With actual content beginning to air on Howard Stern's Sirius channels, Howard 100 & 101, there has been a flurry of news about about the satcaster and its most famous future employee. Sirius announced yesterday (October 19) that it had 58 percent of the satellite radio sales market for September, making it the highest monthly share the satcaster has captured yet. The satcaster sold over 82,000 receivers in September, a 93 percent increase over the same time frame last year and a 52 percent increase over the previous month.
Elsewhere, Sirius and rival XM are battling over available, unused wireless spectrum, which both of the satcasters would like to snatch up to increase their availability. The decision rests with the FCC. According to Forbes, Banc Of America said in a recent research report that the FCC is considering keeping the extra spectrum open as a possible emergency use channel, and not granting it to either satcaster.
Meanwhile, Stern himself gave an interview to the New York Times this week, discussing his future plans, or lack thereof. "I don't know where we're going to go with this thing," he said. "It's going to be kind of fun to figure that out with the audience. I'll ask them, 'Do we want to go there or not? Are we going to cross this line or that line?' " Stern continues, "I have my own personal lines where I won't go," he said. "It's funny, the people hear 'satellite,' they hear 'on demand,' they think, 'Oh good, there's going to be a beheading every week.' That's not it at all." Stern also revealed that his secondary channel would be loosely based on the '60's and '70's "Good Guys" jocks of New York, though they wouldn't be that "good."
A report in The Washington Post looks at Stern's most recent ratings and sees his listeners abandoning him before he leaves them for Sirius. At WJFK/Washington, D.C., Stern's 25-54 listeners dropped off by almost a third during the Summer ratings period. In his home base of New York, Stern lost approximately 15 percent of his audience, though his numbers are still so huge, he ended up in a tie for first place in mornings. Michael Hughes, who oversees Infinity's D.C. cluster, told the Post, "[Stern's] focus has shifted [to Sirius], and the listeners have picked up on that."
Last but not least, Sirius has rolled out a pair of new receivers that retail for less than $50, their least-expensive devices yet. The Sirius One and XACT Visor both are priced at $49.99 and the company touts that "Consumers who want to make the switch to Sirius Satellite Radio before Howard Stern comes on board in January can put the inexpensive Sirius One or the XACT Visor on their holiday gift lists guilt-free."