Howard Stern has worked with the majority of his staffers for decades. People like co-host Robin Quivers, sound effects whiz Fred Norris, and producer Gary ‘Ba Ba Booey’ Dell’Abate are his most loyal colleagues. But even many of The Stern Show’s back office staff members have continued on with the show after it moved from terrestrial radio’s WXRK to Sirius satellite radio. However, there are some staffers that have seemingly vanished over the years following their departure from The Stern Show. This is very much true for Jackie Martling.
Even die-hard Howard Stern fans don’t seem to crave the day when Jackie “The Jokeman” Martling was Howard’s co-host. This is mostly because Jackie’s replacement, Artie Lange, filled his shoes so well. So much so that most of the Stern Show’s old-school fans crave ‘The Artie Days’ more than anything. But there was a time when the comedian was a vital part of The Stern Show. However, his relationship with the self-proclaimed King Of All Media soured. Here’s why…
Jackie Martling Quit The Howard Stern Show Due To Contract Disputes
It’s well-known amongst old-school Stern Show fans that Jackie quit The Stern Show after his lengthy contract negotiations soured in prior to the show’s renewal on terrestrial radio’s WXRK in 2001. But it was the way in which Jackie left that really angered Howard…
“Jackie Martling has left the show, “Howard announced to his audience in 2001, noticeably perturbed. “Much to my chagrin, after 15 years, the man has walked out because, out of all of us, he’s the only one who can’t figure out how to get a new contract without walking out. So, that part of our history is over with. I don’t agree with the guy walking out.”
According to Howard and Robin, Jackie sent a note just as he walked out, barely giving his longtime colleagues any notice. This caused Howard to feel deeply betrayed and straight-up angry. Of course, Howard wasn’t the only one, Robin, Fred, and Gary all felt the same way.
“[Jackie] tells me he ‘loves me’ but he sends me a note. Doesn’t even call me,” Howard said. “If it ‘breaks your heart’ you find a way to keep working here.”
Even though Jackie claimed that the 2000 contract negotiations were long, drawn-out, and resulted in him “not getting enough”, Howard believes he was offered “a boatload”. This move was seen as a massive betrayal in Howard’s eye. After all, the radio station didn’t care if Jackie stayed or left. The only people the movie impacted was Howard and his team.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Jackie was earning $584,000 a year for his work on the outlandishly successful radio show. When the contracts were being renewed, he asked for over $1 million per year for the next five year deal. When he was offered $650,000, Jackie decided to walk, only regretting the move after he saw just how quickly the show could move on without him. When he tried to get his job back, he was refused.
No one holds grudge like Howard. But due to Jackie allegedly being difficult to work with (according to Robin and Fred), there was no interest in seeing him return by any of the Stern Show staff. After all, this was far from the only time Jackie held-up the show due to feeling as though he wasn’t being paid enough. Mere months after Jackie’s departure, Artie Lange was hired to fill his shoes.
Jackie Martling Had Other Reasons For Leaving The Show
In Jackie Martling’s 2017 autobiography, “Bow To Stern”, he claimed that more than just money issues inspired his Stern Show departure.
While this was far from the information he presented at the time, Jackie claims that he didn’t think he would be able to quit drinking had he stayed on the show. He was also unhappy with the promotion that writer Benjy Bronk received. While many fans wonder why Howard has continued to employ Benjy after his own poor behavior, the writer has been a loyal staffer for years. But, according to Radar Online, Jackie felt slighted by Howard’s decision to put Benjy in the studio
“They had sat Benjy Bronk right next to me. In my little space, which was already tight,” Jackie wrote in “Bow To Stern”. “Elbow to elbow, doing the same thing as me, writing lines on the fly for Howard. For me to read, in addition to often reading Fred’s lines, and then in addition to what I had written, having to decide which of the three pages to toss in front of Howard. Fred and I already had it covered—the show was a well-oiled engine and a juggernaut. It simply wasn’t necessary. It was as if to say, ‘should you decide to go anywhere, this guy can simply move over.’”
Despite some of the bad blood that existed between Jackie and Howard, the comedian was allowed back on The Stern Show for a couple of appearances. But come 2007, Jackie was off the show. Around the time he released “Bow To Stern”, rumors swirled about him possibly being engaged in another feud with Howard. Even though Jackie rejected the idea, it is curious as to why he hasn’t been invited back to the show for so many years.
Even though Howard doesn’t like to dwell on former staffers, it seems as though he has some anger for Jackie. Not only did he feel betrayed by his departure, but Howard wasn’t happy about Jackie’s budding friendships with other former staffers, including his own replacement, Artie Lange.
While Jackie says there is no feud between them, Howard’s incredible silence on the subject says almost everything fans need to know.
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