Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Where Does Howard Stern Go After Sirius?

Ready or not, NBC’s ‘grooming’ Stern to follow Fallon

One of the biggest names in radio is going to be a free agent soon. Howard Stern is currently under a 5 year deal worth $80 million with Sirius Satellite Radio and although his contract doesn't expire until 2015, speculation is running rampant on where he might be going next. The radio superstar has ranted in the past about how unhappy he is at Sirius and has stated that he will most likely be departing once his contract is up. Here is a list of potential suitors who I think have a shot at Howard.
  • Ora.TV - The online television network founded by the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim and Larry King is slowly building it's library to possibly become the first high-functioning talk and entertainment online network. 
    • It has invested into talk shows hosted by Larry King and Jesse Ventura, news shows such as "NewsBreaker" and "Daily Rehash" and is even exploring going into reality television and scripted programming. 
      • I wouldn't be surprised if they eventually built enough content to look into launching a cable TV network. 
    • With that being said, the best way to find relevancy would be to bring on someone like Howard Stern who has a rabid fanbase that is willing to spend money wherever he goes. 
      • If you make him the face of your network, you're also helping the other programming on the network because it provides them a boost in potential viewership and promotion. Carlos Slim also has plenty of money to blow and would be the perfect candidate to help Howard syndicate his product beyond the internet just as Ora has done with Larry King.

  • Comcast - The cable powerhouse, which also owns NBC, already employs Stern as a judge on America's Got Talent so there's already a relationship intact. With all of the thousands of hours of Howard Stern's show available to repurpose, it wouldn't be that difficult to launch a TV network centered around Stern similar to Oprah's OWN network. It would be a higher rated replacement of G4 whose aim would be the typical rocker male and could even draw a female audience who is interested in Howard's celebrity interviews.
    • The problem with this potential partnership is that in order for the network to be successful, you would need a lot of other shows to fill up time. 24 hour replays of the Howard Stern show can only take you so far.
      • As Howard is getting older though, his passion for new adventures such as TV production are probably winding down. At one point, he started a major TV production studio which produced movies and TV shows but Howard has openly stated that he got tired of the long arduous process.
    • I still wouldn't count this option out totally though. If Howard is prepared for the long hours and if Comcast is willing to put up the money for it (or possibly split the burden with Sirius, which would help Sirius entice Howard to stay with them) then I don't see why this couldn't happen.
  • Podcast network - Howard has always been the type of person who is weary of leadership. Why not become your own leader? Finance a podcast network on your own which is prominently featured on ITunes and feature various other shows from on air personalities who you consider as proteges. It would even be easier to launch if Howard was able to partner with an existing online broadcaster who would be able to provide Howard with the infustructure to launch the network but would also give him the freedom to do whatever he wanted to. 
    • Podcast One comes to mind but I'm not sure if they can afford him. Pandora is another option because they have the money and they are already involved with online radio. The problem with Pandora is that they have no experience doing live talk radio so they could face a similar struggle with production values that Keith Olbermann faced at Current TV.
  • Reelz Channel or AXS.TV - Both of these newer cable networks are looking for ways to gain mass distribution across cable television. Howard Stern is a perfect way to draw buzz, acclaim and demand. Howard would be the cheapest option to draw a bargaining chip among cable operators with investing expensive live sports. 
    • A radio show simulcasted live on the network together with a potential primetime interview talk show could do wonders for ratings on both of these networks which have low expectations. These networks also have major investors who I'm sure would be willing to shell out money if they know they could get their money's worth.
    • Also, just as I said with Ora.TV, Howard would help boost the awareness of Reelz or's programs and would bring up viewership and promotion. Other studios will start fighting for a timeslot on either network, if supported by the prowess of Howard Stern.
    • Howard doesn't fit the demo for either of the networks mentioned but he would provide a big jump for their ratings in the same way "The Walking Dead" and "Breaking Bad" helped AMC become one of the top cable networks in the U.S.
    • And who knows? Maybe Howard would be even more of a team player and would take interest in doing other shows besides talk shows which would help the network. A relationship call-in show with Beth? A reality show? A talent show which only featured Howard as a judge?
  • Other options which could work that'll never happen: CNN, HBO/Showtime/Epix, back to free radio, stays with Sirius, retires 

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