This weekend, the interwebs were a buzz with rumors regarding Howard Stern’s on-air contract status. Howard’s contract with Sirius/XM Satellite Radio expires after only 11 more shows so speculation is running rampant as he has been (intentionally) tight-lipped on his radio show about any talks or possibilities.
This weekend it was “leaked” that Stern was close to signing a 3-year $600M deal with Apple to host a show on one of Apple’s media outlets… iTunes, Apple TV or AirPlay. The deal would make perfect sense for Apple who would become an instant contender in the realm of online TV and radio by bringing in Stern’s cult following. One would assume, though, that Stern’s act would be too racy for that of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Cash has always been king though, and Apple would rake in the cash with such a deal.
Stern signed a 5-year $500M deal with Sirius in 2006. At the time, Sirius had 500,000 subscribers and was second in a two-horse race in the satellite radio genre behind XM Radio. Since that time, the two satellite radio companies have merged and total subscribers are said to have recently eclipsed 20 million. Is that all Stern’s doing? We will know soon enough if he does not renew his deal and subscribers start dropping like flies.
Since the time the reports starting surfacing regarding an Apple deal, it has supposedly been revealed as a hoax on Twitter. Stern addressed the rumors this morning, but was still very tight-lipped about it, leaving doubts that the possibility might be a valid one. Obviously a strategic move since I’m sure he has been talking with several different media outlets over the past few months. Stern has even hinted at starting his own internet radio company.
HowardStern.com, the show’s official site, is owned by Stern himself and not by his employer, so even if he goes off the air without any new news about a future contract, fans can stay in touch with current news via the website… which frequently crashes due to heavy traffic when Stern sends his fans there.