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Sirius: Stern not returning to free radio

Sirius Satellite Radio  said Tuesday that reports suggesting that shock jock Howard Stern was planning a return to mainstream radio was ‘wrong.’
/ Source: Reuters

Sirius Satellite Radio  said Tuesday that reports suggesting that shock jock Howard Stern was planning a return to mainstream radio was “wrong.”

“There has never been any discussion of Howard Stern in any way, shape, or form being anything but exclusive to Sirius. Published reports suggesting otherwise are wrong,” said Sirius spokesman Patrick Reilly. Stern’s agent was not immediately available for comment.

The New York Post, citing Inside Radio editor Tom Taylor, reported on Tuesday that there were rumors among radio insiders that Howard Stern may be planning a return to free airwaves.

Reilly said there had also been an earlier report in Inside Radio newsletter.

Stern moved to Sirius in January with a five-year deal valued at $500 million after leaving CBS Radio, a unit of CBS Corp. , which was spun off from Viacom Inc..

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The newspaper article said industry talk suggested that a mega-deal was brewing among Stern, Sirius Chief Executive Mel Karmazin and Farid Suleman, a long-time Karmazin associate whose Citadel Broadcasting Corp. is buying ABC Radio from Walt Disney Co.

Karmazin, Viacom’s former president, was a staunch defender of Stern when the radio host’s off-color humor and sexually explicit remarks drew fire from U.S. regulators.

Reached on his mobile phone from the National Association of Broadcasters’ Radio Show in Dallas, Inside Radio’s Taylor said rumors were swirling about a Stern deal.

He said the upcoming closing of Citadel’s ABC radio deal was likely fueling the chatter and noted that Stern announced his terrestrial radio exit two years ago at the NAB Radio Show.

In an interview with Reuters in June Stern ruled out a return to terrestrial radio as “inconceivable.”

“I’d have to go back to the old rules and regulations and censoring myself,” he told Reuters. “I’m miles away from that. ... I just don’t even want it in my life.”