Howard Stern's eventual move to Sirius Satellite Radio has been the hottest topic of discussion f
or the last week, with the question being asked most - will Infinity let Howard serve out the last fifteen months of his contract? Or will they pull the plug? FMQB readers weigh in with their thoughts. Want to be heard? E-mail us by clicking here.
Considering everything that has happened to Stern throughout his career, this man is entitled to say whatever he wants, whenever he wants, to be directed at whoever he wants. If Johnny Carson was the single biggest star ever produced by television then Howard Stern is the biggest star radio ever produced. Bigger than Jack Benny or Bob Hope, bigger than Imus or Rush, he's even bigger than the Beatles and when he's gone from conventional radio his talent or anything like him will be gone forever...at least for free. Radio can either drop it's double standards and compete with satellite or it can fade into memory, the home of recorded and automated weather reports and reel-to-reels of continuous Classic Country.
Richard Cason, stand-up comic
Yes, he will stay on. While the counter argument is that Infinity is providing a 15 month commercial for Sirius radio, the opposite is also true. That is, Howard both through his political activism of the last year and now the move to satellite radio, has become "must listen" radio for his stations and their fans.
He's currently enjoying his strongest ratings in years and I see that trend not only continuing, but growing stronger, the closer we come to his end date for his current deal and the start of the satellite program. This offers Infinity a unique opportunity from an advertising revenue standpoint. I think advertisers are going to pay a premimum to be a part of the last days of Howard Stern on commercial FM radio.
Mark Adams, Director of Programming Rose City Radio & PD KXJM/Portland
Viacom should definitely let him remain. If the rumors are true and Howard is partnering up with Viacom & Sirius don't you think maybe the game plan will be this.... Uncensored on Sirius....and bleeped on K-Rock and the affiliates (as it is now).... Multi-tier the show and everyone wins BIG! REAL BIG!
Johnny Gardner, PD/GM, WROF (Radio14fun.com), West Hartford,CT
If Radio hadn't spent so much time consolidating itself and focusing so much power with so few personalities and not developing new talent, they wouldn't be in such a jam. No industry should be so shallow in the talent pool that by losing one marquee player they would suffer so much damage.
Unfortunately, (unless there is a licensing agreement or some co-ownership of Sirius by Infinity), the big loser is the one company who stood behind Howard and backed him against the mighty FCC that Howard rails against. The big winner is the company who dumped him - Clear Channel.
But was Howard really into the medium of radio in the first place? Too many people think that there should be loyalty to the medium of radio....but why? How loyal is the medium to it's work force? Any on air personality can get fired on a whim (or replaced with voicetracking), at any time. There is no loyalty to the talent from radio, so why should there be any loyalty to radio by Howard or any other talent?
Dwight Arnold, APD/MD, KMRJ/Palm Springs
Of course he should stay. Viacom would do well to negotiate some kind of compensation from Sirius however to let him do his 15-month commercial... say, a big hunk of cheap stock options.
Dan Millen, Rock On! Boston
Infinity is learning what a foolish move they made in the way they allowed Mel Karmazin to handle Opie & Anthony - first by permiting Stern to censor their show, then by keeping them off the air for two years at full pay. Instead of being able to promote Opie & Anthony to the morning slot, which would have been the logical move in this situation, they now face competition from them and will have to compete against Stern in a year. Stern has no loyalty to Infinity. If he ever had any loyalty to anything besides his paycheck, it was to Karmazin. He will abuse their trust and use their air to promote a competing product - and he must because both he and Sirius will fail if he doesn't bring in Infinity listeners as subscribers. When he goes on his Christmas vacation it should be a permanent one, and they should use the rest of the year to develop new talent, which is something they neglected to do during the Karmazin era.
Craig Hamilton, Listener, Palm Beach
Unless Infinity has God to replace Howard, they'd be very foolish to give up the revenue. I honestly don't see how he can be replaced, hands down he is the best at what he does and his audience will follow him when he leaves, take that to the bank.
Patrick Purcell, ex-WEA Sales Manager
Infinity Broadcasting has probably been kept "in the loop" on this issue. From what I have seen in certain media postings, there is a strong possibility that Infinity will be buying Sirius. If this is the case, then having Howard Stern do four hour "infomercials" for Sirius can't hurt Infinity. Quite frankly, it looks to me like a "win-win" situation.