Howard Stern announced on his Thursday show that he has signed a new five-year contract with Sirius XM. No financial terms have yet been revealed.
“I have come to the conclusion that the real innovators, the real geniuses are the people here at Sirius. I have signed a five-year-contract to stay at Sirius,” Stern told his listeners.
According to the Mark’s Friggin’ blog, which publishes a daily synopsis of the show, Stern said he had talked with Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin and told him that he was inclined to continue working. The two had a long business relationship pre-dating Sirius (at Infinity/CBS) and Stern said Karmazin was very understanding of his position. It all came together on Wednesday and Stern signed for another five years on satellite radio. Later in the show Stern, who will turn 57 next month, indicated that it will likely be his final five years on radio.
As Stern made the announcement that he would extend his run on Sirius to 10 years, he declared that what he began five years ago isn’t finished. Radio, he said, is becoming a stronger force. Stern said two companies had contacted him about returning to terrestrial radio, but he shut down those talks after initial meetings. According to Stern, he might have gotten more leverage in his negotiations with Sirius XM if he had continued those talks, but he had to be honest and tell the broadcasters that he was never going back to AM-FM radio.
Stern noted that there is a lot going on with companies trying to jump-start their businesses on the Internet. According to Mark’s Friggin’ Stern said he met with every company and every genius out there, so he knows what’s going on with Internet radio, which will be part of radio’s future. And despite the recent rumors, Stern said there were no “heavy discussions” with Apple. But in the end he wanted to stay at Sirius and continue building the business that has now passed 20 million subscribers.
Without revealing any details of his new deal, Stern said it was fair for him and for Sirius XM. As of January the show will be exactly the same as now, beginning each morning at 6:00 am. He isn’t thrilled about still having to get up so early, but that’s what his fans want. He did say there was some flexibility in his schedule built into the new deal, so there will be some changes down the road.
Now the other regulars on his show have to work out their own deals with Sirius XM. Stern said he hoped that all of the staff would be able to stay.
RBR-TVBR observation: If Stern wanted to continue working on a regular basis – which he doesn’t need to do financially – staying at Sirius XM was what made sense. And given the long relationship with Mel Karmazin, it was pretty much certain that they would be able to make a deal. Indeed they did. Now we wait to see how it will impact the company’s bottom line.