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
% of Unique Listeners
|Howard Stern||Howard 100||27.7%|
|Howard Stern||Howard 101||14.7%|
|Pop||Sirius XM Hits 1||8.9%|
|Sirius NFL Radio||Sirius NFL Radio||5.8%|
|Pop||Sirius XM Love||5.3%|
|ESPN Radio||ESPN Radio||4.6%|
|Pop||50's on 5||4.3%|
|Hip-Hop/R&B||Heart & Soul||4.2%|
|Pop||70's on 7||4.1%|
|Pop||60's on 6||3.9%|
|Political Talk||Sirius XM Patriot||3.2%|
|Pop||80's on 8||3.1%|
|Rock||The Coffee House||3.0%|
|Rock||E Street Radio||2.9%|
- 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.