His Carts in the Right Place

December 8, 2005
Photo: The Howard Stern Show

Howard mentioned that there are only seven shows left, and that the plans for his departure are going smoothly, except, of course, for the ongoing carts controversy. Howard explained that since neither SIRIUS nor Infinity will be using cart technology in the future, he originally wanted to hand out the carts to fans during his final broadcast.

However, Howard went on to say that, after he thought about it, he decided that storing the carts would be a better move, just in case he was able to make a deal with Viacom that would allow him to have sole ownership of them. Howard added, though, that when Tom Chiusano, who wanted to erase the tapes when the issue first arose, was informed of this plan, he demanded that the carts be erased instead of stored.

Howard noted that erasing the carts is no easy task, and requires not only a $2,500 machine that the company doesn’t have, but also countless hours of work. Gary added that when Richie Herby, KROCK’s chief engineer, told him that the cart-erasing machine might take weeks to get, he responded that wouldn’t work, because he doesn’t trust the people at the company with the tapes anymore than they trust Howard.

After Howard pointed out that he already has the cart material on CD, and only wanted to keep the carts as backup since they were originally supposed to be thrown away, Gary said that Scott the Engineer recommended they rent a steamroller and run over the carts on the street to get rid of them.

The One Million Dollar Man

Tom came into the studio and told Howard that the decision to erase the carts wasn’t his doing. Tom added that, if it were up to him, the first 20 minutes of the show wouldn’t have been dedicated to hearing about how horrible he was and having Gary make fun of his laryngitis.

Tom added that he’d like to box the carts and keep them at the station, but Howard denied the request noting that it wasn’t fair for him to have to trust Tom when the same courtesy wasn’t returned.

Howard then brought up that Infinity execs won’t allow him to take the tapes because they’re afraid he’ll play them when he gets to SIRIUS, even though he wouldn’t be allowed to do so legally.

This led Howard to wonder what he’s ever done to have his business ethics called into question, pointing out that he’s always played by the rules and even returned a $1 million check that was mistakenly given to him by the company despite the fact that he could’ve gotten away with keeping it if he had wanted to.

In addition, Howard also noted that he didn’t appreciate being informed by Tom that every box he and his staff carry out with them after they pack will have to be examined by security.

Tom assured Howard the checking of the boxes won’t be an insult to anyone’s character, but instead will act as a safety precaution to make sure nothing that shouldn’t be removed is accidentally mixed into personal belongings.

Howard responded that not only was there nothing left to steal from the studio, but that if he wanted to take anything, he would’ve done it months ago.

Reaching a Compromise

Since he had both Howard and Tom in the same room, Gary asked what the final decision was in regard to the carts.

Howard replied that Tom had to pick one of the following three options:

(1) flatten them with a steamroller;

(2) hand them out to fans during the final show; or

(3) buy a machine and hire people to spend hundreds of hours erasing them.

However, Tom pointed out that a fourth choice existed, and that was to box the carts. Howard told Tom he’d be fine with that solution, but only if they picked a neutral site to store the carts, so that there would be no worries about either side illegally using them.

After Tom agreed to the terms of Howard’s offer, Gary apologized to him for mocking his voice.