Howard Sterns contract expires at the end of this year, and as each day passes, the subject gains more and more attention both on the show and in the media. Stern has several options and has now started talking about his potential future on the show.
Stern is a calculating individual, and more likely than not he is raising issues as part of the negotiation process. As news begins to spread that he may leave, retire, or take his career in another direction, there could well be some real good shows and guests in the future.
Stern has had some great guests over the years, and some others that people would love to see interviewed on the show. If people think that Stern is singing his swan song there could well be a built up demand to appear on one of the fifty or so shows remaining. It could wind up being like people wanting to appear with Johnny Carson before he retired. Having a Stern interview on your resume is something that could become fashionable.
In addition to guests, Stern could want to set up some great shows and stunts that will put an exclamation point on his career. Is it possible that he could finally persuade Eric The Midget to fly with balloons? The possibilities are endless, and the uncertainty of his contract status could be the mechanism to get some compelling shows on the air.
All of that being said, I think we will see Stern return, albeit with a shorter work week. The key is getting him included on the mobile platform. Stern mentioned possibilities of his own app, and while fans would appreciate that, it is important for Sirius XM to make that process available through their service. Look for that to be a key negotiating point for both parties.
Stern has options, but in the end he has made a home on satellite and in my opinion will continue his contract. From a consumer standpoint I want these negotiations to drag out and deliver great radio. From an investors standpoint, I want to know the status as soon as possible. Is there a happy medium? Perhaps we will know between mid September and mid October.
Position - Long Sirius XM Radio