Howard Stern presses suit seeking $300M from his company, SiriusXM
Shock jock who propelled satellite radio firm's growth appeals ruling on claim for stock bonuses
By Carson Griffith NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Wednesday, August 8, 2012, 6:00 AM.
Howard Stern's arrival at Sirius marked the start of rapid subscriber growth.
Howard Stern is ready to get Sirius. Again.
On Monday, the satellite radio shock jock filed a brief with the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division to put in motion a highly anticipated appeal against his employer, SiriusXM Radio, for an estimated $300 million.
Though the filing, which challenges an April 2012 court dismissal in favor of SiriusXM, has not been processed yet, a clerk at the court’s offices at 27 Madison Ave. confirmed to us that the paperwork is “in the stack” and will probably be made ready by the end of the week.
The legal soap opera began in late 2004 when the self-proclaimed “King of All Media” announced he’d be leaving terrestrial radio to join Sirius in January 2006 for a reported $500 million over five years, plus potential stock bonuses.
When Stern made the announcement, Sirius had a paltry 673,000 subscribers. In December 2010, Stern re-upped for another five years for a reported $400 million. Only now, Stern’s employer was SiriusXM, a name change precipitated by the 2008 merger between Sirius and its satellite competitor XM Radio Inc.
Two years later, the company reported its subscription base had swollen to more than 20 million listeners. Claiming they were owed stock bonuses due to the company’s success, Stern’s 112 Inc. production company, along with agent Don Buchwald , filed a May 2011 lawsuit seeking the estimated $300 million.
In April 2012, New York State Supreme Court Justice Barbara Kapnick dismissed the case, calling the wording in Stern’s original contract with Sirius “clear” and “unambiguous.”
The upcoming rematch should be interesting. No stranger to confrontation, Stern himself started moonlighting as a judge of sorts after joining NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” in December 2011. To what degree Stern takes his case to the court of public opinion is anyone’s guess, but he has occasionally used airtime to rail against Sirius XM president Scott Greenstein , whom he accuses of having a “f—ing short memory” with regards to where SiriusXM was prior to Stern’s arrival.
The 58-year-old star of radio, film, books and TV has a long history of using his bully pulpit to go after his bosses. In the mid-’80s while at NBC, the Queens native famously nicknamed his show’s program director, Kevin Metheny, “Pig Virus” and made him the butt of many jokes. A composite character allegedly based on Metheny was immortalized by Paul Giamatti in Stern’s 1997 hit film “Private Parts.”
Neither reps for Stern nor Sirius XM returned our requests for comment before deadline.