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June 2, 2004


The Future of Radio

Howard Stern has spent the past few days waxing poetic on the great debt he owes his boss, Viacom President and COO Mel Karmazin. With yesterday's formal announcement that Karmazin is leaving Viacom, Stern has pretty much promised that he will leave Infinity Broadcasting when his contract is up. Stern has openly dumped on corporate radio since his FCC fracas earlier this year, so much so that his website even has a countdown to the second his contract expires.

Love him or hate him, the power of Stern is undeniable. If, as he has hinted, Howard takes his show to satellite radio, millions of listeners will follow. Stern is at a point now where he could single-handedly change the future of radio.

While Clear Channel's stock prices have sunk lower and lower, the subscriber base for both XM and Sirius satellite radio is steadily growing. Although XM is currently the larger of the two, its ties to Clear Channel (which owns 3% of the company) may not help in the future. Stern's vendetta against Clear Channel makes it more likely that he will go to Sirius if he makes the leap.

Stern's listeners are more than loyal, they're fanatical. Will they pay $10 - $13 a month to hear about Chynna Phillips? lesbian experiments? Hell yes, they will. And at the same time, they'll have access to a new kind of broadcasting: commercial-free (in Sirius' case), wide-ranging, and uncensored.

categories: Business, Celebrities, Media, News
posted by Emily at 2:12 PM | #