Sound Online Advice New Media Analytics and Metrics for the Radio Industry
Archive Receive Newsletter

AG News: 9/18/2006

Howard Stern Set For Second Push

Did you see the Friday Morning Quarterback article titled "Howard Stern Claims To Be 'Victim Of A Smear Campaign'"? If not, maybe you saw the 60 Minutes rerun of its Howard Stern spotlight. How about the Inside Radio headline, "From the Rumor Mill ó Whatís with all the speculation about Howard Stern back on 'the radio'"?

I'm betting it's more than a coincidence the Sirius superstar's name is showing up this often over a span of five days. There's something cooking behind the scenes. Howard is trying not to become yesterday's news.

If there's anything learned from Stern's move to Sirius it's validation of the adage "out of sight, out of mind." In just nine months, The King of All Media has moved from standard water cooler talk to someone who has to fight for space in those talks.

Controversy generated Howard's name, and it was always paired with wondering if he crossed the FCC's indecency line. (No one ever spoke of his intellectually stimulating topics.) Without controversy, Howard is in the same chorus as hundreds of other media people. So the natural move is to create controversy, which Howard is trying to do with his claim of a "smear campaign."

Moving from an estimated audience of 12 million to one that is (estimated) at slightly over 1 million is a big blow to any ego. You're not only reaching fewer people, but you're receiving feedback in a proportionately less amount too. It's got to grate on the nerves of anyone who's used to constant adulation.

Stern is quoted in the FMQB article:
"I've got more enemies now than I ever have. We are so successful here
at Sirius Satellite Radio. I have the entire radio industry fucking with me,
hiring publicists to plant whatever shit they can say in the paper to make
it seem like we're losers. My enemies are way worse than the government.
Big business is my enemy, business people desperate for money. And let
me tell you, they are way worse than the government.

Howard is masterful at weaving the terms "enemies," "big business," and "government" into the same paragraph. Can't think of three entities that might draw the ire of his fan base more. Only, at $100 million a year, Howard is, himself, "big business" - open game, fair play for pundits who are now on a slighty more even ground. But, they aren't big broadcasters.

The radio industry does not have to discredit Howard's Sirius Satellite Radio gig, as he claims. Satellite radio is not going as well as he, or Sirius, expected because the industry continues to live on hype - which was good for its first five years, but now it's becoming old hat.

When Sirius and XM Satellite Radio launched, each company claimed they would be profitable at two million subscribers; then it changed to four million. Soon, both were speaking of six million, eight million, and now it's nine million!

Sirius still doesn't have the audience numbers to matter when spead over the continental United States. That's Howard's main problem.

Meanwhile, CBS wants to help, or so it seems. Whatever would make that network rerun a Howard Stern "60 Minutes" segment is the conversation that's traveling around broadcast circles today. Let the dead dog lie isn't something Les Moonves believes in, unless there's something cooking on the back burners as the Inside Radio headline reads. But what could CBS possibly have to gain, after bringing Opie & Anthony in as Stern's replacement? (IR is giving the nod to Citadel's chief Farid Suleman, and the recent purchase of ABC Radio as a possible scenario.)

Howard slid into the abyss when leaving his broadcast home. Now the "out of sight, out of mind" syndrome is being fought in the only way Howard Stern knows - by creating controversy.

Here's an opinion: Howard is destined to return to broadcast. O&A showed it can be done, and the bleeding Sirius with the wounded Stern knows that it's the only way to resuscitate a show which has lost 90% of its audience.

At $100 million a year, Howard isn't producing a profit.

From: Joe B..

I am awestruck at the collection of misnomers, false rumor and
innuendo. All too often the Paul A.'s of the world stand at the
dais and shouts louder than the rest of us and is thus believed.
But shouting does not make the truth go away. Howard Stern
is not fading into obscurity as the crooners are shouting.
Iraq isn't going well either.
People before me have thrown numbers about and still others have
debated their validity. Alec went so far as to discount their
ability to be trusted: "Because you sound fanatical, I am assuming
that most of those stats come from Howard himself."
The true numbers are staggering. Before Howard Stern, Sirius
Satellite Radio held 500,000 subscribers. By the New Year, there
will be 6 Million. Less then 2 years. 12 times as many subscriptions...
and sales are outpacing XM.
Now letís get to the Content. Content is King. Ask the men and
women responsible for drawing advertising dollars to the
radio stations that used to syndicate the Stern show. And Sirius
has got it. Music, Talk, name it. XM has MLB Baseball,
and I love baseball, but with the package and the Cable TV
package, access is not something that XM gives me that I don't already get.
The Content provided by Sirius is unbelievable. Like NFL Football?
No Internet package gives you Live Audio or Video. Sirius gives you
Every Game. Both teams home radio broadcast. The NBA or the NHL?
Same thing. Like NASCAR? Beginning January 1st.
Music? What's your pleasure? Rock? 19 channels. Hip Hop/R&B? 6.
Country? 5. My girlfriend complained to me that the broadcast
Oldie's station here in Las Vegas just changed to the "Jack" Format.
I told her about Sirius' "Golden Oldies" channel, and their "60's"
and "70's" channels, and how the music channels are 100% commercial
free! She made me buy her one for her car/house. That was yesterday.
Did I mention that you can listen to Howard or any of the music
channels on your computer via the Web site? All this for less
than 45 cents a day? The value is amazing and word is spreading.
The truth is the people who are shouting the loudest are the ones
who stand to lose the most. As Satellite Radio grows, there will
come a day when the number of subscribers will out shine the
numbers that Howard used to draw in the peak of his Broadcast
Radio days. What will the Nay-Sayers shout about then?

