Howard Stern announced today that he’d be going to Sirius, the satellite delivered radio service, a year from January. Whether Viacom will find it in their best interest to keep him on the air for that year plus period is certainly being debated now.
I had speculated earlier that Stern would be part of the post-Janet Jackson fallout. Mel Karmazin is no longer at Viacom, and he was Stern’s biggest supporter. I was probably wrong in connecting this to Janet Jackson… though maybe not 100%.
The whole Super Bowl, wardrobe malfunction affair has driven radio station operators, like Clear Channel, to reassess. Maybe Howard is feeling reigned in a little.
I see two interesting outcomes from this move. As little as I personally appreciate Howard Stern, he is a powerful force with his audience. He will give credibility to Sirius – get them additional subscribers. Their stock (not particularly pricey to begin with) is up almost 15% as I write this.
The second effect will be felt by people who don’t listen to Stern and don’t subscribe to satellite radio. Just as more adult or racy content on HBO, Showtime and even MTV, led the broadcast networks to spice up their programming to compete, a good showing by Stern might force the same shift on radio.
It would be ironic if Stern’s move off-air ends up moving on-air toward his type of content.
This is a story that isn’t completely played out by any means.