That’s some Sirius dough

Stern, agent Buchwald start collecting fruits of a year of tubthumping

Cha-ching!

That’s Howard Stern already starting to cash in on the satellite hype.

The shock jock takes to the airwaves again Jan. 9, when Sirius Satellite Radio starts beaming two new Stern-helmed channels across the nation.

That’s also the date that Stern and agent Don Buchwald start collecting the fruits of a year of tubthumping, with a not-totally-unexpected post-holiday bonus: Sirius will deliver to Stern and Buchwald more than 34 million shares of the company, a payout written into Stern’s contract if certain subscriber goals were met by 2006.

Analysts predict Sirius activated more than 1 million additional radios in the fourth quarter alone, smashing the company’s goal of reaching 3 million subs by at least 100,000 and triggering the clause in Stern’s contract.

The subs come at a price. When Stern’s deal was signed more than a year ago, the value of that payout was $110 million, an amount that counted against his $500 million contract.

But because the stock has close to doubled during its Year of Stern, that payout will be worth about $220 million on Jan. 9. Think of it as a nice $100 million bonus — minus Buchwald’s 10%, of course — for helping move radios in the crucial Christmas selling season.

It’s too bad Sirius topper Mel Karmazin couldn’t get rival XM Satellite Radio to kick in some shares, too. No doubt helped by Stern’s satellite hype, the competing satcaster hit 6 million subs after taking in an estimated 900,000 in the fourth quarter.

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