From: Alan F.

Im a social listener of both XM and sirius. ( I have XM - my work has sirius )
and i honestly think all of you stern fans are more or less TRYING to talk
positive. All of your subscriber numbers are differnt, and howard stern
himself has said that he's very dissapointed with his fans, and not enough
have joined. And calling O&A's move to cbs desperate? Thats insane. Anyone
with common sense and an unbiased opinion will say that it's simply a great
move on thier part. Just like there is good reason for Howard to have moved
to sirius (500 million big)

From: Joe L.

Howards move to Sirius has been the most fantastic thing ever to happen to the
format... Since Howard invented the format. I loved Opie and Anthony back in
the day on WNEW but they lost a step or two when they moved to XM. The
shows chemistry just wasn't there anymore. And now thet they're back on
watered down/heavily censored regular radio their show is... Well it's
crappy and there are too many damn commercials.
Meanwhile since moving to Sirius the show has NEVER been better. Some
days the show runs 6 hours + and through out there's less than a half hour
of commercials thrown in. When I flip over to 92.3 I rarely ever catch OnA
anymore in the morning. The comparisons need to end, because there really
isn't any comparison anymore.

From: Tim W.

Interesting thoughts, could hold some truth. Was just wondering what
howard and sirius could provide that could drive a real media blitz
with the broadest coverage.
Maybe the "classic stern tapes" obtained, from cbs for only a couple
of million dollars would most likely do the trick for the media, if
offered to citidel or any other broadcaster. The risk seems small
based on the old content concept, cost and would surely land sirius
and howard back in all the media

From: Ashley K.

Your opinion is the most idiotic statement ever made. HELLLOOO!!!
Howard does NOT want to return to regular boring "FREE" radio.
His current listeners on satellite radio do not want him going back
either. His current Sirius show would be so watered down because of FCC
regulations that he would be better off quitting radio altogether.
On Sirius, he is free to do the show he always wanted to do.
There were 500 thousand subcribers to Sirius before Howard. Now there is
something like 4.5 million subscribers AND Sirius estimates 6 million
subcriptions by the years end.
Seventy percent of the satellite retail market belongs to Sirius.
Before Howard, Sirius only had 30 percent. Add to the fact, Howard has
2 channels on Sirius which he is responsible for programming. He is
finally able to offer his audience the shows that his true fans have
always wanted.
The true question is this: Is Oprah Winfrey willing/prepared to offer
her fans the same dedication to XM Satellite as Howard has to Sirius ??

From: Dan

Howard Stern is an old hack that's so desparate for any kind of
attention it's pathetic. 15 years ago, he was funny and relevant,
but that was 15 years ago.
O & A have done very well with XM and XM continues to outgrow Sirius
on a daily basis. Sirius had troubles long before Howard "blessed them"
with his presence.
Not only will Howard continue to NOT draw new fans, he's alientated his
old ones too. Howard, once upon a time you were a genius, now you just
look like Michael Jordan, hanging on to whatever fame you have left.
Let it go Howie, your time has passed.

From: WM J.

I don't think Howard cares about losing some of his limelight.
Your own article states that he is big business, why does he care.
Opie and Anthony are boys compared to Howard. Give him some credit
once in a while.

From: Matt K.

You say yourself that Stern is being listened to by 1 million people.
Assume they are the only ones brought to Sirius because of Stern (which
is probably a low estimate, even if others didn't but Sirius to listen
to him, but as a result of his promotion), then at $12.95 per month...
those 1 million people are bringing in over $155 million per year.
So, how is that not a profit?

From: Curt M.

Let's remember that O & A can only exist on the airwaves because
of Howard Stern. He has pioneered this genre of programming. Now
Stern has helped to pioneer the satellite radio industry.
Something O & A failed to do.
I enjoy the Stern show every morning on my way to work. Now more than ever.
I can actually listen to the whole show without censorship... heck, I can
even pause it when I run in to grab my daily coffee.
I think we all know Stern won't be returning to old fashioned radio.
There'e nothing there for HIM, and there is nothing there for US.

From: Paul A.

I think we need to take our hats off and thank Stern for some great Radio
that he did in the early years. But lets face it right now the he is doing
the same old re-hashed radio that we have all heard before.
Stern is slowly getting washed up and it wont be long be long before he
takes a small island load of cash and disappear all together. How can
people continue to listen to a man who sits on the toilet each morning
making up numbers about how successful he is.
Just be honest Howie and admit you are having a hard time getting the
numbers, and enjoy doing radio again. Only then might we see a return
of the former king.
O&A are doing far better radio than Howie right now. This is because
people are listening to them, they played it smart and they just
quietly chipped away and itís starting to pay off.
Find the passion Howie and you might just find your listeners again!

