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Bill Loguidice's picture

Howard Stern Signs New Five Year Deal with Sirius XM - Misses out on Setting New Podcasting Standards

In an interesting turn of events, with only a few shows left on his initial five year Sirius XM contract, Howard Stern announced this morning that he's just signed a new five year deal there, likely bringing him at the age of nearly 62 to what will be the end of his storied radio show as we know it at that time. While many fans such as myself were anxiously waiting to see what Stern would decide since he's just about the only reason left not to listen all but exclusively to podcasts, many of us also thought that it was all but a given he would embark on said podcasting as his new career path. After all, if someone like Adam Carolla can be the biggest name in podcasting right now, someone of Stern's caliber and gravitas would send it through the stratosphere. After all, this is the same Howard Stern and show that helped Sirius go from struggling with 600,000 subscribers and being overshadowed by XM, to now having greater than 20,000,000 subscribers and being the initiator (rather than the recipient) of a merger with XM, which is how it's now Sirius XM. Obviously, faced with the very real prospect of losing countless millions subscribers (me among them) if Stern didn't re-sign, Sirius XM worked extra hard to get a deal done at the last minute. It also sounds like Stern will also get a further reduction in work schedule at some point and finally also be available on the Sirius XM mobile app (with his absence causing many of us not to have bothered with it, particularly with the extra fee post merger).

So why do I bring this up? I was fully expecting the outdated idea of satellite radio - which was a good idea before ubiquitous mobile devices that could either download content or stream content over the Internet - to go the way of the dodo if Stern left and for podcasting to take its rightful place as the premiere form of on demand content distribution (along with live streaming when appropriate). As it is now, Stern bought satellite another five years and that gives Sirius XM five more years to shore up their content and technology when they're faced with inevitably the same issue again they were faced with right up until this morning's official announcement. So, while fans such as myself are satisfied that Stern will be back (albeit under apparently more limited scheduling on an already frustratingly reduced schedule), I believe many of us also have a sense of disappointment that the next five years of his show could have been another revolution and one where he could have truly been the owner and master of his domain. As it stands now, it's business as usual, and that's not the Stern way. At least it wasn't the Stern way. I guess we all lose our edge at some point...

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