Is Howard Serious About Leaving Sirius?
December 18, 2008 at 6:03 AM (PT)
Three years after he changed the radio game by jumping from the free airwaves to SIRIUS satellite, HOWARD STERN is thinking out loud about leaving altogether, writes DAVID HINKLEY in THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS. He raised that prospect on his show last week, and while radio retirement is a notion he's floated often, he didn't back down when he returned MONDAY, saying, "I don't know what I'll do."
If he does leave, it could cause a second seismic shift in the still somewhat fragile satellite world.
Meanwhile, he has plenty of time to keep this attention-getting ball in the air, since his five-year deal, for which SIRIUS XM is shelling out a half-billion dollars, runs through 2010. CEO MEL KARMAZIN, a STERN booster, thinks it's money well spent. He's been trying for a while, unsuccessfully, to coax STERN into signing an extension.
Some think SIRIUS XM will offer him a Johnny Carson-like deal, where he only has to work on occasion, to keep him home. For STERN, who doesn't need the cash, the issue may be how much he wants a spotlight. He has often said he loves SIRIUS and the freedom of satellite, which has no FCC rules.
Whatever happens, he'll do fine, but his departure could put satellite at a crossroads, just as his 2006 departure rocked free radio hard enough that his ex-employer, CBS, is still recovering.