December 14, 2005 4:00 AM PST

Is Stern worth his millions?

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On Friday, Howard Stern will sign off from the FM radio medium he's dominated for decades, as he readies his highly profitable shock-jock brand for a launch into space in January.

When Stern goes live as expected on the Sirius Satellite Radio network on Jan. 9, it will certainly mark one of the biggest shakeups the radio world has seen in years and potentially provide an extraordinary shot in the arm for the nascent satellite radio industry.

News.context

What's new:
Sirius Satellite Radio gambles that shock jock Howard Stern is worth his $500 million paycheck.

Bottom line:
The news has already boosted Sirius subscriptions, but the service has to attract a lot more subscribers and retain advertisers to cover the costs.

More stories on satellite radio

From Sirius' perspective, it had better. The young company, which has yet to turn a profit since launching its service in 2002, has agreed to pay Stern $500 million over five years to transform his show into two channels broadcasting around the clock. Some of that will go into production costs and the other salaries associated with his show.

Subscriptions, which typically cost $12.95 per month, will have to jump to justify that monster contract--Sirius executives say they need 1 million new subscribers, above and beyond what they would otherwise have drawn, to pay for the deal. No doubt about it: Sirius has all but bet its future on Stern.

That 1 million figure is rough at best, but it takes into account average subscriber fees per month of about $10.81 (lower than retail price, due to promotions and rebates) and an average monthly churn, or cancellation rate, of 1.8 percent, according to the company's latest earnings release. To get there, the New York-based satellite radio network is counting on a sizable portion of Stern's 8 million to 12 million listeners to follow their radio Pied Piper to the subscription service.

Sirius executives already have some reason for optimism. Subscriptions have tripled since Stern announced his defection from Infinity Broadcasting a year ago, from about 700,000 in October 2003 to more than 2.1 million today. And the network thinks Stern is the right bet to help it close the gap against its rival XM Radio, which currently reaches about twice as many people.

Listen up

Only a few more weeks before Howard Stern moves to the Sirius Satellite Radio network. CNET News.com's Charles Cooper, John Borland and Harry Fuller debate whether CEO Mel Karmazin is crazy like a fox--or simply crazy.
Listen now... (9.5MB mp3)

Indeed, at the beginning of 2005 the company predicted it would reach 2.5 million subscribers by the end of this year. Now it's instead on track to reach more than 3 million by the end of the year, according to the company's latest earnings release.

"We're not putting a number on it, but we do believe that if he hasn't already paid for himself, then he has contributed a tremendous amount of subscription growth over the last year," said Sirius spokesman Jim Collins.

Under current projections, analysts say it shouldn't be hard for Stern to pay for himself.

"I think it will turn out to be a very astute investment by Sirius," said Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett. "The value of what (Sirius has) already gotten from him in promotional appearances alone is worth tens of millions of dollars in free advertising."

In a recent research note, Friedman Billings Ramsey stock analyst Maurice McKenzie said he expected Stern to draw about 1.5 million new subscribers for Sirius, weighted heavily toward the last quarter of this year, and the first quarter of next, when the buzz around the shock jock's defection is peaking.

CONTINUED: Strong growth predicted…
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62 comments

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Stern & Sirius
If Sirius were in their right mind - they wouldn't have Howard Stern as their standard bearer. I personally would consider it torture to have to listen to Stern and that's even if they paid me the subscription fee 100 times over! And the numbers, may give them a slight boost, but seems like if numbers are what they are chasing - they would go for conservative talk radio with numbers like 50 million daily listeners.
Limbaugh alone has 20-25 mil and there's also Hannity, Beck, Savage, Reagan, O' Reilly, Ingram ..........where do I stop? If Sirius were serious - they go after the main stream in America, not the fringe kook left.
Posted by damonmcdaniel (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They have a channel for that.
they also have a channel for the far left. Howard Stern is an
entertainer, and THE most influencial man on radio. Believe it or
not, he IS the choice of main stream, not just of the "far left".

