On the evening after Clear Channel indefinitely suspended his show in six key markets, Howard Stern attended a dinner with Mel Karmazin where the Viacom COO and longtime Stern advocate voiced his support for Stern. Meanwhile, Infinity execs say the company will continue to air his show on the roughly 40 Stern affiliates they own and have no plans to follow Clear Channel's lead.
Yanking Stern would have a far greater financial impact on Infinity than on Clear Channel. One media analyst told CNNMoney that a Stern-less Infinity would lead analysts to cut earnings forecasts for Viacom. Another said the loss of Stern in just six markets could cost Clear Channel $12.4 million a year.
Despite radio getting its mouth washed out with a big bar of government soap, Stern's Friday show was true to form --albeit with more editing by station censors. Stern segued directly from Clear Channel-bashing into an extended round of "Guess Who Banged Me," played strip poker-style, with "Busty Cops" pornstar Sam Phillips.
Stern said Karmazin told him he's received 4,000 emails about him, most from the conservative American Family Association. And WXRK GM Tom Chiusano said the uproar the government's hearing about indecent broadcast content is the result of a well organized vocal minority.
Assurances aside, Stern said, "I might be taken off all the stations soon." He closed his marathon Friday show with a promise to "reconvene on Monday, if there's still any stations that still want to carry us."