Clear Channel Sues Howard Stern

Ed Palomar
NEW YORK – Clear Channel Communications has countersued Howard Stern and his distributor, Infinity Broadcasting. Clear Channel’s $3 million countersuit seeks compensation for lost advertising revenue and $1.75 million related to fines that the Federal Communications Commission imposed on the firm due to the shock jock’s alleged indecency violation.

The lawsuit also claims that Stern and Infinity are in breach of contract because they refuse to guarantee they will not further violate FCC decency standards.

In April, Clear Channel dropped Stern’s show from six of its radio stations, and on July 1, Stern’s company, One Twelve Inc., and Infinity sued Clear Channel $10 million for breach of contract in federal court in Manhattan.

San Antonio, Texas-based Clear Channel is America’s largest owner of radio stations.

Stern’s radio show is known for its sex-oriented commentary and frequent guest spots by porn stars, who often bare all for the so-called “king of all media.”

However, Stern contends that Clear Channel has a conservative bias and that its motivation for dropping him is political. Stern claims Clear Channel axed him after he turned against President Bush and the war in Iraq.

The chairman of the FCC - which regulates broadcasting – is Michael Powell, son of Bush’s Secretary of State, Colin Powell. On his website, Stern accused the FCC of a “McCarthy-type witch hunt.” The site went on to say: “It is pretty shocking that governmental interference into our rights and free speech takes place in the U.S. It’s hard to reconcile this with the ‘land of the free’ and the ‘home of the brave.’”

In June, Stern announced that was going to broadcast his program in nine additional markets, including four where he was previously heard on Clear Channel.