Clear Channel wants Howard

tsave31

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Tussle for Howard Stern May Have Started

Clear Channel's Hogan says his company is the logical choice for the shock jock. Sirius XM may not be able to afford another $500 million contract

By Olga Kharif

Let the tussle over Howard Stern begin. Just weeks into the last year of his contract with Sirius XM Radio (SIRI), the shock jock kicked off speculation about where he'll work next. "I actually have an offer," Stern said during a Jan. 21 broadcast. "Well, not a bona fide offer, but people have been making them."

Stern didn't say who reached out, but the largest U.S. radio broadcaster made a public overture the following day. Clear Channel Communications Inc. told Bloomberg BusinessWeek that it may be interested in signing Stern, whose five-year contract expires at the end of 2010.

The interest hinges on whether Stern, whose on-air profanities resulted in fines from the Federal Communications Commission, would be willing to work "within the limitations" of free over-the-air radio, said John Hogan, chief executive of the radio division of San Antonio-based Clear Channel. "We clearly have both the willingness and the financial wherewithal to consider high-profile talent," Hogan said in an e-mailed statement Jan. 22. "We would be the most logical company for him to optimize his exposure and financial return."

Sirius XM, which averted bankruptcy last year after John Malone's Liberty Media Corp. bought a 40% stake in exchange for $530 million in loans, may not be able to afford to renew the radio talk-show host's existing contract, worth $500 million, said Tuna Amobi, an analyst at Standard & Poor's. "Even if (a new contract) were half of what it was before, it would still be a major financial burden for Sirius," Amobi says. "It's a totally different game."

Changed Landscape
The radio landscape has changed substantially since 2005, when Stern struck an agreement to work for what was then Sirius Satellite Radio. At the time, competition between Sirius and XM Satellite Radio, the only two satellite radio providers, drove up the value of Stern's contract. The two companies have since merged and growth in satellite radio plummeted amid the recession. In 2006, the first year of Stern's contract, Sirius attracted 2.7 million new subscribers. Last year, the enlarged company had a net subscriber loss of 231,098.

Terrestrial radio stations have faced challenges, too, amid declining demand for on-air advertising and increasing competition from digital music and online radio. "I'd be very surprised if any of these guys gives him a mega contract," Amobi says. In December, Citadel Broadcasting filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Many radio companies have been signing up talent to shorter, one- to two-year deals, says Eric Weiss, who manages radio personalities such as Casey Kasem and Dave Koz. "Some older, better-paid people migrate out of the business," says Glenn Goldstein, who manages regional radio talent. "Younger, hungrier people are coming in."

Stern has other options, Weiss says. He could found his own radio network, which could distribute its content online or through terrestrial and satellite radio stations, Weiss says. He could partner with an online radio provider, as well.

Clear Channel: We Can Afford It
Hogan says Clear Channel's recent addition of such personalities as Rush Limbaugh and Ryan Seacrest is a sign it can afford high-profile talent. At the same time, public overtures could also drive up the cost to Sirius XM of renewing Stern's contract, undermining the company's ability to add other expensive personalities.

Stern left CBS Corp.'s (CBS) radio division in 2005, citing pressure from the FCC, which imposed fines and other penalties for violations of rules against the use of profanity. In 2004, Clear Channel removed Stern's show from stations in six cities to curb on-air use of sexually explicit and other indecent material. Stern's agent, Don Buchwald, didn't respond to requests for comment.

Stern would have to abide by FCC rules if he were to rejoin terrestrial radio, Hogan said. "The question is: Can Stern generate significant audience, and do [so] within the limitations placed on free over-the-air broadcasters by the FCC?" Hogan said in his e-mail.

Patrick Reilly, a spokesman for New York-based Sirius XM didn't respond to requests for comment. In a December interview with Charlie Rose, Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin called Stern "an absolutely incredible moneymaker for us as well as for himself." He indicated he'd like to keep Stern on Sirius. "He's a great partner and my hope is (that we can) figure out a way to keep him," Karmazin told Rose.



Tussle for Howard Stern May Have Started - BusinessWeek
 

kryptonite

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The same Clear Channel who fired him over indecency disputes and said they were "cleaning up their act?"
The same Clear Channel who then, despite claiming they were "cleaning up their act" continued to display billboards advertising adult businesses?
The same Clear Channel he completely railed against and told his fans to boycott?
The same Clear Channel who fired his co-worker over a skit gone wrong? (The pig deal)
The same Clear Channel who was the target of the "Howard fist?"
The same Clear Channel who Howard was talking about when he yelled "Fuck Clear Channel!" on Sirius?

Yeah. CC, you may want Howard, but you're not gonna get him.
 
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Jleimer

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No way in hell he joins if he does hell freezes over personally I dont listen to him but he is somebody that isnt a censorship comittee boy.
 

Spokker

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The Howard Stern Show has always been about Howard the Hypocrite. That's part of the show's appeal for me. If he goes to Clear Channel, hearing him try to justify it to his fans would be great entertainment.
 

rickster53

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The same Clear Channel who fired him over indecency disputes and said they were "cleaning up their act?"
The same Clear Channel who then, despite claiming they were "cleaning up their act" continued to display billboards advertising adult businesses?
The same Clear Channel he completely railed against and told his fans to boycott?
The same Clear Channel who fired his co-worker over a skit gone wrong? (The pig deal)
The same Clear Channel who was the target of the "Howard fist?"
The same Clear Channel who Howard was talking about when he yelled "Fuck Clear Channel!" on Sirius?

Yeah. CC, you may want Howard, but you're not gonna get him.

The same Clear Channel about whom Howard said on Thursday " I can't imagine working for Clear Channel"?
 

kingchuck69

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Let's not forget that Howard has made his peace with many of his former enemies, like Chevy Chase and Bubba the Love Sponge.

