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It is beginning to look like shock jock Howard Sterns transition from broadcast radio to an upstart satellite service will be anything but smooth prompting Mr Stern to explore whether he can make the leap earlier than expected With a little more than a year until Mr Stern jumps to Sirius Satellite Radio Inc from Viacom Incs Infinity Broadcasting the popular radio host has gone on the warpath against his current employer The issue is that Viacom has withdrawn its financial support from Mr Sterns legal fight against Clear Channel Communication Inc which dropped his show earlier this year after the Federal Communications Commission began a crackdown on indecent broadcasts The about-face has infuriated Mr Stern who has lambasted Infinity management on the air during his past few shows but without mentioning the legal issue at the root of the squabble People close to Infinity say that because Mr Stern was secretly negotiating with Sirius while enlisting the support of Infinitys legal team in a suit against Clear Channel Infinity no longer feels compelled to back him Spokesmen for Infinity and Sirius declined to comment Mr Sterns agent couldnt be reached More From WSJcom Patients Found Cigna Conflict of Interest Howard Stern Seeks Early Exit From Deal Confessions of a Scam Artist Mr Stern is negotiating to get out of his contract with Infinity so he can join Sirius earlier than the 2006 date currently planned Mr Stern announced his planned move to Sirius last month live on his show Sirius likely would have to pay a steep price to land Mr Stern early he brings in some 80 million annually in advertising revenue and 50 million annually in cash flow to Infinity according to people familiar with the matter Mr Sterns rants have led some close to the situation to believe that he is trying to goad Infinity into taking him off the air
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