From: Alec

I am an early adopter of Satellite radio and enjoy the service.
I have XM and listen to mostly music plus a little baseball and talk.
The Howard Stern comments included by readers to this article are
laughable. Because you sound fanatical, I am assuming that most of
those stats come from Howard himself.
I liked Sterns radio show when I ran into it, but the comment about
"sattelite radio growing faster than cell phones did at the same
stage of development," is just crazy.
At the same stage in developement, cellphones had to be perminently
mounted in cars because of their size and they were cost prohibitive
for any one but businesses.
At the same stage in developent, you can get a actually portable
satellite radio for under $40 and pay $12 for the service.
I hope Stern comes back to free radio, but if he doesn't the other
10 million casual fans will be just fine.

From: William B.

Sterns consistant lies about sub numbers and secret phone calls from
CBS and Letterman are laughable at the least. He knows his days as self
proclaimed "King Of All Media" are done, but his ego can't let it go.
O and A have taken the seat, or should I say Throne, and will reign for years.

From: Mark K.

Your article is about 180 degrees off target. Howard Stern is doing quite
nicely. His show is better than ever and he has more than paid for his deal.
My biggest concern as a Sirius subscriber is that he stays arond when his
contract needs renewal in four years. I need to decide if it is a risk to
buy a lifetime membership or not.What a problem to have...I sure would
not buy the stock of either satellite company. Reaso is there are better
investments out there. I am a very happy Sirius Receiver

From: Dino

Howard Stern is irrelevant. His brand of honesty is akin to a politicians.
He's winy, old, wrinkled, and absolutely a cultural icon. Unfortunately, he
lives so far outside a world of normalcy that no one can relate to him anymore.
At least Opie and Anthony seem like guys you could have a beer with.

From: Griff

Howard Stern PRIDES himself on being TOTALLY HONEST with his audience.
He has stated over and over again that he will NEVER return to Terra Radio.
He values the trust of his audience, and to return to Terra Raidio would
violate that trust.
I don't think Howard would ever risk losing that trust. I for one would
certainly STOP listening if he was to return to Terra Radio.

From: Rob G.

Your article is clearly biased and laughable.
I believe Sirius had been around for several years before signing Howard.
They had 600,000 subscribers. Now after only 9 months of Howard Stern on
the air Sirius is pushing 5 million subscribers!
A Wall Street article written after the Stern signing said he would need to
bring a million subscribers to pay for his deal. Clearly he has done that and more!
A recent survey showed that Stern has made satellite radio a hot topic and
a majority of people now mention Sirius instead of XM when asked about
satellite radio.
Howard has no interest in following Opie and Anthony's lame footsteps.
They were unable to draw anywhere near Stern's numbers to satellite and went
to CBS in desperation. Howard is content with his artistic freedom and will never
go back to regular radio.The Stern show is better than ever and reportadly signing
up new subscribers at a pace of about 6000 per day.
Howard and Sirius will be just fine thank you!

From: Sam.

Sirius nears 5 million subscribers less than 2 years since Stern announced
he'd join the company, adding nearly 2.5 million subscribers in the 9 months
since they took to the airwaves. Their growth rate is far outstripping their
only competitor, and sattelite radio is growing faster than cell phones did
at the same stage of development.
The industry is in its infancy, and Howard is at its forefront. To mention Opie
and Anthony, abject faliures on XM (remember the failed additional fee to get
their show...only 35,000 decided to pay it), in the same breath as an innovator
like Howard ridiculous.
If only 2 million subscribers have joined because of Howard (about the size
of "The View's" daily audience...which people consider a hit show), the deal
has more than paid for itself generating nearly $300 million of income annually
(not including the sale of radios and advertising on the show).
Why did CBS re-run the "60 minutes" interview? Because regardless of their
relationship they know Howard generates huge ratings, even in re-runs.
The Howard Stern show is funnier than ever. There is no way Stern will return
to terrestrial radio... you are rehashing a dead non-story from 5 months ago.
Thanks for listening.

From: William K.

Satelite Radio, in general, is being smeared not Howard Stern specifically.
There is huge monitary reasons that AAPL(ipod), MSFT(zume), all old-line
Main Stream Media(radio and TV), FCC, congressional lobbiest, etc. want
SatRad to fail. Satelite Radio, in its present ad free form, will significantly
hurt all enties mentioned above.
You bet there is a concentrated effort to kill SatRad and smear
every aspect of the medium.

About Contact Indie Artists Radio Stations Audience Data Privacy

President, Audio Graphics
Ken Dardis
Online Since January 1997

Radio Industry News
All Access
Holland Cooke Media
Radio Ink
Radio Business Report

Search Audio Graphics

Search Web
Check Google News
for stories on:
Analytics & Metrics
Advertising Analysis
Advertising Metrics
Online Accountability
Media Buying Online
Local Search
Radio Industry
Radio Advertising
Internet Radio
HD Radio
Satellite Radio
Online Radio

Actively Streaming Today