Stern keeps it sirius

Howard
Stern, the king of all media, will continue his reign with Sirius XM.

Ending
speculation that he was going to take his show to the next frontier — whatever
that might be — radio personality Howard Stern said he had signed a new deal
that will keep him with satellite radio broadcaster Sirius XM for five more
years.

Stern,
who turns 57 next month, did not reveal details of the new pact.

Stern
joined Sirius XM in 2006 in a five-year deal valued at $100 million annually.

That
price tag was for the show, meaning that it also covered costs of Stern’s
morning program and salaries for his team. Still, Stern himself was likely
taking home over $40 million a year. Over time, Stern has decreased his
workload a little. He now does his show four days a week and some analysts
suspect that, down the road, he may cut back to three days under this new
deal. 

With
almost 20 million subscribers, Sirius XM has grown tremendously since Stern
made the jump from FM radio. At that point, the company had about 600,000
subscribers.

 Of course, much of that growth came from the
merger between Sirius and XM. Still, Stern has a rabid following and probably
north of 1 million faithful listeners.

The
challenge for Sirius XM was keeping Stern without breaking the bank.

The
company, which was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy just a few years ago
until Liberty Media made a huge investment in it, has wanted to reign in some
of its programming costs.

At
the same time, Stern provides a huge promotional platform for the service and
signing him was groundbreaking for the company, leading to its recruitment
of other big talent.

There
was lots of talk about Stern going elsewhere, but it would have been tough for
him to get the kind of coin Sirius was going to pay him even if the company did
pay him less (in return for a lighter schedule).

Although
he has the brand to launch his own Internet radio operation, it would have been
costly and  faced with technological hurdles for Stern in terms of being
able to reach his core audience of morning commuters.

A
return to broadcast radio also was unlikely. Among the reasons Stern left FM
was the Federal Communications Commission’s scrutiny and fines.

On
Sirius XM, he gets to say what he wants.

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