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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Howard Stern and the death of terrestial radio

Fuck Les Moonves

CBS Radio Sues Stern for Breach of Contract
Published: March 1, 2006

CBS Radio filed a lawsuit against Howard Stern yesterday, charging that he used his last months on the air there to build up his future employer, Sirius Satellite Radio, and gained financial advantages through a stock sale at the expense of CBS.

The suit was filed in New York State Supreme Court only hours after Mr. Stern pre-emptively took the offensive at a news conference, accusing CBS of trying to threaten and bully him. Mr. Stern denounced the legal action as a "personal vendetta" intended to "distract the media" from bad financial results at CBS-owned radio stations.

After Mr. Stern's attack, CBS filed its 43-page complaint, which accused him of "multiple breaches of contract, fraud, unjust enrichment and misappropriation of CBS Radio's broadcast time." Also included in the suit were Sirius Satellite Radio, which was accused of unfair competition over Mr. Stern's CBS contract, and Mr. Stern's agent, Don Buchwald.

In its complaint, CBS said that Mr. Stern "misappropriated millions of dollars' worth of CBS Radio air time for his own financial benefit, and fraudulently concealed his interest in hundreds of millions of dollars of Sirius stock while promoting it on the air." The suit did not specify the amount of financial damages that CBS planned to seek.

At the news conference, Mr. Stern aimed angry comments at the chief executive of the CBS Corporation, Leslie Moonves, saying that in "coming after me," Mr. Moonves was trying to cover up for "record losses in ratings" for CBS's radio station by beginning the legal assault on its once-brightest star.

"The radio division at CBS is in a shambles," Mr. Stern said. Many CBS stations have seen severe ratings declines since Mr. Stern left for Sirius.


Mr. Stern said he met with Mr. Moonves recently to ask why the suit was being contemplated and that Mr. Moonves told him, "I'm the one who kept you on the air and I knew I could sue you afterwards."

Through a CBS spokesman, Mr. Moonves declined to comment.

Moonves has never liked Stern or his act, so this is hardly a shock.

It is, however, braindead.

Look, when Stern left NBC, the radio division ceased to exist not a year later. So why is CBS shocked when Adam Carolla, who got bounced from Comedy Central for being painfully unfunny, is not pulling in numbers. And that the David Lee Roth show is an utter nightmare. Sumner Redstone drove Mel Karmazin out of Viacom so he could appoint his daughter as his eventual successor. He did the same to Frank Biondi in the 1990's. Anyone who gets too close to the boss is tossed aside.

But then, when Stern asked to buy his old tapes back in a profit sharing agreement, CBS wanted to charge him $40m. Which he turned down. It seems there was a lot of resentment at CBS

Liberal talk radio trends ahead of Limbaugh among 25-54 in Miami


Advance trend numbers for spring radio ratings in the Miami market, leaked to RAW STORY, reveal that liberal talk posted hefty gains against the once-indomitable Rush Limbaugh.

In particular, The Ed Schultz show actually passed Limbaugh among the 25-54 age range in the nation's twelfth largest radio market. Schultz scored a 3.4 rating to Limbaugh's 3.2, climbing 1.1 ratings points from the winter figures.

?In his own backyard, how can Limbaugh lose to a liberal talker? What am I doing with a 3.4 and he?s sitting with a 3.2??

The Stern lawsuit scared the shit out of the entire industry because anyone could be subject to it. Because the claims are bullshit.

But that's not why it was filed.

Stern reportedly brought in a billion a year in ad revenues. That money is gone. And CBS lost $9b this quarter. That's right, $9 BILLION dollars. Now, Stern is blaming Moonves, but you don't file a suit like that without the bossman giving a thumbs up. Especially a control freak like Redstone.

They were pissed when Karmazin went to Sirius, as well, feeling Stern had a hand in it. But mostly, the fact was that after Stern left for Sirius, he went off on how cheap CBS was and how badly they treated people.

But even without all these theatrics, the fact is that CBS, like Clear Channel, are left holding a bag.

Right wing radio is just another format and formats have expiration dates. The decline of right wing radio as as likely as the end of oldies or free form or any other format. But what's worse for CBS is that the value of their stations are declining. As is everyone elses. Sirius is the second shot in an offensive which started with iPods and Music Choice on cable. People are tired of the tight formats of radio and are willing to pay to escape it and the FCC.

They have no answer on how to deal with it. So blaming Stern is a cheap way to do it, while embarassing themselves in the process.

posted by Steve @ 3:47:00 AM

3:47:00 AM

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