Should Howard Stern Do a Podcast?

Feb 12th, 2009 | By | Category: General, Making Money with Podcasts, Podcasting

Talk throughout the business world seems certain that satellite radio behemoth XM/Sirius filing for bankruptcy in the coming days. If this indeed comes to pass, what’s to become of those big-name, big money radio personalities who stand to lose a hefty salary?

Howard Stern left terrestrial radio (and an estimated 12 million listeners) for satellite, where he commands a staggering $100 million/year salary. If satellite radio goes “poof!”, what happens to him?

It’s been suggested that maybe he should consider syndicating his show as a podcast.

In an exchange with Entertainment Weekly, marketing expert and Stern show fan Ernest Lupinacci suggests that Stern produce the show on his own, and, in the business model of Ricky Gervais, sell it to paying subscribers as a premium podcast.

“In the new digital age, distribution is fungible,” Ernest wrote, adding that if Stern builds himself a studio, he can record a daily show and then easily distribute it to subscribers. Let’s say he has 3 million listeners willing to pay just $3 per month for daily podcasts. (As compared to Sirius XM’s $12.95 monthly rate.) That’s $108 million in revenue a year. And, Ernest adds, “he could hire a competent sales guy, and if they can generate (conservatively) another million a month in ad revenue — that’s $12 million more.” It ain’t Sirius money, and he’d likely have to pare down his staff, but it’s enough to keep his core group of cohosts and producers happy, with a little money left over…

There are plenty of advantages to this idea, both for Stern, and for his audience. The costs of producing and distributing a show this way is small. There’s some cost involved in outfitting a recording studio, but if he’s making $100 MM/year, he can probably afford a modest setup.  The Internet is already there as a distribution method, and there are no multi-billion-dollar satellites required for creating a delivery network.

Most audience members presumably already have a computer (and portable listening gadgets like iPods, Zunes, and multitasking mobile phones), as well as Internet connections. Listeners wouldn’t have to shell out for additional hardware (as Stern’s satellite subscribers have had to do). And charging a subscription fee would probably cost listeners far less than the $12.95/mo charged by satellite providers.

Stern might be able to woo back more listeners with a modestly-priced show, listeners who did not follow him to satellite due to the cost. And his audience would likely appreciate the opportunity to time-shift their listening to the show to suit their own schedules.

What disadvantages or roadblocks might there be for big-name satellite radio hosts (Martha Stewart, Bob Edwards, Howard Stern, even Bob Dylan) to shift their XM and Sirius shows to a premium podcast medium?

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20 Responses to “Should Howard Stern Do a Podcast?”

  1. Final Taxi says:

    Why would anyone need Howard Stern when podcasting already has Keith and the Girl??

  2. Sure, why not? I ignored him on air, via satellite and now I will be able to ignore him on the internet too.

    I hate to say this, but I’m less bothered by the thought of sharing a cable with him that I would be sharing it with Rush Limbaugh.

    Keep rush and the ditto-heads of the web. They’ll just shit up the place.

  3. Chuck says:

    Didn’t Howard Stern whine about blogs and podcasts recently? He probably will anyway for the hope of a few more bucks, but pleh, i’m with charles-a here
    http://garyvaynerchuk.com/2008/11/06/a-reaction-to-howard-sterns-thought-on-social-networks-social-media-and-blogs/

  4. Steve says:

    lol podcast. why would anyone go from radio to podcast. these radio personalities have so much money anyway. if things were to go “poof” at sirius xm they would quit. all this talk of sirius xm going under is stupid. the company will not go under. sirius xm has a combined 20 million subscribers. its the second largest subscription based company in the us. some other company with billions in cash will buy it up. direct tv? or some other satellite company. the music alone is worth getting the service if you dont care for the talk radio.

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  7. trevor says:

    I would follow that show anywhere, Bubba too! I hope they stay though, I got alot into satellite already.

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