Full disclosure; I am a Howard Stern fan, a major fan.
Howard Stern doesn’t get no respect, as the great Rodney Dangerfield would have put it. The man transformed radio, and when he decided to leave the company he worked for, bringing in countless millions of dollars over a couple of decades, gave him a case of wine…then they sued him for promoting Sirius during the last year of his contract(a suit in which Howard prevailed gaining the rights to all of his legacy tapes). No Respect. Then he went to Sirius, a company that, when he signed, had 600,00 subscribers and now just over 5 years later they boast over 20 million subscribers. So when I read that Howard is now suing Sirius for unpaid bonuses, I was shocked. How could Sirius force him into this corner. No respect. Being the Stern fan that I am, I know the decision to sue Sirius was one that was not easy for Howard, he has a track record of being loyal to a fault. Here is my take on the thing, from beginning to the eventual end. Sirius offers Stern bonuses for subscriber-ship. Howard hits the first bonus no problem and gets paid. Subscription numbers continue to rise, but Sirius starts to think “hey, we would have gotten a lot of these subscribers with out with out Stern”, in classic disrespect for Stern, and decides not to pay him. Stern sues for bonuses. Stern wins. Sirius wonders why they didn’t just pay him his due in the beginning, because now the cost is way more than it would have been. Stern completes his contract in about four and a half years. Sirius subscribers leave in droves for internet services. Sirius finally realizes, like “Free Radio” did, that Howard Stern was carrying the company all along and wishes they could pay him double to stay.
I guess time will tell. But one thing I am sure of and have been saying for a very long time, the rear view mirror will be kind to Howard. People will look back in reverence at what he accomplished. It just a shame that it will take him leaving the airwaves for it to happen.
See the court documents here.