Of course he is not for everyone, and Sirius knows that, that's why
they have another 110 channels (not including weather/traffic
channels) for subscribers to choose from.
Posted by Microbreak (61 comments )
Link Flag
Come on...
Two things I would point out, Damon:
1. If people can get content for free from Hannity, Beck, Savage, et al, why would they pay for Sirius? Unless, of course, Sirius were able to get all of these talk show hosts to defect to them at once.
2. The shows you mentioned (above) are not targeted to or listened to by "mainstream America". They are conservative shows with conservative audiences. Conservatives like yourself believe that you are actually in the center of the American political spectrum, so I can see how you would make this comment, but I assure you it is inaccurate. Let's review: Conservatives are on the right, but think they are in the center. Liberals are on the left, and *know* they're on the left.
3. (OK, I know I said "two things"...) Howard Stern's audience is not just the left, "kook" or otherwise. He would not have such high ratings if that were the case. You seem to think that Republicans are all about decency and apple pie and only "other people" listen to smut. Please...
-Robert
Posted by blissitt (5 comments )
Link Flag
Really?
To each his or her own. Since you lump Stern in with the people to the right, I suggest you listen to your kind on Air America. Oh, I forgot, they are tanking. Sorry.
Posted by The Tominator (6 comments )
Link Flag
Actually they vote republican
A majority of the dim-witted pervs who listen to Stern vote republican, or don't vote at all.

The Democrates (and political center) are listening to either their own mixed audio CDs or NPR.
Posted by Richard G. (137 comments )
Link Flag
Unbelievable.....
I cannot believe people would actually pay money to listen this scum bag.
Posted by ghiggins (2 comments )
Link Flag
Sorry, no one is worth this kind of money....come on really what were they thinking? sheesh....

I'll do it for $60K a year...;-P
Posted by Garand1 (1 comment )
Link Flag
Jerry Springer of Radio
Howard has always been blunt. Although his mind has also been fixated toward how every guy thinks, sex-related. I am no fan of Stern nor do I hate his antics, but his show is interesting to listen to. It shows how much America has changed on the radio and on televsion. To many restrictions if I do say so myself, need to be more open minded just like the European market.
Posted by bobj123 (94 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Stern isn't worth a nickel....
... as far as I'm concerned. He was a disgrace to terrestrial radio,
and elevating his location isn't likely to elevate his value or
significance.

But all that is somewhat academic. Now that I have MP3's I can
play at home, in the car, and where ever else I might be, radio is
no longer of any interest to me, free or otherwise. So with a
worthless media, and an even more worthless 'personality' on
that media, maybe even a nickel is a gross overvaluaton.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
People really pay for this stuff: It's free in the gutters.
Rather than pay for Stern's garbage. This stuff is available for free in the gutters and slums. Why don't you just the people there, it would be better than giving the money to Stern.

Where are values going?
Posted by (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Values
I wish people would think before they speak. You mention what happened to values. First you must define, "whose values?"

Stop thinking you are America, no one person is and the idea of imposing your values on someone else is what is wrong with this country.

The religious right and the hypocrites in the republican and democratic parties should stay out of people lives and worry about running this country like a business and protecting our rights guaranteed in the Constitution.
Posted by boboyank (1 comment )
Link Flag
For all his faults...
For all Howard Stern's faults, he does a great service to society as a whole in his discussion of the life-long harms of forced circumcision of infants. I wish Mr. Stern continued good luck with his show and his efforts on behalf of children.

-Robert
www.luckystiff.org

Please also visit:
google.com: "circumcision"
www.circumcision.org
www.jewishcircumcision.org
www.norm.org (foreskin restoration)
Posted by blissitt (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Couldn't think better
You couldn't think of a better poster-child for that cause? That is sad...
Posted by kartbart (48 comments )
Link Flag
I wouldn't trust Stern around my kids!
It's also not surprising the subject of Stern and kids revolves around the genital area.
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Link Flag
Garbage in and plenty of scum following it
Stern has a "shock" factory precisely because of FCC. Sirus doesn't get it. Without the FCC there is no shock. The show will rapidly slide into indecency and sewage material. At that point, Sirus will be host to the lowest scum and everyone else will bolt to XM.

