Howard Stern sounded rested and youthfully exuberant this morning as he returned from a two-week vacation, stating it was "simply wonderful" to be back on the air in nine new markets, including most of the six where Clear Channel dumped him in February. Today marked the first day that The Howard Stern Show began broadcasting on the new Infinity outlets that were announced just prior to his summer holiday.
Stern said it was "a miracle that we are back on the air in these markets. I didn't think it would happen." He thanked Infinity President/COO Joel Hollander and Viacom co-President/co-COO Les Moonves for standing up and making the move, and revealed that "Infinityand Viacomweren't going to put us back on in those markets" until his agent, Don Buchwald, sat down with them to hammer out a package deal.
"For those of you who were away for so long, we rejoice!" said Stern, updating his long time listeners that were hearing the show for the first time since February. "Those scumbags at Clear Channel blew us out of the water for no apparent reason. They just bowed to the FCC, bowed to George W. Bush. I was thrown off not because of anything indecent or obscene, but because I told people not to vote for Bush. And that's the bottom line. So we're back."
Stern's first two callers this morning were from markets where he was once on Clear Channel outlets -- San Diego (where it was shortly after 3am) and Pittsburgh (where the bars were open early for listening parties).