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Howard Stern Is Sticking With SiriusXM for Another Five Years

"If you are not listening to SiriusXM and The Howard Stern Show, then you are really more like a zombie, a rotting corpse monster, living half a life, deadened and blackened inside."

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Howard Stern is staying put.

Radio’s most famous personality has re-upped with SiriusXM and will be working for the satellite radio company for another five years, he announced this morning.

Stern’s contract was set to expire shortly, and as usual there was much hand-wringing about whether he’d stick around. The twist this year was the notion that Stern might leave traditional media altogether and do something digital — either with a big platform like Apple, or Whalerock Industries, the company that makes celebrity media hubs for the likes of the Kardashians and was hoping to become Stern’s new home. (Update: Whalerock CEO Lloyd Braun has been clear in the past — like at our Code/Media event in February — that while he wanted to work with Stern, he wasn’t trying to lure him away from his Sirius radio gig.)

But as I’ve argued in the past, the idea of Stern leaving radio always sounded like something that us Future Of The Media types would like to see — not something that made a lot of sense for Stern.

Yes, in theory, you could imagine a scenario where Stern would create his own subscription business, a la Glenn Beck, and keep almost all of that money for himself. But that would involve work and risk. And while Stern seems to enjoy technology — here he is a few months ago, extolling the virtues of ad-blocking software — he has also expressed disdain for outlets like podcasts, which he (along with the rest of the radio business) views as niche novelties.

So why not keep doing what already works and collect giant, guaranteed, checks from SiriusXM, which desperately needs to keep Stern in house?

Or in Stern’s supposed words, via a Sirius press release: “As a broadcaster, it does not get better than working at SiriusXM and I’m truly excited for the future with this great company. I happen to think that its best days are ahead. So, if you are not listening to SiriusXM and The Howard Stern Show, then you are really more like a zombie, a rotting corpse monster, living half a life, deadened and blackened inside. It’s as if you were still watching black and white television while shopping in actual stores on your way to the post office to fax a memo.”

No word from SiriusXM about the financial terms, but we should assume that Stern is getting something that’s in the ballpark of the $80 million a year he was already getting from Sirius, since it needs him more than ever to differentiate itself in a Pandora-Spotify-Apple Music world.

One hint that the new contract may be even bigger than Stern’s last five-year deal: The Sirius press release mentions a separate 12-year-deal “for use of Stern’s extensive audio and video library drawn from performances, specials, and shows spanning his more than 30-year broadcasting career.”

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