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Howard Stern on Tuesday announced he has re-upped with satellite radio firm SiriusXM — where his contract was set to expire at the end of the month — for another five years on the air.
Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed, but for the past five years the company has been paying $80 million annually for Stern’s show, which is live three days a week.
“This morning I am very very pleased to announce and excited to announce that we’ll be here for the next five years,” Stern told his audience (audio below).
Sirius said the deal was part of a broader “12-year agreement, under which legendary broadcaster Stern will continue to produce and host The Howard Stern Show on SiriusXM for the next five years.” It added: “The deal includes plans for SiriusXM to launch its first venture into video programming with Stern.” The video plans will be announced at a future date and “will include video of The Howard Stern Show as well as the Howard Stern archives and special programming,” the company said.
Stern himself mentioned plans for a video app, saying in a statement: “I am living a dream here on satellite radio, and [SiriusXM CEO] Jim Meyer is my life partner, and the baby we are about to have is our new streaming video app.”
The 12-year deal covers Sirius’ use of Stern’s audio and video library “drawn from performances, specials and shows spanning his more than 30-year broadcasting career.”
Said Stern about the new deal: “As a broadcaster, it does not get better than working at SiriusXM, and I’m truly excited for the future with this great company. I happen to think that its best days are ahead. So, if you are not listening to SiriusXM and The Howard Stern Show, then you are really more like a zombie, a rotting corpse monster, living half a life, deadened and blackened inside. It’s as if you were still watching black-and-white television while shopping in actual stores on your way to the post office to fax a memo.”
Said Meyer: “This is a unique and pioneering agreement, which includes SiriusXM licensing the Howard Stern archives in both audio and video through 2027. We look forward to working with Howard to offer the Howard Stern experience through new platforms. In 2006, when Howard launched his two uncensored satellite radio channels — Howard 100 and Howard 101 — he transformed how people listen to radio. We are thrilled that Howard is staying and expanding his relationship with SiriusXM to include video.”
When Stern first struck a deal a decade ago to move his show from terrestrial to celestial radio, Sirius was paying $100 million a year for his services four days a week.
Insiders say that Stern’s salary isn’t as much as SiriusXM pays out because much of it goes toward expenses for the show. Nevertheless, Stern has made a small fortune off of SiriusXM, including $250 million in bonuses when Sirius hit certain subscriber milestones earlier in its incarnation.
Since then, Sirius and XM have merged, removing the need for the two to bid against each other for content, presumably driving the price down for talent. Hence, it wasn’t surprising when Meyer acknowledged a month ago that a sticking point for re-signing Stern was how much he’d be paid.
In fact, a seeming pet peeve of Stern’s is any suggestion of a pay cut, given his on-air protests five years ago when journalists reported his annual salary had dropped from $100 million to $80 million but failed to mention he’d be putting in fewer hours.
Stern should have more free time after recently retiring as a judge on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. In 2010, he and Sirius struck a five-year deal, which Stern called his “final five years in radio.”
While SiriusXM won’t disclose how many of its 29 million subscribers tune in to Stern, analysts view the host as an important retention tool. Indeed, scores of fans have taken to social media and have called the show to declare they’d cancel the service without Stern.
Prior to Stern’s announcement he’d be sticking with SiriusXM, there were rumors he’d strike on-demand deals with Apple Music or Netflix, or go it alone in a manner similar to Adam Carolla, purveyor of the world’s most downloaded podcast.
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