What Will You Do Howard Stern?

howard stern

It seems like just yesterday that Howard Stern left FCC sanctioned Terrestrial radio for the freedom of Satellite radio.  Now, as his five-year Sirius XM deal comes to a close, he opens every show by counting down the number of shows remaining.  This leaves many of his fans, including myself, asking:  “What will Howard do next?”

Many have speculated what direction Howard Stern might take after his Sirius XM contract is up.  He could re-up his deal with Sirius XM, go back to Terrestrial radio, move to another Internet based medium, start a Podcast, or, of course, hang up the mic and retire.  If he does decide to leave the world of Satellite radio, Sirius XM could potentially lose a significant portion of its 20 million subscribers.  To figure out what percent of Sirius XM’s subscribers are fans of Howard Stern, I examined what stations people were listening to on Sirius XM Internet Radio.

The table below shows what percent of total Sirius XM Internet Radio listnerers are tuning in to each channel during the month of October.  Keep in mind that these buckets are not mutually exclusive, and one listener can fall into multiple buckets throughout the month. Here’s what I found:

% of Sirius Internet Listeners Tuned into the Top Channels: October 2010

Category
Channel
% of Unique Listeners
Howard SternHoward 10027.7%
Howard SternHoward 10114.7%
PopSirius XM Hits 18.9%
RockClassic Rewind7.7%
Sirius NFL RadioSirius NFL Radio5.8%
RockClassic Vinyl5.7%
PopSirius XM Love5.3%
ESPN RadioESPN Radio4.6%
PopThe Blend4.6%
Hip-Hop/R&BHip-Hop Nation4.5%
Pop50's on 54.3%
Hip-Hop/R&BHeart & Soul4.2%
Pop70's on 74.1%
Pop60's on 63.9%
RockOctane3.7%
CountryThe Highway3.7%
Hip-Hop/R&BThe Heat3.6%
Jazz/BluesWatercolors3.3%
RockThe Bridge3.3%
Political TalkSirius XM Patriot3.2%
Pop80's on 83.1%
RockThe Coffee House3.0%
Rock1st Wave3.0%
RockE Street Radio2.9%
Hip-Hop/R&BSoul Town2.7%

  • Howard Leads the Way: 27.7% and 14.7% of Sirius Internet Listeners tune in to Howard 100 and Howard 101, respectively.   Howard 100 gets over 3x the listeners than any non-Howard station.
  • The Music Keeps Playing: While Howard 100 and Howard 101 lead the way, Sirius XM Hits 1, Classic Rewind, and Classic Vinyl are among the most popular music channels.
  • Keep on Talking: Besides Howard 100 and Howard 101, three other talk channels are in the Top 25 – Sirius NFL Radio, ESPN Radio, and Sirius XM Patriot.

Howard Stern clearly commands a large portion of listeners through Sirius Internet Radio, and I suspect we would see similar trends through the normal (i.e. non-Internet version) Sirius Radio.  The question I ask is:  If Howard Stern were to leave Sirius XM radio, and possibly go to another subscription service, how many subscribers would Sirius XM lose?  Another interesting question relates to how much advertising revenue Sirius XM would lose if Howard Stern left?  Since the music channels are all commercial free, and only a few other talk channels are ranked among the Top 25, losing Howard Stern could cost Sirius XM a lot more than just subscriber revenues – advertising revenues are also at risk

Stern fans like me will be waiting, rather impatiently, to see how these next few weeks play out to find out what Howard’s next move will be.  My only hope is that he doesn’t retire anytime soon and he continues to keep everyone entertained as only he can do.  My vote (in case he is reading!) is that Howard either stays on Sirius XM or starts his own Internet radio subscription service.

Let us know your thoughts on what Howard Stern’s next move should be.

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  1. Rich

    I’m a big Howard fan, I hope he renews – if he doesn’t I’ll cancel my Sirius and move on to another medium – like Pandora or Slacker.

