Howard Stern (search) — claiming he's being "jerked around" and "threatened" by his bosses — says he might start on satellite radio a lot sooner than Jan. 1, 2006.

"A buddy of mine who shall remain nameless says ... Viacom is trying to get Sirius (search) [Satellite Radio] to pay off my contract and then I would leave early 'cause Sirius is anxious to get the show started," Stern told listeners Wednesday.

The top-rated bad boy — who shocked the radio world last month with the announcement he was quitting broadcast radio to take a big-money offer from satellite radio — has been sounding uncharacteristically depressed of late.

He says he's being peppered by "legal letters" and "threats" from Viacom (search) lawyers.

And elsewhere around the country — Stern airs in 46 cities — his show is being heavily censored by Infinity, Viacom's radio unit.

"Jimmy Kimmel wrote me [that] they're trashing the show [in L.A.], cutting pieces out and putting in more commercials than ever," Stern said.

"I'm like, 'Dude, I'm so outta here, let 'em do whatever they want.'"

Stern even attacked the head of Infinity — dubbing him "Joel 'dangerously close to losing his position' Hollander" — and claimed Hollander is "busy meeting with lawyers [to] see if I violated my contract in some way.

"Hey, I had a contract with you and I honored it," Stern said.

"You want to pay off, let me know," he said. "You don't want to pay off, I'm here for the duration.

"But you don't have to be d—-heads about it."

Stern is worth as much as $100 million to Infinity, but the company recently made it clear that it considers him only a small part of the Viacom media empire.

Infinity and Sirius declined comment, although Sirius CEO Joe Clayton told analysts last month that a contract buyout "is indeed a possibility."