Howard Stern on Clear Channel

You gotta love Howard Stern.

This guy is the shrewdest, smartest radio talent to come along ever! Now you may not like what he does on-the-air – that’s your call. I’m talking about the way Howard Stern understands the hypocrisy we call the radio business these days.

So Stern’s $500 million Sirius XM contract is up this year and you know what that means?

Stern threatens to leave the satellite network that made him Rush Limbaugh rich.

And then deny interest in being censored on terrestrial radio. It’s pure theater of the mind or pure mindf#@k.

All that threatening makes good programming. In fact, it makes good comedy.

But the funniest thing I’ve heard is that Clear Channel may want Howard Stern.

In a story first broken by Joel Denver’s All Access, Clear Channel President John Slogan Hogan professed his potential interest in hiring Stern.

Apparently thinking all those talented morning shows Clear Channel was and is firing were chopped liver, Hogan says his is as big as Mel’s (Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin).

Hogan told Bloomberg BusinessWeek:

“We clearly have both the willingness and the financial wherewithal to consider high-profile talent. We would be the most logical company for him to optimize his exposure and financial return”.


I thought Lex and Terry got wasted for money reasons. How about cutting back the outstanding Gerry House moneymaking show? How about all those other shows that Clear Channel just couldn’t afford.

Boy, Hogan is working overtime to make me look good because I’ve been saying all along that Clear Channel’s interest in firing people is what keeps them going. After all, imagine how many more unemployed morning personalities and air talent will be “laid off” should Clear Channel in their dreams turn Howard Stern’s show into Ryan Seacrest Hamburger helper.

Hamburger Helper radio-style means the stuff you add right from the box that makes your local radio stations cheaper to operate.

Could Clear Channel afford $500 million or more for Howard Stern?

Of course!

Could Clear Channel afford to pay local personalities?

What do you think?

Hogan bragged to Bloomberg BusinessWeek that the fact that Clear Channel employs Limbaugh and Seacrest proves they could employ Howard Stern, too.

If I’m a Clear Channel employee right now I’m getting really pissed.

One minute the company cries poor mouth.

The next minute it’s shooting its mouth off to the business press about spending half a billion or more for Howard Stern.

How can that be good for business?

Do the math.

Say Clear Channel pays $500 million for four or five years of Howard Stern. They could fire enough morning talent to more than cover the salaries of local people over that time period plus…

Save on benefits and health care.

Now how evil is that?

But don’t worry. Stern is not likely to be a Clear Channel employee. He doesn’t even like them. And, Hogan can’t handle Stern. Stern’s a very bright guy. And Hogan? Well --

There would be one benefit to Stern on Clear Channel stations.

It would sure be great radio listening to hear Howard Stern make fun of John Hogan every day. How long do you think the thinned skin master of slogans could take that?

If you go back to where I started – you know, the part about Stern being the shrewdest, smartest radio talent to come along then you’ll just giggle at Hogan and Stern as they pretend to dance with each other.

There would be no Howard Stern without Mel Karmazin.


Say what you want about Mel but he is also a champion of free speech. Karmazin has spent a nice tidy sum on defending Stern against the FCC and others during his Infinity and CBS employment.

Mel’s got thick skin. Howard can take him apart on air but to Mel it’s all business.

And keep in mind that Mel was not the Sirius CEO who actually hired Stern – Mel was still serving his time under Sumner Redstone when Sirius paid $500 million for Howard’s services. Of course, it was genius because nothing made a second rate satellite network first rate faster than a real giant sized radio personality.


Sirius wanted to attract subscribers.

Hogan lusts after more savings.

Mel really does fight for free speech and has the check stubs to prove it.

Hogan would flinch when the heat is on.

Oh, and one more thing.

What about that “zero” tolerance debacle Clear Channel announced years ago to suck up to the FCC? Remember how they pulled Stern from their stations rather than put in more delay or cleanse the show by broadcasting it an hour later after their censors had made it pristine?

What about that, John?

Looks like Bloomberg BusinessWeek should have asked anyone in the radio industry to come up with better questions for John Hogan.

What Stern ought to do after having conquered terrestrial radio and became rich as the marquee Sirius satellite radio attraction is move forward into new media – not back to an industry that is working hard to kill itself off.


My money is on Stern staying at Sirius. He’ll be paid well – real well. And Mel will protect him as will the fact that satellite radio does not follow the same standards as terrestrial radio.

Stern’s no fool.

The fool is John Hogan for blowing his cover on the rationale for massive cutbacks even as he has been eliminating morning shows or reducing costs in the last 30 days.

And for thinking that Howard Stern would work for radio’s version of The Terminator.

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