Dateline: March 30, 1997

Very reliable sources at CBS Radio have confirmed that after Friday's show, Howard was summoned to the office of Michael Jordan, the President of CBS Broadcasting, along with his agent, Don Buchwald, CBS Radio President, Mel Karmazin and WXRK's General Manager, Tom Chiusano. During the very brief and tension filled gathering, Howard was told in no uncertain terms that his services and the entire show's services right down to the interns, would no longer be needed.

Sighting increased pressure from members of the CBS Board Of Directors, and now the FCC, CBS decided to pull the plug on Friday because of an escape clause in Howard's contract that allows them the opportunity.

According to one of my sources, the clause or 'option" as he put it, allows CBS to "let Howard go" before the start of 1997's 2nd business quarter. This "option" also allows CBS to pay only 25% of the remaining contract's value to Howard over 3 years while keeping him off the air in every market he's on in already for 1 year. The source also told me that if Howard is willing to forfeit the remaining 25% of his money, the contract then stipulates only a 3 month "No Compete" clause.

For Howard's part in all this, sources say, if CBS hadn't exercised it's option, they would have had to pay him a performance bonus of $5 million. At the time of Howard's last contract signing, a scenario such as this was most likely far from anyone's mind not to mention the fact the $5 million bonus was everyone's main focus, much like a carrot is used to get the attention of a horse.

Having a spotless record with the FCC, and a desire to own every possible radio station in the country, CBS wants to avoid at all costs any Notices of Apparent Liability or NALs from the FCC, because of the slow down it causes with the acquisition of new radio stations. With the FCC planning to levy a major fine against CBS any day, the broadcaster is scrambling to keep the damage to a minimum.

As for Mel Karmazin, he announced that he'd be leaving CBS due to his unhappiness with the way CBS and Jordan "unceremoniously fired Howard". He also revealed that he would be starting a new broadcast group under the old "Infinity Broadcasting" banner, a trade name he retained with the sale of Infinity to CBS last year.

Now that Howard has been set free from his commitment with CBS, it would only seem logical that after his "No Compete" is over, he'll link the Howard Stern Radio Network up with Karmazin's newly formed radio group.

The show itself will remain in "Best Of" until a replacement is found.






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