Readers: Stern won’t wow on satellite
Many think there's more hype than substance
December 15, 2005
There’s been nearly endless hoopla this week over Howard Stern’s departure from terrestrial radio today to join Sirius Satellite Radio.
But for many media buyers and planners, all the hype is much ado about nothing.
In a Media Life poll earlier this week, more than a third of respondents predict that Stern’s move will turn out to be a flop. Further, an even larger share, two thirds, don’t think his presence is going to do as much to drive satellite radio adoption as Sirius and some forecasters are predicting.
And a good portion of them are just plain sick of hearing about Howard.
Media Life asked readers: What will be the most significant development to come out of Stern’s move to Sirius?
Some 35.5 percent agreed with the statement: The big move’s failure. It’s laughable Sirius paid this man $500 million. His audience was dropping, many don’t have the money to follow him to satellite, and satellite’s capable of catching on without him. I think this will go down as a huge blunder.
Almost as many think Stern’s defection will have its largest impact on the stations he’s leaving behind, with 28.6 percent agreeing that: Their ad sales will plummet because they used Stern to sell other dayparts.
A somewhat smaller group see Stern’s move as a positive for satellite, with 27.3 percent agreeing that: Between new subscribers buying Sirius for Stern and competitor XM’s price breaks to woo them away, satellite radio as a whole will be the huge winner in all of this.
And how much will Stern’s defection help pump satellite subscriptions?
Less than one might think, believe most readers.
Fifty-five percent responded: Some but not as much as Stern or Sirius would have you believe. Satellite radio was on a steep growth curve already, and I’m not convinced most of Stern’s fans will follow him. And another 13.3 percent think not much at all.
Barely a third, 32 percent, think subscriptions will skyrocket.
Stern has been quite vocal about why he is moving to satellite radio, to escape the restrictions of the Federal Communications Commission.
We asked, Who do you side with in the Stern-FCC debate? and a large majority, two-thirds, said they sided with Stern. Just one-third chose the FCC.
Without the FCC to tether him, Stern is expected to cook up some wild stunts when he debuts on Sirius Jan. 9. We asked for predictions.
We got the answers one might expect. Many readers think he’ll get a couple to have sex live on the air, and some predicted a rainbow of curse words. Something very disgusting and porn related is the way one writer put it.
But a lot of readers really aren’t interested. He’s leaving. Big deal. I think we will survive, writes one. And another opines: Who cares? I’m glad he’s gone. It will open up mornings for buyers that have had to pass on the stations because of him.
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