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Clock is ticking on Howard Stern’s Sirius channel

Howard Stern may be the face that launched four satellites (now 9), but as he wraps up his fifth year on Sirius satellite radio both his listeners and stock analysts are wondering if the King of All Media will continue to broadcast from orbit come 2011. Stern’s current $500 million contract is set to run out on December 31, and his last show of the year is December 17. But so far there’s been no word about how negotiations are going.

What little has been said publicly is vague. Last Friday morning Stern’s producer Gary Dell’Abate told a New York morning program that, ” Howard is negotiating, but we’ve never gone this far before … everybody is nervous, including me.” Tuesday on his show Stern also cryptically discussed his plans for the program once he signs a new contract.

Even post-merger, Stern is still arguably the most prominent personality associated with Sirius-XM. But with the financial troubles that have dogged the whole satellite radio industry, one has to think that Sirius is much less willing to pony up another half-billion to hold onto him.

Now, Sirius has signed Dr. Laura, but her transition from broadcast wasn’t nearly as dramatic as Stern’s, who was still at the top of his game when he left FM in 2005. I doubt Dr. Laura can possibly be as big a draw as Howard, and I wouldn’t be surprised if losing Stern would cause thousands of his most loyal listeners to cancel their subscriptions.

Of course, the big question is if Stern is enough of an asset to make or break Sirius-XM at this point in its development. If so, how much is he worth? If not, how much will it cost Sirius?

I guess we’ll find out soon enough.


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25 Responses to Clock is ticking on Howard Stern’s Sirius channel

  1. Fred Manuel December 1, 2010 at 9:09 am #

    It would be a real shame, if he doesn’t re-sign, very entertaining guy.

  2. Long time listener December 1, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    Good riddance to him, I have lost respect for Howard over the years as he has become a curmudgeonly old man, the kind of man he use to rail against. His negotiations on the air and holding his staff hostage until the last minute during the holiday season with only one paycheck left for them shows how far he has come and changed for the worse since his humble beginning. He is now a bloated narcissistic windbag surrounded by sycophants. He is a selfish old man who needs to retire and play chess on the computer and watch porn.

  3. Eric December 1, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    I think Sirius XM could easily loose 1 to 2 million subscribers if he didn’t resign. Sirius XM needs far less than that to pay for his estimated 100 million a year contract. Stern easily pays for himself with his loyal fans who subscribe as well as advertising his show brings. In addition to the revenue his show brings, his name also brings awareness to Sirius XM. As both a 2x subscriber and a stock holder, I think it would be silly for the company to let him go.

  4. uriahsky December 1, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    In a sense, Howard holding out can be seen as benefiting the staff for the following reason. The longer he holds out might mean more money for him, which can translate to more money for the staff. But, Howard doesn’t seem to be all that generous with his staff, except for perhaps Robin and Fred. So it might just mean the staff keeping their jobs. Howard has said that “He knows what he is worth” And I think he is trying to get Sirius to agree to that particular number. I do agree that he is becoming everything the person above me just said.

  5. Niall December 1, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

    The show died when Artie left.

    He needs to retire. The show has become a shell of itself.

    It’s been an awesome 30 years Howie, hang it up and go back to the Hamptons for good.

  6. Gerg December 1, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

    Howard should retire. There are plenty of other personalities that can draw in listeners like him. I mean, after all, sirius can just replace him with….wait a second…THERE ISNT ANYBODY!

  7. Doug December 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm #

    Stern goes I go!

  8. 143 December 1, 2010 at 4:56 pm #

    I’m glad Artie is gone. Show doesn’t need him.

    Stern goes I go!

  9. Mrwirez December 1, 2010 at 6:15 pm #

    No Stern? No sirius-xm for me… Two more subs gone. I will follow him to the next place he plans on B-casting from… He already said he won’t retire.

  10. DocNorge December 1, 2010 at 7:20 pm #

    No Howard, No Sirius for me. I like the other programming but consider it a bonus. I am there for Stern.