Shame on them. I'll personally never buy a Sirus radio.
Posted by kartbart (48 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: Garbage In
I have to beg to differ with you somewhat, not that I am sticker up for Stern! I listen to XM Satellite Radio and specifically the Opie and Anthony show. For those who don't know, they were the NY radio guys who ran the Sex for Sam (Adams beer) contest and someone got caught having sex in St. Patricks in NY, so they were removed from the air until joining XM.

Anyway, they are Stern's biggest rivals, and when they first started on XM a year ago, the first few weeks were about swearing as much as they could on the radio and about getting the lesbians in, having people call in while having sex, etc. However, as they themselves admitted, you can only do that so many times before it's boring and the listeners are bored. Many of their shows have no sex involved and become more of a regular talk show, but a regular guys shooting the s**t style show. Lots of joking around, ragging on each other,etc.

For example, today's show spent over an hour playing clips of tv and radio people screwing up, such as the weatherman who said "Martin Luther ****...KING JR!" etc. They played a dirty Christmas song, talked with a rock band singer for awhile, and so on. 4 hours, no sex.

My point to this, is right now Howard Stern thinks his new show is going to be all about lesbians, sex, swearing, porn starts and crude jokes, however don't be surprised if by March, most of that stuff has gone out of the window. Opie and Anthony had more sex stuff on their FM radio show in a week then they have had on their uncensored show in a year, only when they do have it, there are no bleeps!

Finally, one thing I will say to you conservatives , Howard is more like you than you think. He's in his middle 50's, should be getting is AARP card, loves his daughter and his wife (before his divorce) but his job is selling his act to the 18-35 male crowd, the age group that advertisers love. If he could get paid $500 million to host a politics talk show, that's what he would be doing. However, sex sells, so that's what he gives his listeners.
Posted by joeinma (2 comments )
Link Flag
Re: Garbage In
I have to beg to differ with you somewhat, not that I am sticking up for Stern! I listen to XM Satellite Radio and specifically the Opie and Anthony show. For those who don't know, they were the NY radio guys who ran the Sex for Sam (Adams beer) contest and someone got caught having sex in St. Patricks in NY, so they were removed from the air until joining XM.

Anyway, they are Stern's biggest rivals, and when they first started on XM a year ago, the first few weeks were about swearing as much as they could on the radio and about getting the lesbians in, having people call in while having sex, etc. However, as they themselves admitted, you can only do that so many times before it's boring and the listeners are bored. Many of their shows have no sex involved and become more of a regular talk show, but a regular guys shooting the s**t style show. Lots of joking around, ragging on each other,etc.

For example, today's show spent over an hour playing clips of tv and radio people screwing up, such as the weatherman who said "Martin Luther ****...KING JR!" etc. They played a dirty Christmas song, talked with a rock band singer for awhile, and so on. 4 hours, no sex.

My point to this, is right now Howard Stern thinks his new show is going to be all about lesbians, sex, swearing, porn starts and crude jokes, however don't be surprised if by March, most of that stuff has gone out of the window. Opie and Anthony had more sex stuff on their FM radio show in a week then they have had on their uncensored show in a year, only when they do have it, there are no bleeps!

Finally, one thing I will say to you conservatives , Howard is more like you than you think. He's in his middle 50's, should be getting is AARP card, loves his daughter and his wife (before his divorce) but his job is selling his act to the 18-35 male crowd, the age group that advertisers love. If he could get paid $500 million to host a politics talk show, that's what he would be doing. However, sex sells, so that's what he gives his listeners.
Posted by joeinma (2 comments )
Link Flag
What a joke!
Why does anyone need 500 million dollars? Instead of giving somebody that much money, it should be used to help the uninsured of the USA get proper healthcare.
Posted by casper2004 (267 comments )
Reply Link Flag
the typical "un-question"
Do you know why I no longer watch professional baseball on television? It is because, to me, no one is worth that much money for playing a game.

