howard. It’s her ability to riff with Howard – it’s her laugh that grounds the electricity. She plants the seed of a joke and Howard once again spins it into golden web to trap, question, examine and ultimately laugh at whatever topic or person they are zeroing in on.

Gary is incredible, he’s the greatest ringmaster of the greatest Circus in Entertainment. I saw him dealing with everything from making sure I felt comfortable, to hustling guests in and out, to maintaining and operating the Sibian in compliance with the New York City Health Code… and that’s just a fraction of his duties. He is a great guy, a great father and a great producer, with great teeth that are just a shade too white – did I mention his uncanny ability to take a joke.

And last but certainly not least… The King of All Media – Howard Stern. He is simply the coolest cat alive. Allowing me to sit in George Takei’s chair made me feel incredibly privileged… and a little gay. Howard has set up a world of comedic honesty – a social experiment of living his life under a microscope for thirty plus years. The historical relevance of that has yet to be acknowledged.

Whatever lies ahead for you, I’m sure it will be groundbreaking… because that’s what you do.

I agree. Arquette’s one day at the Stern studios could surpass a four-year stint at a broadcasting school for usefulness in this industry. Ah, to get the opportunity to do it, before Howard disappears forever.