Is Stern missing the point?
In Howard Stern's just-released interview with Entertainment Weekly, he was asked if it bothered him that most of his fans haven't followed him to Sirius from terrestrial radio? He responded: "It's insulting to me that everyone hasn't come with me. I take it personally...I want to say to my audience in this article, ''F--- you! You haven't come with me yet? How dare you?''
We, and a few others, found that statement to be a bit insulting as well. In a recent conversation with an industry observer, it was noted that Stern always positioned himself as the anti-hero. But now he's become a victim and it's hard for his audience to have empathy for a victim who's making all this money.
It's looking a bit like he sold out for greed in his move to satellite. It would be very unlikely a Hannity or Limbaugh would have done the same thing because they understand the power of their platform, which is terrestrial radio. Stern clearly wasn't interested in his platform, it was just a run for the money with the FCC decency issue perhaps just a smokescreen.
The winner in all of this, who may have been a bit self-dealing, was Don Buchwald, Stern's agent. If Stern had complaints or issues with CBS, he could have worked things out with them. They were willing to defend his indecency issues. It was Buchwald who was probably looking for a once-in-a-lifetime payday, riding the Stern pony.
Now Stern is criticizing Les Moonves and his wife, Julie Chen. It's kind of hard for Stern to make fun of them when he's got his own celebrity honey, Beth Ostrosky. It also hurt Stern not being on E! anymore. He's on VOD now - - another greedy move perhaps. That has really hurt him. And supposedly the negotiations between Buchwald and E! Entertainment were less than cordial.
So what you have here is a guy who was always the anti-hero, whose fans really liked him and identified with him. Now he's starting to look like one big sellout. It's hard for his fans to feel empathy for him when they likely feel shafted having to all of a sudden pay 155 dollars a year plus equipment to hear him - - all while they still air commercials during the show - - it's at six minutes per hour now. Mel Karmazin told the Wall Street Journal Sunday he would be comfortable with nine minutes per hour.
Meanwhile, the lawsuit from CBS Radio is real. The issue might never have come up if Stern hadn't been so successful for Sirius so fast. But he was still on the CBS payroll when he hit the trigger that showered him with over 200 million bucks worth of Sirius stock. We hear there might be a swap in the offing to settle the lawsuit. The trade may be Stern's library. CBS may have a real case here - - this is not as frivolous as some have said.