If CC re-signs Howard, it'll show how screwed up they were by canning him in the 1st place. It's their "white flag" to say the least.

However, there's a few CC stations that are perfect fits for Howard; one example is 101.3 The Fox here in Grand Rapids, which hasn't had a morning show since canning Bob and Tom a few months ago. Also, their ratings have never been anything special since flipping to Classic Rock in 2001.
 

jef

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Oct 12, 2008
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I can see ways where Howard might go to Clear Channel. I can imagine that Don would negotiate all sorts of things into the contract that would allow Howard some form of control.
- No Dead-air Dave on a button (1 button only, controlled by Howard)
- No worrying about context and "is this appropriate usage" BS for dumb things like talking about bodily functions
- All fines fought in court and if necessary paid for by Clear Channel
- X amount of money/time/resources spent working to fix the FCC (lobbying, etc), not to "clean up" their own airwaves. Lots of the western world hears some profanity on TV & radio, and no one dies because of it.
- Shorter work days. Not sure you could sell terrestrial on short work weeks, so I'd guess fewer hours. Or at least a real show ending at 10am

Those are just some things that pop to the top of my head. Not sure that there is anything that isn't negotiable when it comes to KoaM potentially returning to save, or at least slow the death of, radio.
 

kryptonite

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Oct 21, 2008
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I can see ways where Howard might go to Clear Channel. I can imagine that Don would negotiate all sorts of things into the contract that would allow Howard some form of control.
- No Dead-air Dave on a button (1 button only, controlled by Howard)
- No worrying about context and "is this appropriate usage" BS for dumb things like talking about bodily functions
- All fines fought in court and if necessary paid for by Clear Channel
- X amount of money/time/resources spent working to fix the FCC (lobbying, etc), not to "clean up" their own airwaves. Lots of the western world hears some profanity on TV & radio, and no one dies because of it.
- Shorter work days. Not sure you could sell terrestrial on short work weeks, so I'd guess fewer hours. Or at least a real show ending at 10am


Those are just some things that pop to the top of my head. Not sure that there is anything that isn't negotiable when it comes to KoaM potentially returning to save, or at least slow the death of, radio.



You could PERHAPS sell testicle radio on "Fridays off in the summer." Howard actually did this one summer back in K-Rock circa 2004 or so.

Could you imagine everyone imploding if Howard tried to end the show at 10:00, or 9:56? Many people are already imploding when he tries to rush through things at 10:35 AM.
 

JHDK

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i doubt im the only one who feels that it would be a huge bummer for stern to go back to cc or any other of the testicle radio companies. i expected this sirius thing to be crazier than it has been. i was thinking that more of that bubba type stuff, like when shit hits the fan, would go on after the move to sirius. however, even though i expected more, i would be saddened if i had to deal with even less with him back on regular radio. too bad there isnt enough money for him in podcasts or shit like that.

i hope sirius comes up with the money to pay the man. they will go under without him. but then again regular radio pretty much has gone under without him so perhaps they will recognize their mistake and throw a shit ton of money at him. that would be sad.

fuck clear channel!!! and fuck jackie!!! and fuck timmy!!!

-jhdk
 

Biaviian

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Nov 17, 2008
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The Howard Stern Show has always been about Howard the Hypocrite. That's part of the show's appeal for me. If he goes to Clear Channel, hearing him try to justify it to his fans would be great entertainment.

I agree 100%. I'm actually hoping he goes back there just to hear the justification.
 

JHDK

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I agree 100%. I'm actually hoping he goes back there just to hear the justification.

am i missing the joke? would you actually want the show to go back to being edited to hell just for a few days of howie eating his words?

-jhdk
 

tsave31

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To me, people are saying that Sirius cannot afford to pay him at what he is making now. But, Sirius just reported its financials and had positive cash flow.............with Howard on the books. So, if they are making money now with Howard on the books....


...just saying. I don't understand how people can just outright say Sirius cannot afford him.
 

jef

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Oct 12, 2008
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...just saying. I don't understand how people can just outright say Sirius cannot afford him.

Yep - also, everyone seems to forget the initial contract included costs for the infrastructure for the show - studio building, etc. He doesn't need to get $100 million a year on the next contract to equal what the actual people costs of the show are since all of that stuff is in place and paid for.
 

JHDK

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tsave anf jef, you both make a lot of sense. plus, how many listeners do you think would leave if howard left? i know i would. i can podcast jones most of the talk radio i want and music is all over the internet.

stern makes them money, like you said, even with his crazy salary. no stern loses them money. logic would kinda suggest that they do what ever they can to keep him

-jhdk
 

Spokker

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am i missing the joke? would you actually want the show to go back to being edited to hell just for a few days of howie eating his words?

-jhdk

If he stays at Sirius he's only going to work three days anyway. That doesn't feel like a real radio show.
 

JHDK

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If he stays at Sirius he's only going to work three days anyway. That doesn't feel like a real radio show.

hmm....you got me thinking, whats better: stern on 3 days a week on sirius, or 5 days a week on ballsack radio? i dont really know where i fall on that. the more stern the better, but the editing really blows.

but despite that, if he stays with sirius and only does 3 days a week thats enough to keep me with sirius. really no matter how long or how many days hes on i will always be there to listen.

and yea it blows if its only 3 days, but there are tons or radio shows that only do 1 day a week. a shitton of podcasts do 2 or 3 shows a week, and the ones i listen to are usually never longer than an hour and a half.

so yea, stern slowing down sucks and we have grown to expect at least 4 days a week, but it totally feels like a radio show to me even if its only once a week.

-jhdk