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Thumb’s up for the Oprah Effect

I have long argued that radio, satellite or otherwise, can maintain and enhance its relevancy through the strategic use of stars. Howard Stern is the first such high-wattage luminary (pun intended) to move to Satellite and Oprah is obviously the latest.

On the surface of it, it seems to me remarkable that it took XM Satellite Radio to strike a deal that some terrestrial broadcaster should have developed ages ago: One big channel for Oprah and her friends.

This will have obvious appeal to women, the very group broadcasters wring their hands over and repeatedly host sessions called “how to target women” to woo.

Further, it provides a wide range of licensing opportunities for XM which will have implications well beyond the satellite radio business.

This is exactly the strategy I’ve been promoting and predicting, and I’m glad to see the smart folks at XM step up to the plate.

Stars, not diversity of programming, not commercial-free content, are what will create the future of audio entertainment.

You either have ’em – and pay for ’em – or you don’t.

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