February 28, 2006

Howard Stern says CBS boss has “vendetta”

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ribald U.S. radio host Howard Stern
said on Tuesday CBS chief Les Moonves is pursuing a personal
vendetta against him because the network's radio fortunes have
plunged since he left to join satellite radio.

In a preemptive strike against an expected lawsuit from his
former employer, Stern said CBS Corp had sent him letters
saying he struck a secret deal with Sirius Satellite Radio
Inc., used CBS air time to promote Sirius and hurt CBS

CBS declined immediate comment on the potential lawsuit.

"I'm offended. I really do think this is a personal
vendetta. Les has had it in for me for a long time. I don't
deserve it," Stern told a news conference.

The New York Post reported the lawsuit would seek $500
million from Stern.

The hugely popular Stern shocked the broadcasting world in
October 2004 when he signed a five-year deal with Sirius
reportedly valued at $500 million. In January, he began
broadcasting on Sirius, where his locker room humor fills two
entire channels.

He broadcast for CBS Radio until days before his switch and
relentlessly spoke of that move as it neared.

Stern was replaced by former Van Halen rock group lead
singer David Lee Roth, whose ratings have paled in comparison,
according to media reports.

"They're floundering," Stern said, adding that talk of a
suit was meant as a distraction from CBS Radio's problems.

Stern said he had a meeting with Moonves and CBS Radio
chief executive Joel Hollander about three weeks ago to discuss
their complaints.

"I said, 'Les, what's going on?"' said Stern. "He said it's
nothing personal, it's just business. But ... it is personal."

Stern's move to Sirius, touted more than a year in advance,
was seen as a bold bid by the fledgling satellite radio
business to attract some of his millions of fans as paying

Stern said his move garnered much media attention and CBS
added to it, booking him for appearances on its news magazine
show "60 Minutes" and "Late Show with David Letterman."

"I made them millions of dollars. If I was hurting them why
did they keep me on the air for 14 months?" Stern said. "How
can you have it both ways?"

He said he asked Moonves why he did not pull him off the
air. "Les said, 'I knew I could sue you later,"' Stern said.