The Following Is Pure Speculation...And Then Some.
It is now October 8, 1995. There is less than one month left on Howard's current radio contract. If you think Howard and his agent aren't in negotiations with Infinity Broadcasting then you are sadly mistaken. Howard isn't like a union where he'll continue to provide services until an agreement is reached. Oh no. After his boss, Mel Karmazinmade statements in the press about how wonderful it is to sign Howard's check because Howard makes his company so much money for such little pay. That comment will cost Mel dearly. Howard has bitched that he's grossly underpaid. Now's his chance to get paid. It's a question of whether it's by Infinity as an employee like he is now, or as a partner in his new proposed radio venture, The Howard Stern Radio Network.
Howard's needs in radio have changed since signing with Infinity 10 years ago. Besides money, Howard is looking for growth of his semi-national morning show that is in 18 of the top 20 radio markets. The cash-only deal to carry Howard's show may be rich right now for some stations, but with a Stern radio network, syndicated by either Infinity (Imus, Greaseman, Don & Mike) or Westwood One, a cash/barter system would allow for smaller market stations to pick up Howard's show which will inturn, allow growth. The addition of two new stations in Richmond & Norfolk, VA, on Monday 10/2 also signals that a deal with Infinity is all but signed. How could you sign on a new station only to sign off 30 days later? You don't and you can't.
Up until now, with the large fines looming over Infinity, their attempts at purchasing other radio stations was always met by the FCC with caution. (FCC mind set)> With the matter of all those pesky Stern fines still open, how can we, the FCC, allow you, Infinity, to grow and prosper in a free marketplace. So if you settle with us, then you can continue to do what the constitution promises without any further road blocks. This current post-extortion environment of love between the FCC and Infinity (broadcasting's prodigal son) is allowing for swift moves by Infinity to purchase new stations and even whole broadcasting groups such as Alliance Broadcasting, which sold all 6 of their radio stations last week to Infinity for $275 million. This now opens the possibility of Howard's show shifting to a San Fransisco signal (KFRC-AM/FM or KYCY) instead of a San Jose signal (KOME) which will increase his ratings in Frisco and produce more advertising revenue for Infinity.
Mel is the genius of himself. The settlement might be paying off already.
Any astute Stern fan is well aware that Howard's "How many more days left on my contract" rhetoric has all but faded. His bluff to leave radio has been called. Radio is where Howard belongs and it is where he will mainly stay. TV and video as secondary mediums are perfect for the show to get the visually creative material "out to the public", as Howard would say. It is time to shit or get off the pot. Let's see what spins down the bowl in the next month or two, shall we....
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