Howard Stern Renews Deal With SiriusXM for Another 5 YearsBy
Radio host announced news on his morning show; shares rise
Deal over 12 years includes video-programming venture
Howard Stern has signed a new contract with SiriusXM, ending speculation he might walk away from satellite radio, as he once did from broadcast, and try his hand at Internet radio.
The agreement calls for Stern to host “The Howard Stern Show” on SiriusXM for another five years. The 12-year deal also includes developing a video-streaming service with the help of his vast audio and video library, according to a statement Tuesday. At almost 62, Stern remains one of the top rainmakers in American radio a decade after leaving broadcast.
Stern, whose previous five-year deal was set to expire Wednesday, first reported the new one on his morning show. Though terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, Bank of America analyst Jessica Reif Cohen estimates that Stern will make $90 million a year in salary, up from $80 million in his current contract.
“I happen to think that its best days are ahead,” Stern said in the statement. Then, in his trademark provoking tone, he continued: “So, if you are not listening to SiriusXM and The Howard Stern Show, then you are really more like a zombie, a rotting corpse monster, living half a life, deadened and blackened inside. It’s as if you were still watching black and white television while shopping in actual stores on your way to the post office to fax a memo.”
Stern, who fled terrestrial radio to escape the scrutiny of federal regulators and advertisers, had been entertaining the possibility of moving to another medium, including Internet radio. He said he’d be open to almost any scenario -- except podcasting. “If you want to be in radio, forget a podcast,” he told his audience earlier this year. “Podcasts are for losers.”
As part of the deal, SiriusXM will get to use Stern’s vast archive of audio and video performances spanning his more-than 30-year career in broadcasting.
Chief Executive Officer James Meyer said neither the company nor Stern have made any decisions about their video venture except that the “creative experience will be controlled by Howard.”
“I don’t think we’ve ruled anything out,” Meyer said in an interview Tuesday. “You shouldn’t see a whole lot of change in the show. Over the next ensuing months, we’ll work to capture whatever creative process he wants” for video.
Patrick Reilly, a spokesman for SiriusXM, declined to comment on how much Stern will make under his new contract.
Shares of SiriusXM rose 1.8 percent to $4.07 at the close in New York, their biggest single-day advance in almost two months. The stock has risen 16 percent this year.
The company, controlled by Liberty Media and billionaire cable magnate John Malone, has developed a large U.S. following, particularly among high-end car owners with built-in satellite radio. When The Howard Stern Show debuted in January 2006, satellite radio was still an unproven medium. Since then the company merged with rival XM and now has 29 million subscribers.
“I’d like to see Howard do his radio show 12 years from now,” Meyer said.
Liberty Media announced last month the creation of tracking stocks for Sirius XM and the Atlanta Braves baseball, creating pure-play investments for those assets. The tracking stocks were the latest of many complicated financial maneuvers that have enabled Malone’s empire to save taxes and develop targeted investments over the years.
— With assistance by Felix Gillette
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