Can a Podcast Service Lure Howard Stern From Sirius XM?

Videos by OutKick

SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer said last week he plans to “pick up the pace” on contract talks with Howard Stern. Stern’s contract with Sirius expires in December. Meyer admitted the growing threat of the podcast industry will be an obstacle.

“I think the issue in the renewal with Howard is what does Howard want to do going forward now that he’s seen, you know, what is going on in podcasting,” Meyer said at the CSFB media conference. 

Reports have varied on what SiriusXM pays Stern. Forbes listed it at $90 million per year. Even a year ago, it’d be hard to imagine a competitor matching a salary in that range. Fast forward to today, a rival could top that. SiriusXM has to prepare for Stern to get a Joe Rogan-like offer from one of the podcast services. 

There isn’t a current podcast host that a company can sign that’d counter Spotify’s $100 million deal with Rogan. But moving Stern off radio would be exactly that. Stern is every bit the needle-moving, headline-making voice that Rogan is. Stern is also the only person alive who interviews at a higher level than Rogan.

Stern’s radio show, which only airs three times a week, would seamlessly transition to a podcast. While Stern would lose some of his listeners who are accustomed to listening to his show in their vehicles through the radio feature (yes, not everyone has an aux cord), I doubt he cares — at all. He already gave up a large portion of his audience when he left terrestrial radio for satellite in 2006.

Stern’s large dedicated fan base could even grow over time if his content wasn’t behind a paywall, as it is now. Though, a podcast service could elect to sell the show as a subscription knowing his fans would pay for it.

Stern could also do the same show he’s doing now independently online. Like Rogan has done (but will soon be giving up), Stern could air his show in full — preferably live — on YouTube and then in podcast form everywhere. Stern is a maverick, who could find working for himself appealing. Of course, this could later, in a few years, result in another massive payday if he were to sell or license his show. 

YouTube is a better fit for Stern than it has been for Rogan. Rogan had concerns with YouTube’s censorship. Believe it or not, Stern is a safer voice than Rogan in 2020. Don’t tell the old school Howard fans… 

A streaming service is another intriguing dark-horse option. The streaming wars are even more competitive and convoluted than the battle of the podcasts. The Howard Stern Show would serve as a major boost to Amazon Prime Video. Or as another door for Netflix blocking its competition. Netflix has around 183 million subscribers; SiriusXM only has 34.9 million.

SiriusXM still appears to be the favorite, though. As Meyer pointed out, “Stern is a radio guy.” Stern has said this several times. And while in 2020 podcasting isn’t considered much of a downgrade, Stern, at 66, may see it differently. Either way, I expect there to be aggressive offers elsewhere in the aftermath of Rogan’s deal. 

Howard Stern isn’t the “crazy person,” as he describes his former self, that made him the “King of All Media.” Yet, he’s at worst of the three most entertaining voices in the media today. 

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest topics in media, culture, sports, and politics..

Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcasts and radio stations.

Leave a Reply