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SEC eyeing Howard Stern's jump to Sirius
Regulators probe guest on shock jock's show over possible insider trading of satellite radio firm.
February 22, 2005: 6:54 AM EST
Howard Stern

NEW YORK (CNN) - Howard Stern has been battling the Federal Communications Commission for years. Now the Securities and Exchange Commission has its own investigation revolving around the controversial radio shock jock.

A New Jersey-based gossip columnist and frequent guest on Stern's radio show has been subpoenaed by the SEC concerning insider trading in shares of Sirius Satellite Radio (Research).

Chaunce Hayden, a gossip columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine and a regular on Stern's radio program, told CNN he received a subpoena on Friday from the SEC asking him to call the regulator's New York office to answer a question concerning insider trading of Sirius' shares.

When Hayden called the SEC last Friday, he said, an SEC lawyer asked him who was present in Howard Stern's studio at the WXRK Infinity station on Oct. 6, 2004, when Stern made the on-air announcement that he would be leaving Viacom's Infinity Radio Network for Sirius.

On that morning, shares of Sirius jumped nearly 30 percent after Stern's announcement of a five-year, $500 million deal with Sirius that is to begin in 2006. At the end of the day, Sirius shares closed 16 percent higher.

Sirius stock jumped about 11 percent in the week before Stern made the announcement, and it was up 24 percent in the four weeks before the move was disclosed.

Hayden says he personally never owned Sirius shares, or any stock for that matter, beyond what is in his 401(k).

"This makes me laugh," Hayden told CNN. "If they subpoenaed everybody that was in the studio, that would be one thing. But if they are just subpoenaing me, it's just ridiculous."

Hayden said the SEC may be interested in him because a week or so prior to Stern's announcement, Hayden appeared on an ABC On-Demand program called "Tattle Tales," where he predicted that Stern would make the move to satellite radio. He said it would be either XM Satellite Radio (Research) or Sirius Satellite Radio, but probably Sirius.

"Everyone was talking about it," Hayden told CNN. "And since Anthony and Opie (A morning show radio team) went to XM Radio, it seemed obvious that Stern would not go where his rivals just went .... Everyone was predicting he would go to Sirius."

As far as Hayden's relationship with Stern, Hayden said there isn't one. "We don't talk off-air, we don't hang out," he said. "The only time we talk is when I'm either live at the show or on the phone with Howard during the show."

A spokesperson for Sirius told CNN, " We have no reason to believe this matter involves Sirius or any action of its officers, directors or employees, and neither Sirius, nor any of its officers, directors or employees have received a subpoena in this matter."

The SEC could not be reached for comment.

Hayden told CNN that after he spoke with the SEC attorney by phone on Friday, he was asked to appear at the SEC's northeast regional office in Manhattan at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

"They said they have a few more questions for me," he said.  Top of page


Howard Stern
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Sirius Satellite Radio Incorporated
XM Satellite Radio Holdings Incorporated
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