Oprah Winfrey will debut on XM Satellite Radio beginning in September in an exclusive three-year deal announced today by XM and Harpo Radio.
XM will create an “Oprah & Friends” channel on XM that will include an exclusive original weekly radio show with Oprah and her friend Gayle King, as well as regular segments hosted by personalities from the “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and The Oprah Magazine. Personalities such as Bob Greene, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Robin Smith, Marianne Williamson and Nate Berkus will discuss topics including nutrition, fitness, health, self improvement and current events.
XM paid $55 million for the three-year contract with Oprah, according to a report by the Associated Press.
The launch of the channel helps XM target the women's market. Sirius made a similar high-profile deal last April with Martha Stewart to lure female subscribers. Published reports said Sirius paid $7 million a year for the four-year contract. Martha Stewart Living Radio began airing on Sirius in November.
In a written statement XM quoted Oprah as saying, “Together with my friends, we look forward to creating programming that will entertain, inform and inspire our listening audience on XM,” said Oprah Winfrey.
XM president/CEO Hugh Panero said Oprah will help attract a more diverse subscriber base.
A spokesman for Sirius said, “We think it's great for the category.”
Published reports compared the $55 million price for the Oprah contract with XM as a bargain compared to the $600 million Sirius is paying over five years for Howard Stern. Stern however, appears live four to five hours, four days a week compared to Oprah's weekly appearance on XM, an industry member noted.