  11. Emotional Friend December 1, 2010 at 7:27 pm #

    I would rather just hear Howard do interviews BY HIMSELF. If that meant only one day a week then so be it. I can’t stand Robin’s voice and her “know-it-all” attitude.

  12. jrobinboy December 1, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    I have an IPod for music and Cable for sports. I have Sirius for Stern. If he leaves I look forward to the extra space in my car that the radio takes up. I will pay for where ever he goes. Hopefully to a place I can get on my smartphone.

  13. winnipegjeff December 1, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    If Stern leaves, I cancel my sub the next day….and Dr. Laura???? Oh please! hahaha!!

  14. SternFan December 1, 2010 at 7:51 pm #

    Wherever Stern goes, I go… In other words, if he leaves Sirius, I drop my subscription.

    Also, in my opinion, if Stern leaves Sirius, the company will fail. To many people will drop subscription.

  15. Byron December 1, 2010 at 8:00 pm #

    If its a cash flow problem, they need to get rid of the dead weight, the heaviest literally and figuratively is Oprah, at 50 million a year and with no listeners as Howard brings up regularly, they need to stop the bleeding, and fire her ass. She has been stealing from Sirus to long, no wonder XM went out of business by signing her.

    Then for the other 50 million just cancel, Martha Stuart, Rosie, Jamie Fox, and who ever else that is a non-radio personality. There balance sheet would of been on the plus side for a 100 million this year, if they had done so at the beginning of 2010 and with the same number of listeners.

    2011 they can try to save a 100 million by not resigning Howard and risk loosing many of the millions who signed on with Sirus for Howard, which would cost them far more than a 100 million. Or keep Howard and cut the over paid Oprah’s.

    Talk radio is for radio personalities who have the talent to captivate an audience with their words. Dr. Laura is an excellent sign of Sirus taking there talk radio seriously, like her or hate her, she has talent like Stern to keep an audience tuned in, to hear what she is going to say next! I like to think they are learning as they grow, and are going back to basics by hiring radio people for satellite radio and what better signal for promoting great talk radio by resigning the King himself!

  16. jack December 1, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

    If Howard goes, so does my subscription to Sirius/XM.

  17. KArl December 1, 2010 at 10:11 pm #

    Stern goes Sirius may last a year but not two.

  18. Henry December 2, 2010 at 5:05 am #

    Stern is garbage! Dont care what he did in the past. He’s a un-funny human being!

  19. FREESPEECH December 2, 2010 at 5:07 am #

    I’m glad you used the term “arguably” in your article. I believe Stern was never critically important to the success of Sirius-Xm. His move there was a good example of “lucky timing” on his part. He saw the importance of this new radio medium, and took full advantage of it…literally. Satellite radio is a very unique form of broadcast media unequaled by the internet, terrestrial radio, etc., and the subscribers out there know it. All 20 million of them. If he didn’t do it, another popular radio personality would have; period.

  20. Eric the actor December 2, 2010 at 6:09 am #

    “arguably” the biggest name in satellite? They would lose “thousands” of subscribers? Come on. He is satellite radio, and millions (including myself) will cancel the second he leaves.

  21. valuestocksonly December 2, 2010 at 6:46 am #

    All these posts of no Howard “I am leaving” what BS. Alot of those posts look to be by the same person. NAB hard at work. Howard is not going anywhere.

  22. I'll Stay December 2, 2010 at 7:40 am #

    I had 4 subs before Stern and I’ll have 4 subs after he leaves. Don’t let the door hit you in the a$$ on the way out.

  23. Nathan December 2, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

    Assuming Stern does not get re-signed I do not think there will be a large mass of subscriptions being cancelled. I think that a number of those subs have cancelled over the last 2 years. The show has gone severely downhill and they have no good way of measuring the audience size. I’d say at most a few hundred thousand subs may cancel.

  24. Pecos Bill December 2, 2010 at 2:41 pm #

    I am a SIRI stockholder and think it’s past time to get rid of the trash. By BY Sterns.

  25. Motown December 2, 2010 at 9:00 pm #

    Howard goes I cancel & this post is from GD SAUDI ARABIA!

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