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What the Howard Stern free trial means

One of the primary obstacles to the success of satellite radio is that folks have to buy a radio and subscription in order to hear and enjoy it. It’s not just the dollar and cent cost, it’s the hassle factor.

One of the best ways to remove that hassle and, for a limited time, the cost is to do what Sirius is doing now with their free Internet listen to Howard Stern on October 25 and 26.

The inability to listen easily and for free is the main reason why Howard’s listeners haven’t followed him. Thus you can bet that many of them will be there online to ring in Sirius Internet Radio.

This “free sample” strategy will have at least three effects:

1. It will offer a taste of something many Stern fans haven’t tasted in almost a year. They will see what they’re missing and be tempted to subscribe. You’ll see subscriptions spike for Sirius after this free trial, online and off.

2. Sirius will issue a news release saying something along these lines: “The most listened to event in Internet radio history” shortly after October 26. This will further stoke the cult of Stern and the cult of Sirius.

3. It will raise the spectre of what might happen if more of Stern were available for free either online or over the radio airwaves. For example, is there a price radio would pay for Stern in measured doses that would also A) supplement the coffers of Sirius and B) provide an infinite source of free sampling opportunities which incentivize subscription to the service.

Can you see the true future of satellite radio taking shape?

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