Do you know why baseball players still make so much money? Because others will pay the asking price.

Whether or not you and I think Howard Stern is worth a plugged nickel, is not the issue.

As long as he produces a product for which enough people will pay, he will keep producing that product. Moreover, if enough people want to pay for it, those people and all that money have a good chance of shielding him from any FCC regulations that might be proposed to "protect the public interests."
Posted by Duffey (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Will the ads on satellite radio be profane too?
See blog posting on this topic:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://londonink.blogspot.com/2005/11/will-ads-on-satellite-radio-be-profane.html" target="_newWindow">http://londonink.blogspot.com/2005/11/will-ads-on-satellite-radio-be-profane.html</a>
Posted by londonink (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I doubt it...
What would be the point? Even the most offensive programming on radio and TV usually doesn't come with equally offensive ads!
Posted by ddesy (4336 comments )
Link Flag
Stern Isn't Worth Monkey P***
He was an ***hole before. He's an ***hole now. I won't be listening to him, so I couldn't care less if he dropped dead.
Posted by Steve Jordan (126 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pay Radio
I'll never pay for sattelite radio with digital radio coming.
Posted by paulsecic (298 comments )
Link Flag
Best of all - not avail in CANADA?!
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.analogstereo.com/canadian_satellite_radio.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.analogstereo.com/canadian_satellite_radio.htm</a>
Posted by 208774626618253979477959487856 (176 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Just say no to legislating speech.
I've never paid to get a dose of Stern and I never will. I'm glad he said that he wishes the FCC chairman gets cancer that spreads, just like I'm glad someone here said that Howard can drop dead. You want to know why? It paints a picture of themselves in their own words, and who could draw it any better?
Posted by casper2004 (267 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Stern is Trash but satellite radio is worth having
Because of all this discussion about Stern, I'm looking into Satellite radio for my home. In all honesty, I prefer XM radio for Major League Baseball and the Bob Edwards program in addition to other things, since I fondly remember Bob from his years hosting NPR's Morning Edition. If Stern becomes a passing fad but listeners stay with Serious for other content that would be the best of all possibilities. If you have Satellite radio let Stern rant as much as he wants but enjoy the music, news and other programs Serious will make available. Thank you.
John O'Rourke
Posted by johnorourke1951 (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No
Stern isn't worth $100,000,000/year. no one is.

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Stern
NO. Stern going to Sirius is the best thing that could happen, except for Sirius.
Posted by DFCraig (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I can't wait
Stern was pulled off the air by Clear Channel here in Louisville a couple of years ago, so I can't wait for the move to Sirius.

I recently purchased a Sirius radio just so that I could listen to his new show. And several other people I know are doing the same.

Regardless of your personal take on Stern (I'm honestly surprised at all of the holier-than-thou comments so far), he will help Sirius overtake XM in 2006.
Posted by sMoRTy71 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No One Forced to Listen to Stern
No one is forced to listen to Stern; doing so is purely voluntary and the payment to him via a pay radio service is also purely voluntary. Those who do not like his subject matter or manner need only not listen, no representative from Scirus can compel a person to tune in. This is not a government agency that has the power of the gun to stop a person (inside or out of vehicle) and demand to see papers and require that the person remain where they are or else be arrested for "interfering with an officer of the law".

If large numbers of people want to hear Howard Stern and pay the subscription rates for a satellite radio service that provides him, then he will likely earn large sums of money. That's a far cry from having money taken/stolen via taxes from one's paycheck, property assessments and transactions which are then spent on all sorts of government projects that politicians and bureaucrats have decided is "in the public interest". Try not paying those taxes and you'll come face to face with the force/gun of government. Scirus is a business and either gets voluntary customers sufficient to make a desired profit or it folds up. With government, only a lack of enforcers will cause it to wither and die - but that's not an impossible dream.

