XM Brings Oprah into Its Orbit

Investors bid up the shares of the satellite radio outfit Monday as it launched the talk-show queen's around-the-clock channel

Investors pushed shares of XM Satellite Radio Holdings (XMSR) higher on Monday, after the company announced the launch of its effort to bring in Oprah Winfrey fans with a new channel from the talk show celebrity.

The "Oprah & Friends" channel was set to make its debut at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, according to a press release Sept. 25 from XM Satellite Radio and Chicago's Harpo Radio.

The news hits after the companies had on Feb. 9 announced their three-year agreement for the Oprah channel. The deal amounts to only $55 million; Howard Stern had raked in $500 million to launch on XM's rival Sirius Satellite Radio in January, according to press reports.

XM Satellite Radio's stock price edged ahead 0.4% to $13.40 per share in early afternoon Nasdaq trading.

XM Satellite Radio stock has plunged from its 52 week high of $36.91 per share on Oct. 4, 2005, following the company's struggles in recent months with challenges such as a probe into its marketing activity, accusations that it misled investors, and criticism of its spending.

In this new deal Harpo will produce a broad range of caller-driven talk show programming for XM Satellite Radio, including personalities from "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and O, The Oprah Magazine, and "Oprah & Friends." The around-the-clock programming covers topics ranging from nutrition, fitness and health to self improvement, home decor and current events.

Oprah isn't the only famous personality that the radio hopes will draw in listeners with the new show. "Oprah & Friends" includes show hosts ranging from the poet and author Dr. Maya Angelou to financial coach and money expert Jean Chatzky. The Oprah Magazine Editor-At-Large Gayle King is also among those expected to appear. "For me, being a part of XM Radio is a full-circle moment because I started out in radio when I was 16 years old and now I'm able to share the airwaves with my friends," Oprah said in a press release.

After its recent setbacks, XM is hoping that Oprah can do for satellite radio what she's done for books.

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