Skip to comments.Stern arrives, satellite audience rising
Posted on 01/09/2006 3:05:27 AM PST by Momaw Nadon
The biggest gamble in the short life of satellite radio hits the table at 6 a.m. today, as Howard Stern starts what he calls his creative rebirth at Sirius.
The most prominent morning host on commercial radio for 20 years, Stern joined Sirius because he says the FCC's vague content guidelines made it impossible for him to do his "real show" any more.
Because satellite listeners pay a monthly subscription fee, like cable TV watchers, the FCC does not regulate content - though Stern's arrival has amplified calls for such regulation to be authorized.
Stern's switch to Sirius, with his colorful promise of no-holds-barred radio, has triggered a tidal wave of publicity and raised at least two longer-term questions.
First, how much attention will he receive three, six or 12 months from now? While satellite's reach makes his show available everywhere, his initial Sirius audience will be only l5%-20% of what it has been on terrestrial radio.
Second, will he give satellite radio in general the promotional push for which Sirius and rival XM are hoping? Both Sirius and XM have bled billions of dollars in startup costs and routinely run multimillion-dollar quarterly operating deficits.
Sirius says it has committed half a billion dollars to Stern's show, and just last week announced he was getting a bonus of more than $200 million in Sirius stock.
Sirius clearly is counting on a windfall payback down the line, in subscription and advertising revenue.
Right at the moment, both XM and Sirius say subscriptions are running strong.
XM says it just passed six million and projects nine million by yearend.
Sirius says it ended 2005 with 3.3 million, many of the new ones Stern-driven, and projects six million by yearend.
That puts satellite listenership ahead of many past projections, which envisioned 20 million radios in service by 2010.
Some Wall Street analysts still see Sirius stock as a gamble, while XM seems to be generally regarded as a solid player.
If you are watching this from an investment angle, The key will be how long they are subscribing and if they renew subscriptions. in the same numbers or more.
You mean Howard's getting classier?
My wife bought Sirius pre-Howard and not because of Howard 2 Christmases ago. Overall, it's the best Christmas gift I've received since Strat-O-Matic baseball when I was nine.
Losing Fox news has dimmed my liking of it, but it's a great deal if you have to drive a lot.
XM with Fox News and Fox Talk is supposed to be pretty good, and I might switch to it...or get it and keep Sirius.
I got a Sirius radio for Christmas. Works great!
< Stern would be a turn off for me and I would have switched to the other network if I were pre Stern subscriber. >
It's what I would do also. I just can't support the guy.
What cansomeone do on a satellite radio, that you can't do on broadcast radio other than swear a lot and talk about sex?
You can talk without the oppressive censorship of the FCC.
Ban the FCC, not Howard Stern.
Whew! Who knew Pat O'Brien was such a perv!
I just turned his show on my Sirius, and it doesn't seem any different than his old show, just more curse words.
Mr. Sulu is gay???
The ironic thing is that I think a big reason for Howard's success was the FCC. Now with no adult supervision Howard's entire show will be just one big four letter word. My prediction is that he will lose audience because porn is no good without the pictures.
I bought Sirius for my husband 2 years ago before we took a cross country trip. He loves it and now keeps the Margaritaville channel on at all times. I will be forced to buy XM for me because I liked to listen to FOX news whenever I drove his vehicle. I hope FOX and Sirius get their problems worked out.
"Thus Spake Zarathustra rendered in flatulence."
ah....the Le Petomane factor.....
Sirius or XM? Not a hard choice anymore. If I go satellite, it will be XM.
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