Howard Stern’s show is online now…

The news is here. And here’s what I see in my crystal ball:

1. Hundreds of thousands of Stern fans will sign up for SIRIUS in order to listen to Howard online. Why did Stern fans wait for this moment? Because SIRIUS finally reduced the “pain” of listening to Stern, where that pain included going to a store and getting a radio and installing a radio and positioning an antennae, etc. Now, suddenly, it’s as easy as buying a book on Amazon. The nay-sayers who scoffed at the number of subscribers Stern introduced to SIRIUS (significant as it was, but small relative to his radio audience) will be silenced.

2. The definition of satellite radio has officially been altered. Because if you’re listening to it online and paying for the privilege, then that’s not “satellite” radio, right? This is SIRIUS’s very first step toward becoming a seller of CONTENT rather than a seller of RADIOS, and there’s lots more money in content if you can leverage it across numerous channels including – but not limited to – your own radios. Small wonder that ABC retained Radio Disney and ESPN (its content) while putting its radio stations (distribution channel) on the block.

3. Listeners will no longer have to pay $13 per month for 200 channels of yada-yada when what they really want to pay is $13 per month for is one channel of Howard Stern. The perception of “waste” is another reason why folks haven’t forked over the money sooner. And a big reason why they will now.

4. Radio stations will finally begin to realize that web-based programming is a more severe threat to its future than satellite-based programming per se, and the obsession with HD Radio will be replaced by an obsession with the Internet. Better dive in – assuming you have the “content” with which to compete.

Wake up and smell the coffee, radio. What do you think is going to happen when all our cars are equipped with Internet reception?

ADDENDUM:

Right now you can’t sign up JUST for Stern online. You have to subscribe to SIRIUS first. Unless you ultimately can sign up JUST for Stern (even for the full rate, if necessary) and do it online without having to introduce a new radio to your life, I will be dead WRONG about the hundreds of thousands of new subscribers.

My belief amounts to this: Don’t expect somebody to buy what they DON’T want in order to get access to what they DO want.

This is the same strategy the labels have used to sell albums (Want the hit? Buy the album), and look how that’s working out in the digital age.

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