    Reply

  2. Brian LoCicero

    Does your look also include the XM way of logging in to Internet radio (xmradio.com)? Although SIRI has recently been merging the two, they, for a long time, existed as separate entrances into the service and might balance out those that have to purchase a “best of” package to get Howard.

    My concerns are this. a) His contract is one factor that has heavily burdened the merger to try to make any money. b) advertising revenue: have you heard the advertisers on the channels that have it? It’s not really the grade A group that you’d want. Sure they pay their bills but between Adam & Eve, ED pills, Fat-burning pills and penny stock hustlers it’s not really something to hang your hat on. In fact, if they were able to prove their reach to an audience that actually would respond to the call-to-action of a radio ad, they’d be in a far better place these days.

    If Howard leaves (and well, his track record isn’t always that great with fulfilling the promise here as he’s always used it as a bargaining chip) it WILL impact SIRI, but frankly, they might be better off financially and be able to start returning shareholder value.

    I’m struggling with someone who gets paid so much money for only working 4 days a week and about 42-44 weeks a year. (I struggle with what they pay Oprah and Martha too, but it pales in comparison) I don’t think his numbers are really as high as people think, otherwise, SIRI would be more public about them in every attempt to further fight terrestrial.

    For the record I’m a subscriber (on the XM side) and do not buy the Best of package but was a Howard listener for many years on ‘terrestrial’. He’s just not new content anymore and I own a 16-CD set if I want to listen to a best of him every Friday while he’s off in the Hamptons.

    His faithful are very faithful and that’s fine but they don’t see the rest of world with very clear glasses. It will be an interesting watch as the year winds down. If he does go, I wonder what happens to his mentor/funding source Mel Karmazin?

    Reply

    • Chris Bulger

      Great question Brian, this data is only looking at the Sirius portion of their Internet Radio and does not include the Best of XM data.

      Reply

  3. Questioner

    Where did u get these %’s from/ Since you clearly are not Sirius XM I question where they come from?

    Reply

    • Chris Bulger

      Compete has a panel of 2 million US Internet users that opt in and share their Internet usage with us. Using this data we create precise projections of the behavior of the entire US Internet browser population on a monthly basis.

      Using this data, I was able to look at Sirius Internet Radio channels that were listened to in the month of October 2010. If you have any other questions about our data please take a look at our Data Methodology page: http://www.compete.com/resources/methodology/

      Reply

  4. Kent Burns

    I can assure you that the data you have here is not right. Sirus would not release this information even if there was a way to collect it and there is not.

    Reply

    • Chris Bulger

      You are correct Kent, I did not get this data directly from Sirius XM.

      Compete has a panel of 2 million US Internet users that opt in and share their Internet usage with us. Using this data we create precise projections of the behavior of the entire US Internet browser population on a monthly basis.

      Using this data, I was able to look at Sirius Internet Radio channels that were listened to in the month of October 2010. If you have any other questions about our data please take a look at our Data Methodology page: http://www.compete.com/resources/methodology/

      Reply

  5. Dino Wilson

    Howard will leave, but stay. Howard will be exclusive to Sirius XM and will lease the studio he currently occupies from SiriusXM. This is a win win situation for both Howard and SiriusXM. Sirius Saves a bunch of money and Howard through advertising dollars and other revenue streams makes the money he richly deserves and and needs to stroke his enormous ego. Let the revolution go on.

    Reply

  6. Vim

    If he chooses to leave Sirius there will always be a job for a Howard Stern, whether its commercial radio or internet radio.

    Reply

  7. Dave Jackson

    He was offered a bunch of cash to start a podcast by Adam Curry (http://davidjackson.org/2010/06/17/howard-stern-offered-job-in-podcasting-by-adam-curry/) I would LOVE to have him do a Podcast. If serious was smart, they would offer both. I’ve had issues with my sirius equipment, and to be able to get Howard without a radio would be awesome.

    Reply