Satellite Radio Grows, Howard Stern Will Help
Recently released figures from Siruis Satellite Radio and XM Satellite show subscriptions reached 1.6 million in 2003. XM, which launched earlier than Sirius, has 1.36 million subscribers. Sirius has 261,000. In the fourth quarter alone, XM added 430,000.
With radio having been free since its inception, it will take a while for consumers to realize the benefits (vastly improved sound quality, national coverage for every station and minimal commercials) of satellite radio and pony up the ten to twelve dollar per month subscription fee. Perhaps the single biggest boost, though, to satellite radio will be when, in two years, Howard Stern's contract ends and he leaves broadcast radio.
On his show today, he railed against station manager Tom Chiusano and the FCC for their continued censorship that sometimes, he claims, is quite illogical. Today, during a Benji bit that used the word Bukkake, much of the bit was bleeped which made the punch line of bit incoherent and un-funny. And the supposedly offending word, Bukkake, wasn't even what was bleeped.
If Stern moves from broadcast to satellite radio, that is when satellite will see an enormous jump in subscribers and broadcast will begin to feel serious competition from and financial loss to satellite radio.