Howard Stern Sues Sirius XM For Withheld Stock Rewards

Another day, another lawsuit, this time starring Sirius XM (named after a star) and its biggest star in Howard Stern (and the word “stern,”, incidentally, means star in German). Stars all over the place. Stern’s production company alleges that Sirius XM hasn’t paid it the stock awards that it’s due based on having attracted a number of subscribers to the company. The lawsuit also alleges that Stern’s agent hasn’t been paid a required consulting fee.

The lawsuit is worded wonderfully. It opens by saying that Howard Stern “put Sirius on the map” in 2004, back when it was battling for its very business life against XM. The lawsuit says that Stern single-handedly brought millions of subscribers to the platform with his move. All of that is probably fair to say.

In any event, the lawsuit states that Stern “delivered beyond expectations,” and that Sirius “exceeded its internal subscriber estimates by a large margin in every year of Stem’s contract.”

It goes on to say that, because of Stern, Sirius was able to “conquer” its chief competitor, XM. Gotta love war metaphors when talking about people listening to the radio.

Part of the issue seems to be the fee that was due Stern & Co. following the merger/acquisition of XM. Stern & Co. had operated under the assumption that any XM listens now able to tune into Sirius would count toward his subscriber targets. (He was also to be paid a fee provided in the event the companies merge, which indeed happened. I’m a little nostalgic for the days of writing 800 “will the merger happen?” posts every week.)

I highly recommend fans of the platform to read the whole lawsuit [PDF]. It should only take a few minutes, and it’ll give plenty of insight into the Sirius-Stern dynamics.

Oh: Sirius XM says it’s met any and all obligations to Stern & Co., and that it was “surprised and disappointed” with the lawsuit.

In other Sirius XM news, a new beta of Radium for Mac OS X has been released that restores compatibility with the service.