Sirius Paid Howard Stern $302 Million

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Forbes says that Sirius Satellite Radio (SIRI) paid Howard Stern $302 million in 2006. That is a good deal more than Jay Leno or David Letterman. The difference is that they make CBS (CBS) and NBC (GE) a lot of money.

There is not much point is disputing the Forbes number. It includes stock, bonuses, salary. All of it. Forbes tracks pay and net worth as well as any publication in the world.

Of course, the problem with Stern’s pay is that Sirius is not doing very well. In the last quarter, the company had revenue of $167 million and an operating loss of $154 million. The company also has well over $1 billion in debt.

Sirius missed its most rosy forecasts for year-end subscribers. The company said it will be cash-flow positive in Q4 06, but the last quarter of the year drive a big number because of the holidays. Future quarters may not be so hot, at least at the bottom line.

The biggest question about Sirius is whether the huge subscription bump that Stern brought when he came over from plain old regular radio will continue into 2007.

If not, maybe he is being overpaid.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.