Howard Stern Renews Deal With Sirius XM for Another 5 Years

Deal Includes a Video-Programming Venture

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Howard Stern waves to supporters following his final broadcast on Viacom's CBS Radio network in 2005.
Howard Stern waves to supporters following his final broadcast on Viacom's CBS Radio network in 2005. Credit: Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg News

Howard Stern has signed a new contract with SiriusXM, ending speculation he might walk away from satellite radio, as he once did from broadcast, and try his hand at internet radio.

The 12-year agreement calls for Mr. Stern, who will turn 62 in January, to host the "The Howard Stern Show" on SiriusXM for the next five years as well as start a video-programming venture, according to a statement Tuesday. Mr. Stern, whose previous five-year deal with SiriusXM was set to expire Wednesday, first reported the new contract on his morning show.

Mr. Stern remains one of the top rainmakers in American radio almost a decade after leaving broadcast. Though terms of the deal weren't disclosed, Bank of America analyst Jessica Reif Cohen estimates that Mr. Stern will make $90 million a year in salary, up from $80 million in his current contract. The show will turn 10 in January.

"I happen to think that its best days are ahead," Mr. Stern said in the statement. Then, in his trademark provoking tone, he continued: "So, if you are not listening to SiriusXM and 'The Howard Stern Show,' then you are really more like a zombie, a rotting corpse monster, living half a life, deadened and blackened inside. It's as if you were still watching black and white television while shopping in actual stores on your way to the post office to fax a memo."

Mr. Stern, who fled terrestrial radio to escape the scrutiny of federal regulators and advertisers, had been entertaining the possibility of moving to another medium, including internet radio. He said he'd be open to almost any scenario -- except podcasting. "If you want to be in radio, forget a podcast," he told his audience earlier this year. "Podcasts are for losers."

As part of the deal, SiriusXM will get to use Mr. Stern's vast archive of audio and video performances spanning his more-than 30-year career in broadcasting. Patrick Reilly, a spokesman for SiriusXM, declined to comment on how much Mr. Stern will make under his new contract.

The company, controlled by Liberty Media and billionaire cable magnate John Malone, has developed a large U.S. following, particularly among high-end car owners with built-in satellite radio. When "The Howard Stern Show" debuted in January 2006, satellite radio was still an unproven medium. Since then the company merged with rival XM and now has 29 million subscribers.

Liberty Media last month announced the creation of tracking stocks for SiriusXM and the Atlanta Braves baseball, creating pure-play investments for those assets. The tracking stocks were the latest of many complicated financial maneuvers that have enabled Mr. Malone's empire to save taxes and develop targeted investments over the years.

-- Bloomberg News

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