New York radio DJ Howard Stern has been dropped by CLEAR CHANNEL COMMUNICATIONS - after the American media giant was fined $495,000 (GBP270,000) fine for indecency following a foul-mouthed interview with Paris Hilton's ex-lover RICK SALOMON.

Stern had been suspended from broadcasting on the network's six stations following the "vulgar and insulting" February (04) interview, but has now been removed as a result of the size of the fine.

And the outspoken DJ has hit out at bosses, saying he's the victim of a "witch hunt".

Clear Channel Radio president JOHN HOGAN says, "The Congress and regulators are even beginning to look at revoking station licenses. That's a risk we're just not willing to take."

American media regulator the FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (FCC) has counted each offensive comment within a single show as a separate violation of its rules in what is an unprecedented move.

FCC commissioner MICHAEL COPPS comments, "The decision is a step forward towards imposing meaningful fines."

But Stern hits back, "It is pretty shocking that governmental interference into our rights and free speech takes place in the US."

The Stern show will still be carried on 35 stations owned by INFINITY - including outlets in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

09/04/2004 17:28