New York — Controversial radio personality Howard Stern will move his top-rated talk show to Sirius Satellite Radio on Jan. 1, 2006.
Stern, who has been decrying increased fines and creative limitations imposed by the Federal Communications Commission on broadcasters in the wake of the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident, broke the news on air this morning during his syndicated show, based here.
The self-proclaimed “King of All Media” said he will continue broadcasting terrestrially until his contract with Viacom’s Infinity Broadcasting expires in 15 months. He said he was first approached by Sirius five years ago, but thought the technology was “not ready” at that time.
Stern had also reportedly held discussions with No. 1 satellite radio service XM, which recently signed comedy shock jocks Opie and Anthony.
The addition of Stern is expected to add heft — and subscribers — to Sirius, which currently has some 600,000 paying listeners, compared to XM’s 2.5 million. His multimillion dollar deal will extend for five years and will bring his show to virtually every market in the country.
In a prepared statement, Sirius’ CEO Joe Clayton said that “signing Howard Stern is, without a doubt, the most exciting and transformational event in the history of radio. He is an entertainment force of unprecedented recognition and popularity in the broadcast world, who is capable of changing the face of satellite radio and generating huge numbers of subscribers for Sirius.”
Sirius said total production and operating costs for the Stern show, including salaries for the cast and staff and construction of a dedicated studio, will cost about $100 million a year. The company will need to add approximately 1 million subscribers to cover the costs, it said.