The Big Crunch

Howard Stern would be the third-highest-paid CEO in America

Photo composite with Howard Stern. Howard Stern would be the third highest paid CEO in America.
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Howard Stern has decided to at Sirius Satellite Radio. He signed a new five-year deal that some reports suggest would pay him $90 million per year. That's up from the $80 million he earned in the previous contract.

We wanted to know: How high would Stern rank if he were a corporate CEO? It turns out — very, very high.

In fact, only two CEOs last year made over $90 million — David Zaslav of Discovery Communications and Michael Fries of Liberty Global. Only two. But overall, Stern will earn more than nearly every single executive in the country.

Stern's salary is so high that it dwarfs the compensation of the actual CEO of Sirius James Meyer. By a factor of 10. To be fair, some of the money may go toward production costs of the show, according to insiders who spoke with the Hollywood Reporter.

Make no mistake, the company still gets a deal by keeping Stern at $90 million. One analysis of the firm's listener base suggests it could have lost $240 million per year if Stern's fans canceled their Sirius contracts. An estimated 12 percent of Sirius listeners tune in to Stern's show.

According to data from the Social Security Administration, only 134 people in the United States earned at least $50 million in wages last year. That puts Stern not only in the top 1 percent, but the top .0001 percent of earners.

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This story was updated to clarify that some of Stern's pay may go to production costs.

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