This is a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned, which is why it has been a model I have talked about with Sirius/XM and Team Stern for years.
If I were Howard Stern and wanted to continue to rule my media empire, here’s what I’d do:
1. Stay on Sirius/XM (which will be highly motivated to pay big money for the privilege, even if it's not as big as it used to be). There he can continue to do the show he wants, his way.
2. Design the show that fits his lifestyle, rather than be forced into a traditional morning show. It's my feeling (no flames, please) that Howard creates too much content. Less show every day – or a later show every day – would be tolerated by his audience if that was the only way to get their Stern fix. And many in the audience wouldn't know the difference. That reduces the workload – and less Howard is what Sirius/XM is sure to get in return for any dip in compensation (In fact, this is the likeliest scenario in my mind: Less money and less Stern. But some is better than none).
3. And return to the terrestrial radio airwaves in a separate deal and in handicapped form. Namely, a shorter show or a day-old show or a more commercial-cluttered show or a weekly show and certainly an FCC-approved edit of the show with the edits so glaringly obvious that fans will naturally be drawn to the “unrated” version of the show on Satellite. The result of this will be tons of new listenership, lots more money, and far more new subscribers to satellite radio than Sirius/XM can possibly imagine. All while enabling Howard to do exactly his show his way. Rest assured that you will never again hear Howard limit himself to the FCC-sanctioned airwaves and only those airwaves.
4. Retain all digital rights to Stern and Stern-related content. This opens up the Internet for a multitude of Howard-centric projects available in both ad-supported and subscription forms. This means more bucks for Team Stern – and more fun, too. It also means tons of new introductions for listeners to the radio and satellite shows.
In essence, this model would allow Howard to create all kinds of digitally-rooted content well beyond his current confines while still satisfying the desire for his conventional radio efforts in those channels willing enough to meet his rate.
Unless he prefers to spend his early weekday mornings on the shore of the Hamptons (and who could blame him?), that’s a scenario that would be the best of all possible worlds.
We shall see.
Because I am not Howard Stern.