In addition those who do not like Howard Stern can socially preference against those who do - just not associate with them voluntarily. Of course having good defensible reasons for this dislike would be more likely to influence those "fans" of Stern rather than just make them laugh at apparent timidity. The same type of social preferencing against enforcers of government - the real power base - could reduce their numbers significantly leaving the politicians and bureaucrats to enforce their own mounds of paper regulations/laws/edicts or see governments wither and die.


**Kitty Antonik Wakfer

MoreLife for the rational - <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://morelife.org" target="_newWindow">http://morelife.org</a>
Reality based tools for more life in quantity and quality
Self-Sovereign Individual Project - <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://selfsip.org" target="_newWindow">http://selfsip.org</a>
Posted by KittyAW (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
For now
If sat radio gets popular enough, they'll start playing it at the gym, the store, and everywhere else. Then Stern will be out of luck.

Nice rant though, did you mention the war??
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Link Flag
Wrong!
When one scans the radio dial looking for something to listen to, and ends up on Stern for a mere 10 seconds, odds have it, the listener will be forced having to listen to Stern and his malformed addiction to smut and porn jokes.

Since Stern followers robustly defend his "program content", I propose Stern take put his show onto his website via audio/video stream. Stern will have his little open medium that he's always wanted. It will also be impossible to accidently be forced to listen/watch any of his smut, since his site could be password protected. Stern followers can then listen/view all the things Stern stands for, smut and porn...even kiddie porn if that's what their into.
Posted by bobby_brady (765 comments )
Link Flag
Three Words, Kitty:
14th
Street
Bridge.
Posted by Steve Jordan (126 comments )
Link Flag
GROW UP! and let Howard do his thing
You all need to really look deep down inside and find out what's really wrong. Is it Howard, or is it just the fact that someone is making a substantial amount of money while your stuck at your dead end jobs. For Christ sakes if you thinks he's crap THEN DON'T LISTEN TO HIM. You just prove how ignorant and envious you are when you write negative remarks like that. So what if its smut. I think we've all gotten past puberty so it won't affect us adults. And unless your child has access to Sirius receiver I see no reason for your hatred. I think you all need to re-evaluate your priorities and not Sirius's.
Posted by Devvy (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
They're just surprised
They're suprised that a man like this could make this much money doing this show. He's simply an entertainer. And a damn good one. If anyone could do this type of show, he would be out of business or making $10/hr.

I'll tell you what - a lot of this is the far right's thinking that American is going to hell because of him. That's right - a whole country going to hell.

Also, can someone clarify if Stern is receiving $500 mil or the show is receiving that much?
Posted by dewalt25 (57 comments )
Link Flag
duhh
For such an (obvious) avid fan of Stern's, your quite the hypocrite, are you not? Personally, I see him as a tired sell out. The past few times I did tune into his show, it was all about getting a girl to remove her clothing. Not that I find it offensive, just wore out material. I wouldn't make the committment Sirius has based on what he has generated in the past, but more along the lines of where he is going to be in the next few years. If he doesn't wake up soon, I would say, he could be headed for a deep sleep. And the question posed to the readers was, do we think he is worth the committment made... Give us voice, we do speak. Just because we are not making his 500 million, does not mean our opinion is unworthy. No, I am not envious of the man. I'm very comfortable in my own skin, thank you. My opinion... He is NOT worth it...
Posted by Sarah79 (3 comments )
Link Flag
use your imanigation
Who needs Howard,anyone with a little creativity can be just as offensive to themselves why pay someone else to do it for you?
Posted by astrobird (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Our 1st Guarented Right As Americans
What was it called?? Freedom Of Speech Mabey?
Posted by luckey68 (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not Worth It -- BORING -- Just the next Andrew Dice Clay
OK, ten years of the same old stuff, and it's gotten boring. Creativity on the Stern show has gotten so rare, that he can only make it "interesting" by trying to just be outrageous and offensive, not clever. Just like the Dice-man, he's run his course. Give him credit, he made it last a lot longer.

