Karmazin Out At Viacom Stern Could Be Next and Headed To Satellite Radio 
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Written by Jerry Del Colliano Jr.   
Tuesday, 01 June 2004

Media giant Viacom (Paramount, MTV, Infinity) announced today that their highly touted radio executive, Mel Karmazin would be leaving the company. Rumors have surfaced that he is in line to replace the embattled Michael Eisner at Disney yet The Happiest Company On Earth says that they are confident in their current leadership. Karmazin merged his Infinity Broadcasting into Viacom but has been involved in an ego-driven war with Viacom chairman, Sumner Redstone for some time now thus Karmazin’s exit is not completely out of the blue.

Karmazin is the calming force for the self proclaimed King of All Media, Howard Stern, who is currently under attack from the FCC for so called indecency violations. Stern, who complains about nearly everything, no longer has his biggest supporter at the helm of the company. Stern on his morning show today spoke of the end of his run on radio saying “Its over” and alluding to satellite radio as a venue for him in the future.

As much as the weight of the world seems to be on Stern’s shoulders with the FCC on a witch hunt, Clear Channel bailing on his syndication and now Karmazin gone it is not a guarantee that Stern will leave terrestrial radio. Sumner Redstone knows the value of Stern’s reported 18,000,000 listeners each morning and what it means to the ratings of his vast empire of upper echelon radio stations across the United States. If Stern does bail on terrestrial radio for satellite he might find a media that is more friendly to his often off-color comedy. He might also find an equity stake from one of the two major satellite radio players who have to be salivating over the prospect of picking up even a fraction of such a large audience.

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