Tuesday, January 09, 2007

1-9-07 -- The Revolution Continues On

Today marks one year since Howard Stern officially began his satellite radio career. Despite what his detractors say, Howard's venture into this new medium has been an unqualified success. The growth of new SIRIUS subscribers has exceeded all expectations since Stern signed on, blowing through the projected number for the end of 2006 of 3.5 million subscribers by over 2 million for an estimated total of 6,024,000 subscribers as of December 31, 2006. SIRIUS had 600,000 subscribers in 2004 when it signed Stern.

SIRIUS announced today that Stern will receive yet another incentive payment as a result of this record growth. Anyone who thinks Stern would even consider leaving this sweet gig just isn't paying attention. No censorship and multi-million dollar incentive payments? Are you kidding?

My personal experience with SIRIUS has been nothing but positive. I had wanted to try satellite radio for several years before actually subscribing in December 2005. I listened on and off to Stern's terrestrial radio show for probably ten years and had become a regular listener again during his last few years on that medium, so my choice of a satellite radio provider was simple once Howard announced he was going to be on SIRIUS. I listen mainly in my truck, but I can take my tuner anywhere with a SIRIUS boombox (thanks to Eric) and can listen at any computer via Internet radio. In addition to Stern's two channels the music, talk, entertainment and sports content variety seem endless. A partial list is here.

One of the things I love about listening to Howard is that he puts all aspects of the show on the air. When his producer Gary screws up the timing of bringing a guest in the studio or forgets to tell Howard something related to running the show, or Scott the Engineer (yes, "engineer" should be capitalized) can't make a piece of equipment work, the issue isn't just passed over and dealt with off the air. Howard brings the offending person into the studio and hashes it out on the air, usually involving all members of the show in the discussion and ultimately goofing on the person until they can't stand it anymore.

A shining moment recently was when Stern was set to interview Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey of The Who and Pete Townshend backed out of the interview literally minutes before it was to begin. Not only was this during the much promoted two-day SIRIUS "free preview," but it was also supposed to announce the new Who channel (98) on SIRIUS. Stern ended up talking just to Roger Daltrey, talked about Townshend walking out, and turned it into an interesting interview.

In addition to giving listeners a glimpse of what goes on silently at every other radio program, which is in itself fascinating, Howard's tirades and criticisms often make for hilarious bits for the show and just great radio.

In the week before Stern's first official broadcast on 1-9-06 he did several test broadcasts to check sound levels and try out all of the equipment in the brand new studio. That probably could have been done by engineers or other staff, but Howard chose to bring in the whole regular show staff and they actually broadcast several mini shows to try everything out, even taking phone calls.

Today after the regular show SIRIUS replayed the 1-9-06 show and then ran the top 10 moments of the past year as voted on by listeners.

Related posts: Howard's first broadcast; Stern still has it; "satellite radio" posts


C-had said...

I am glad you and Eric are enjoying it. I found my experience much less pleasant (see my blog), probably because I don't really listen to Stern. As a share holder, I am also a little disappointed with their dotcom era spending habits but I really hope they make some improvements and I might come back. I am leaving all of my gear in the car just in case.

E-Doo said...

XM and Sirus announcing a merger today? Just a rumor? Hmmm.


E-Doo said...

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