Anytime Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin speaks in public he is asked about where contract negotiations stand with Howard Stern. His latest appearance on CNBC was no exception. So, where do things stand with Howard?
“Howard will have a lot to say about that,” Karmazin said, when asked about his company’s on-air star. “I’d love to have Howard stay. He’s been a terrific partner. We make a lot of money with Howard.”
“He’s worth every penny so far?” host Melissa Lee interjected. Stern, after all, has been paid over a half billion dollars under his five year contract.
“I didn’t say he’s worth every penny,” Karmazin fired back as he cracked a broad smile. “I’m just saying that it’s been a great relationship. I would love to be able to continue to have that relationship. I think we’re the best place to be. We’d like to have him.”
But Karmazin noted that Stern has to first decide whether he wants to continue doing early morning radio after so many years on the air. “He has to first decide if he wants to. And once he decides that, I think we’d be the right place for him to stay,” Karmazin said.
Asked earlier about competition, the Sirius XM named terrestrial radio, Internet radio, Wi-Fi and insisted that he really likes the position of his company. While the competitors all depend on advertising as their primary revenue stream, his satellite radio company is the only one which gets most of its revenue from subscriptions. Sirius XM, he noted, has the highest revenues of any radio company, topping Clear Channel Radio, the #1 billing company in traditional AM and FM radio.
Karmazin is also optimistic about subscriber additions, now that the auto industry is recovering. Also, Sirius XM has rolled out initiatives to grab buyers of satellite-radio-equipped used cars as subscribers.
RBR-TVBR observation: Should Howard decide he doesn’t want to do a daily show after all these years, he certainly has enough money socked away for a luxurious retirement. But if he wants to keep working, we’d be willing to bet that he’ll come to terms with his old buddy, Mel.