Five more years of Howard Stern on Sirius/XM guaranteed

Howard Stern has been with satellite radio for more than a decade and has guaranteed himself another five years. CREDIT: NBC

Howard Stern has been with satellite radio for more than a decade and has guaranteed himself another five years. CREDIT: NBC

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Yet again, Howard Stern spent weeks kvetching about renewing his contract with Sirius/XM. It had become like a ritual, a way for Stern to vent and complain before doing what he has always done: sign up again to stay on the radio.

But with Stern stepping down this year from “America’s Got Talent” after four seasons, it was widely expected he’d re-up.

Stern is 61. Assuming he will retire at the end of 2020, he will be 66 then.

The deal also gives Sirius/XM another seven years access of his archives beyond 2020.

The legendary talk show host helped bolster satellite radio after leaving terrestrial radio in 2005 and has contributed mightily to the growth of Sirius/XM to close to 30 million subscribers.

Stern will still talk about what type of porn he watches and his private parts, but as this Washington Post story notes, he also does insightful long-form interviews of stars, from Lady Gaga talking about sexually assaulted to Madonna dating Tupac to Channing Tatum slagging one of his own films. The Post story noted that some old fans think he’s gotten soft and politically correct in his older age.

Most folks would envy Stern’s schedule. He works from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Mondays through Wednesdays and takes eight vacation weeks a year. But 12 hours a week of Stern is far better than no hours a week for his die-hard fans.

The new deal includes plans for SiriusXM to launch its first venture into video streaming products with Stern. Details of the video content is TBA.

Financial details were not released.  Sirius has been paying $80 million a year for the show in the last five years, according to The Hollywood Reporter. (Stern does not pocket all that money. He uses part of it to pay his extensive staff and generate content.)

“I happen to think that its best days are ahead,” Stern said in a statement. “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.”

His wife Beth Stern told “Fox & Friends” that she is happy he isn’t juggling both “AGT” and the radio show anymore.

“You know what, when he was doing ‘America’s Got Talent’ I only wanted him to be home so now that he’s doing the radio show without ‘America’s Got Talent,’ I think I’m gonna be happy – happier than I have been for the last few years… He wasn’t finished yet so there are five more years of amazing radio to come.”

While Stern was popular in many markets on FM radio in syndication in the 1990s and early 2000s, he never landed a deal on an Atlanta rock station. That fueled all sorts of speculation that there was some sort of backdoor deal that ensured his absence from the city. I have never been able to confirm any conspiracy theories.

In 2010, Stern did talk about not being in Atlanta. He said he heard the excuse that in Atlanta, advertisers would have balked buying ads around his show. “Many times they’d tell me they can’t expand my radio stations, you’re too outrageous, we can’t put you on in Atlanta. I was fed up,” Stern said.

Without Stern, 96rock in the late 1990s was able to cultivate a local show that aped elements of Stern: the Regular Guys. That show lasted in multiple incarnations until a year ago. There is nothing quite that edgy on Atlanta radio nowadays.

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