When he was clever, it was a great show, but using F bombs and showing boobies doesn't make it clever anymore. Stern's smart though, he sold himself at the peak. He's become sad and dated, he's the next Andrew Dice Clay
Posted by ag_guru (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
WHo is Andrew Dice Whatever?????
I may have seen something with that name once, but it wasn't
worth stopping for.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
DO THE MATH!!!!
Lets think about this.... Howard Stern has 18 million listeners. Say 10% move with him to satellite (Which is a very low estimate). Look at the numbers: 12.95 per month, 12 months, 1.8 million subscribers.......... add it up and be amazed........$279,720,000.... That is NOT counting the advertising that he is going to be doing during his show. IS HE WORTH IT? THAT IS A STUPID QUESTION, OF COURSE HE IS!
For you others who say he is a scumbag, that wouldn't want him around your kids, you can get him in the gutter.... Have you ever listened to him, or have you just heard Rush or one of the other right wing radio hosts talk about him? If you would listen to Howard you would know that there is more to his show than just lesbians and potty humor. He got Christy Whitman elected governor in New Jersey, she even called the show to thank him and named a rest stop in New Jersey after him. He was thrown off of 6 Clear Channel stations for starting to talk about George Bush in a bad way. He talks about everything. It is not just 4 hours of porn everyday. Personally though, I like the lesbians......
For those of you who say "Gutter" "Trash" "Foul mouthed" "Potty mouth" and more.... How is it possible to say this when his show is censored and he is not allowed to use any cuss words or talk about certain sexual "Themes". If Howard is sooooo dirty and obscene, what is Chris Rock? Richard Pryor? Dennis Miller? Eddie Murphy? Chris Rock was the host of the Academy Awards and in his HBO stand up special "Bigger and Blacker" he used the "F" word more times in 1 minute than Howard Stern has in the last 25 years..
But, my favorite reply has to go to the person who wrote
"Why does anyone need 500 million dollars? Instead of giving somebody that much money, it should be used to help the uninsured of the USA get proper healthcare."
HA HA HA How about if we didn't go to war in Iraq? Our savings that we could have used for "Healthcare" in OUR country.... $200 Billion and still counting.
How about since I make $50,000 per year, I believe anyone making over $1 Million per year is too much and should have to put 5 homeless people on their own health insurance plan... That seems right to me......
In closing, I would like to take this time to say Ba Ba Booey to everyone!!!!
Posted by humby (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I was wrong, there will be new content...
One segment under development by the Stern crew is called "Crack ***** Views," snippets of interviews with ... well, ****** who use crack. Another involves High-Pitch Eric, "who eats a tremendous amount of food. We want to weigh his bowel movements and bet on the result." Oh yes, I'm going to rush right out and buy into Sirius because oh my God, no way can I miss this... After a while, who will still want to pay for this? Surely not the crack ******, we know where their money goes. (my opinion... don't be hatin)
Posted by Sarah79 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Someone is censoring this discussion!
Why is the word ***** being censored with asterisks?

Is someone really thinking that this word is taboo?

If it takes anyone more than a microsecond to realize what the asterisks are trying to cover, then this discussion is truly for children.
Posted by (7 comments )
Link Flag
Is it Wh or is it E? Let's try Wh or e.
Wh or e?
Posted by (7 comments )
Link Flag
$500,000,000
The $500,000,000 salary paid to Howard Stern has a feeling of constructed PR, like the $1,000,000 advance paid to 50 Cent for his first record deal I can still remember being emphasized in early promotional articles (did you know he was shot 9 times too?). Sirius has paid Howard $500,000,000 for PR and the conversion of as many of Howard's listeners as possible, a coveted demographic.

-Jonathan
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://philoneist.com" target="_newWindow">http://philoneist.com</a>
Posted by JonathanGCohen (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This is a great day!!!
I don't have satellite radio! Halelujah!!!
Posted by Norseman (1319 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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