Sirius and Stern Face CBS Lawsuit

02 March 2006

US shock jock Howard Stern and his new employer Sirius Satellite Radio have been hit with a $218 million (€182m; £124m) lawsuit by radio rival CBS Corporation.

Stern, who left CBS in January, is accused of misusing the company's airtime to boost the payment he received when he moved to Sirius.

CBS's filing with the New York Supreme Court contends that while it employed Stern, the Rabelaisian radio host spent more than a year hyping his upcoming switch to Sirius. As a result, it alleges, he improperly enriched himself, "pocketing over $200m for his personal benefit" by driving up the satellite broadcaster's subscriber numbers.

The subscription increase allowed Stern to trigger an early grant of more than 34 million shares of Sirius stock, a deal disclosed this year after Stern had signed off at CBS [WAMN: 09-Jan-05].

Ratings at 27 CBS-owned stations have fallen in the wake of Stern's departure. But the company has remained zip-lipped in the face of the jock's assertions that CBS ceo Leslie Moonves has launched a "personal vendetta".

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff