Are Howard’s days numbered?


His five year contract is not yet to the half-way point, but Howard Stern may be in for some tough negotiations if he wants to stay on satellite radio in 2011 and beyond. Stern’s hiring gave Sirius Satellite Radio a big boost after the deal was announced months before his January 2006 debut. But that single talent deal has cost Sirius 610 million bucks thus far and CEO Mel Karmazin has now become cost-conscious. “I think that you should look at our costs as being something that will probably go up; think in terms of single-digits from a point of view of cost and programming is not something that we feel – though if Howard is on the call and listening, if he would like to extend his deal at less money we would be interested in that – but from my history with him I don’t think that is apt to happen,” Karmazin said in the Q&A session of his quarterly conference call with Wall Street analysts.

“I think that the idea is that we want to have the best content; great content costs money. We are going to continue to invest in content but we believe that our portfolio is complete. There is no missing piece. There is nothing out there that we need to spend a lot of money for and we will get the profitability by controlling our costs and growing our revenue and taking advantage of that fixed cost nature of our business,” Karmazin said of the programming lineup on Sirius.