Talk about forgetting who brought you to the prom - ailing satellite radio provider Sirius XM (SIRI) has decided to leave the racy Howard Stern off of their newly released and highly anticipated Apple iPhone app. Sirius argued to government regulators that they needed to merge with XM because they compete with the iPhone, other phones, MP3 players and beyond. While they were right about satellite radio competing for attention from consumers with other devices and services - nobody told consolidators that a consolidated Sirius-XM would bring the worst of XM's programming to Sirius thus leaving the satellite customer without any options. Compounded by the horrible economy, a weak new car market and weak programming, subscribers are leaving Sirius-XM at a record pace.
Howard Stern, the self proclaimed King of All Media, is unquestionably the driving force behind the success Sirius has had in recruiting his loyal listeners to pay for satellite radio. His national fan base actually pays to listen to the now R if not sometimes X-rated content on the Stern Show four days a week and on repeats. If Stern truly is the King of all Media which you could make a strong argument for - why the hell would Sirius-XM leave him off of the iPhone app? Sirius-XM could have had an age check element to signing up to listen to Stern to protect minors from hearing about Chaz Bono's pending "neo-penis" or hearing actress Carmen Electra on the Sybian.
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Howard Stern is Sirius-XM's flagship talent and the best if not only reason to listen to Sirius-XM since their highly unsuccessful music programming changes. People have a lot of options that they can spend a few bucks on at the App Store - but without Howard Stern, expect his loyal base to ignore the Sirius-XM app enthusiastically. With Stern, you would have his loyalists buying phones and profitable applications in hordes, as nobody can get their listeners to spend money on new technology better than Stern.
It's hard to tell how Stern will respond to the news. One would assume he knew about the decision ahead of time because of his close relationship with Sirius-XM CEO, Mel Karmazin. Just yesterday, Stern was promoting the new Sirius-XM app on his morning show. In the event Stern didn't know - this could really anger the sometimes moody radio superstar who is only a little more than a year away from finishing a highly lucrative contract with Sirius-XM. Could an angry King of All Media port his talents to yet another media? Perhaps podcasting? I bet his beautiful, model/activist wife, Beth Stern, wouldn't mind seeing him producing content in the middle of the day instead at the crack of dawn - nor would his staff. Do the math: with a million subscribers that would pay him for a podcast and a $12 per month subscription fee like Sirius or XM - that $12,000,000 a month in gross revenue or $144 million a year. And guess what? You can sell a Howard Stern app on the iPhone that would download his podcast as well as sell it via Apple's iTunes, which reaches millions of new, paying customers.
Read about Sirus/XM's new Android Application here.