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Howard Stern To Sirius In 15 Months Print E-mail
Wednesday, 06 October 2004
Put another nail in the coffin of terrestrial radio and this time make it a nine-inch nail. Howard Stern, the self-proclaimed “King of All Media,” is moving to a different media – Sirius Satellite Radio – when his contract expires with Infinity Broadcasting. The move comes as Stern is under renewed attack from Michael Powell and the FCC for “indecency” violations. Clear Channel, which syndicated Stern in a number of markets including Florida, quickly dropped Stern from their morning lineups upon pressure from the government. Another factor in Stern’s move is the departure of Infinity boss Mel Karamzin, who was an outspoken protector of Stern’s freedom of speech to audiences ranging from the FCC to Congress. Both Sirius and XM have been gaining ground in consumer popularity, largely due to the programming problems and excessive commercials on terrestrial radio. The automotive world has been the best breeding ground for this new technology, with many makes and models of new cars offering satellite radio as an option; the nominal $10 per month fee can be buried into a car loan. Other creative marketing for satellite comes in the form of agreements with the rental car companies, which now offer satellite radio as a perk for renting with their firms. Much as you get to test drive a different car for a few days, you also get to try what a few hundred new radio stations sound like. It is a very compelling audition of a new technology and it is luring customers over by the hundreds of thousands.

Stern reportedly has 18,000,000 listeners who are bitterly loyal to him. Some have been listening each morning – every morning – for 20-plus years. This is a goldmine of new listeners for Sirius, which critics say has better programming than XM but not quite as good a signal in tough-to-reach places like canyons or freeway overpasses. If just a fraction of Stern’s listeners switch over to Sirius, this deal could pay huge dividends. Just don’t be surprised to see XM go after Rush Limbaugh to keep up with the Joneses.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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