Baba Booey! Baba Booey! Howard Stern Renews Contract with Sirius/XM For Five More Years
The news broke this morning during Stern's daily radio show. "If we're going to stay in radio, we should stay here," Stern said on the air. "We're in an incredible position and suddenly there's real growth. It's a real business."
Stern wasn't talking numbers, but had ranted against Sirius CFO David Frear earlier this week who had hinted that Stern would have to take a pay cut. Possibly knowing a deal was imminent, Stern had apologized to Frear on and CEO Mel Karmazin, a long-time Stern colleage, on the air Wednesday.
Howard had not shied away from discussing his situation on the air and there had been rumors that he was even looking to do a deal with an Internet service including a rumored $600 million deal with Apple, which had appeared unlikely because Steve Jobs' careful monitoring of the types of content that appear in iTunes seemed to clash with Stern's tendency to blurt out the f-word whenever possible.
CNN Money reports that Sirius stock surged as much as 14% in pre-market trading with the news.
"Howard is a great talent and we are thrilled that he will continue to provoke, engage and entertain on Sirius XM," Karmazin told The Hollywood Reporter. "Our agreement is good news on all fronts - it is good for Sirius XM subscribers and good for Sirius XM stockholders. Howard forever changed radio and was instrumental in putting Sirius on the map when he first launched on satellite radio. He is one of the few 'one-name' entertainers in the country and our 20 million subscribers are lucky to have him.The cast and crew of the show had said they were in the dark during the contract negotiations. Stern's longtime producer Gary Dell'Abate had told PopEater weeks ago that he didn't know where Stern was headed. "I think that he wants to continue to work," Dell'Abate aka Baba Booey, told us. "He's made that very evident on the radio and where that is, is I think the question."
The question has now been answered and his staff is certainly breathing a sigh of relief knowing that they are returning to work after the holidays.
During his rants on the air, Stern discussed the grind of getting up four days a week for a five-hour radio show. He hinted that he would want to cut back his days on air -- Stern and his crew already get close to 10 weeks off a year and work four-day weeks -- and he also wondered whether he would be happy shifting towards an afternoon drive. The deal with iTunes fed into that idea that his show might thrive on-demand, similar to the way his Howard TV offering does now.
Financial details are still to follow but Sirius/XM wasted no time proclaiming the news that puts them in a secure position, facing a possible defection of millions of subscribers if Stern was to leave. This was what was posted on Howard and Sirius's site this AM:
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