Howard Stern talking retirement


With the Sirius XM contract that’s paid him over $600 million over the past five years due to expire the end of this year, Howard Stern was musing on the air again last week about what he might be doing in 2011 and beyond. Here’s a real shocker: He’d like to be paid a lot of money, but work less. Gee, who wouldn’t?

According to the Mark’s Friggin blog which provides a segment-by-segment synopsis of Stern’s show each day, Stern said on Thursday’s (9/2) show that he “pretty sure” he’s done at Sirius XM. That hardly seemed definite, since he went on to talk about how he might stay and what changes he might want from the current contract. For example, he might want to program three “Howard” channels, rather than the current two, although he’d want to work fewer hours on the air himself.

According to Stern, Sirius XM would be stupid not to re-sign him. That would seem to put him in agreement with company CEO Mel Karmazin, who has stated that Sirius XM is still the best place for Stern to be. The catch there is that Karmazin no longer wants to pay Stern more than $100 million a year.

If there was anything concrete to be learned from Stern’s most recent comments about the contract negotiations it is that Sirius XM wants another five-year contract to lock in its star, while Stern is somewhat reluctant to make a commitment that would extend into his sixties. At age 56, Stern said he’d like to have more free time. Also, he noted, media could change over the next five years.

So, the negotiations go on.

RBR-TVBR observation: Look for Stern to focus on this topic more and more often as the contract expiration date grows closer. The “King of All Media” may not have the big kingdom he once had, but he does know how to use his satellite radio show to his own benefit when trying to put pressure on his employer to accede to his desires.