No news on the Howard Stern front


With Howard Stern’s contract due to expire the end of this month, you can expect Sirius XM executives to be asked about Stern every time they appear in public. CFO David Frear made a presentation to the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference on Monday (12/6) and, sure enough, he was asked about Stern.

But Frear really had nothing new to say. He noted that Stern’s last live show before his usual holiday break will be next week, December 16th – and that contract talks are continuing.

CEO Mel Karmazin has indicated numerous times that the company cannot renew Stern at his current $100 million per year, which grew to well over $600 million, including bonuses, over the five-year term. And Frear noted that the company is trying to get better terms on all of its contracts as they come up for renewal – an unspoken benefit of XM and Sirius no longer competing for content deals.

Terms of the recent NFL renewal were not disclosed, but Frear noted that the NFL content is basically created for television, so the satellite radio deal is just a way for the football league to bring in a little more money. Stern, on the other hand, is making original content exclusively for Sirius XM. “Howard has been a great partner for us,” Frear said.

The CFO noted recent talk that Stern might want to go to Internet delivery. “Monetization on the Internet still is very dicey,” Frear said.

“We’re hopeful that Howard will remain with Sirius XM. We think he can have a great future with us. It’s certainly been a great relationship the last few years,” Frear said. So, stay tuned.