Karmazin says tune to Stern for contract updates


Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin had nothing new to report in his quarterly conference call on whether the company will renew its contract with Howard Stern. But he did have some advice for analysts on how to keep abreast of the latest on the negotiations.

Although the contract to hire Stern for five years at more than a half billion bucks was signed before Karmazin joined the company, the CEO called it “an absolutely great decision” and said “bringing Howard to Sirius was a great call.” According to Karmazin, who had been Stern’s boss previously at Infinity/CBS, the radio star “has done his best work” in the past four years, since leaving AM and FM radio for satellite. Karmazin noted that the spot load on satellite is a maximum of six minutes per hour, as opposed to 22 minutes on broadcast radio, so by his count listeners get about an hour more of content in the four hour show and the “minimal commercial advertising mode” allows Stern to do his best work. (Karmazin did not mention that Stern, though, has millions fewer listeners because of the move to satellite.)

“He has been a great partner. We would like to continue doing business together,” said Karmazin, noting that Stern’s contract does not include any deadline for negotiating a renewal. “So we have nothing to announce today.”

“My suggestion for those that are interested, and I’m sure many of you are, is tune to Howard 100, because he will be providing you with regular updates. Howard talks about his life regularly. And I’m sure as he talked about it this morning, he will continue to talk about it and when we have something to announce we’ll announce it,” the CEO advised analysts.