Neil Says He Could’ve Done Better

January 24, 2006

Howard announced that he had Neil Cavuto on the line and began their conversation by asking what qualifications Hayden had to be presented as “an expert” yesterday on Neil’s show. Neil responded that, after he couldn’t get anyone from SIRIUS to appear on his program, he resorted to choosing Hayden. Neil then admitted that, in retrospect, he should’ve gotten a more reputable guest to talk about Howard. Neil went on to add, though, that it wasn’t his intention to upset him with Hayden’s appearance.

Because Howard said that there’s no censorship on the show, Neil wondered why, if that is the case, the program is delayed a few seconds every morning. Howard replied that he requested the delay button, because he wanted the ability to dump out anything he felt was slanderous or libelous. Howard then noted that, unlike at KROCK where various people had the authority to hit the dump button at any time, he’s the only one who has control over it at SIRIUS and that he’ll use it only if potentially law-breaking comments are made. Howard added that he talked to SIRIUS executives throughout the morning and that they have insisted to him that there are not going to be any restrictions placed on the show, despite the rumors that have been circulating in the media.

Although Neil again acknowledged that he should’ve booked a more authoritative guest for his program, he added that everyone is entitled to an opinion, even a “disgruntled fan” like Hayden. Howard acknowledged Neil’s point, but noted that Neil didn’t present Hayden as a “disgruntled fan,” but instead tried to pass him off as a “Howard Stern expert.” Neil replied that when the people he contacted at SIRIUS wouldn’t deny outright that no guidelines were being put into place for the show, he thought such a non-answer meant that some form of censorship was on the horizon. However, Robin noted that, to her, Neil knew what was going on, but was still trying to get Howard to slip up and admit that he’s about to be restricted on the air, even though he had spent a good portion of the past two days’ broadcasts saying otherwise.

Howard then commented that, since the article that appeared in yesterday’s NY Post was all wrong and since people like Neil didn’t do their investigative homework before giving a person like Hayden an open forum to bash the company, there was no need for anyone at SIRIUS to even respond to Neil’s questions.

When Neil said that he couldn’t believe the money wasn’t one of the reasons Howard took the deal at SIRIUS, Howard told him that, of course, the money had some impact on his decision. However, Howard also pointed out that he could’ve retired and lived comfortably after his contract with Infinity expired and that it took him weeks to decide whether or not to accept SIRIUS’ offer even though the money was on the table from the start. Howard went on to say that he got into radio because he wanted to entertain people and that he resented the fact that Neil didn’t question his “expert’s” claim that he was driven only by the financial end of his SIRIUS deal.

Howard then acknowledged that he asked to be let out of his Infinity contract well before it ended, but that, when he was told by his bosses that they weren’t granting his request, he did the best show he could until his time with the company was over. Given this, Howard noted that he will show the same loyalty to SIRIUS, regardless of what obstacles he and the company may face in the future.

Neil claimed that he didn’t have an agenda with his interview yesterday, which Howard said he was sure was true. Howard went on to say, though, that Neil’s refusal to challenge any of the statements his “expert” made on his show more than likely duped some viewers into thinking he actually was an expert, which was one of his major problems with the piece. Howard added that he was glad Neil called in, and even promised to come on his show at some point in the future. Neil also hinted that some kind of correction would be made during his show this evening.