MediaFile

Howard Stern’s TV judging stint a boost for Sirius XM

Howard Stern is going to be a judge on the NBC show “America’s Got Talent,” this summer and Wall Street is already betting this is going to benefit the shock  jock’s satellite radio home, SiriusXM Radio.

Stern, who will replace the less potty mouthed Piers Morgan, will raise the profile of his radio show and drive new subscribers, at least one analyst said on Thursday.

“We see this as a positive for Sirius, holding potential for free on air-promotion, positive for awareness and sub growth, depending on how the TV show fares,” said Lazard analyst Barton Crockett in a research note.

His new gig won’t effect his current job, where he is locked down until 2015. What’s more, the show is even moving its production to New York from Los Angeles, so the east coaster Stern can have an easy commute.

Stern inked a five-year deal Sirius XM last December that nets him about $80 million a year, according to analysts.  He brought an estimated 1.2 million subscribers to Sirius when he joined the fledgling satellite radio company in 2006.

from Summit Notebook:

Sirius CEO Karmazin limbers up for the Howard Stern dance

It’s been five years since Sirius lured shock jock Howard Stern to satellite radio with a $500 million contract. Whether Stern can re-up with a similar deal when his contract expires at the end of next year is anyone's guess, but it ought to be entertaining. Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin is preparing himself for negotiations with the self-proclaimed King of All Media.

In a meeting with reporters at the Reuters Media Summit on Monday, Karmazin gave us a thumbnail sketch of his version of "The Art of the Deal."

“I could tell you, it will start with Howard feeling that he is working too hard and doing too many shows and not making enough money. Our side would say, 'We want you to do more, and get less money,'” Karmazin said.

Better days ahead for Sirius XM?

Sirius XM Radio has reason to be excited about the success of the cash for clunkers program. The satellite radio operator, which posted quarterly results this morning, raised its income outlook for the year on a potential rebound in car sales.

Chief Executive Mel Karmazin said on the earnings call that he was cautiously optimistic that auto industry sales will pick up in the second half of this year.

After all, any increase in car sales translates into more subscribers for Sirius XM, which gets most of its new users from satellite radios built into cars.

Sirius: Rumors of our near death? It was the media’s fault

It’s the media! That’s what Sirius would have us believe.

On a post-earnings call on Thursday executives said the company’s precarious financial position during the last few months as it sought to resolve a looming debt debacle was exacerbated by the media’s interest in Sirius. Apparently, stories about companies going bust not only upset investors and creditors, but customers too.

Sirius XM President of Operations Jim Meyer told Wall Street analysts he’s excited to have completed the debt refinancing and merger between Sirius and XM so the company can assure customers it will be around for a while.

There certainly was headwind associated with both the confusion of putting the two companies together and the overall just unbelievable amount of news and press that we have seen really in the fourth quarter and continuing in January and February on the financial condition and refinancing of our balance sheet.

Dish’s Charlie Ergen: Me and Mel don’t have a beef

Ah the media, we love a ruckus. We really do. And when the two pugilists are characters as colorful and savvy as Dish Network’s founder Charlie Ergen (left) and Siriux XM Satellite Radio CEO Mel Karmazin (right) we do really get excited.

If you remember, Ergen was widely reported last month to have made a back door bid to take a stake in Sirius XM by quietly buying up some of the satellite radio company’s outstanding debt.  Analysts and experts came up with all kind of theories as to Ergen’s ambitions including taking complete control of Sirius on the cheap, combining various satellite assets, and kicking Mel out.

At the time Ergen ‘s official channels at Dish and EchoStar declined to comment on the matter. So today’s Dish earning call was the first time we heard from the man himself on the matter. Well, it turns out the press was right on most things connected with the Sirius bid, according to Ergen. Except for one thing: he does not have bad blood with Sirius CEO Karmazin.

Liberty: Stern is safe — for now

So after two weeks of following all the twists and turns of Sirius XM’s attempts to avoid bankruptcy, CEO Mel Karmazin decided on John Malone, founder of Liberty Media, to come in as Sirius XM’s white knight with a $530 million loan . The loan will cover the satellite radio provider’s looming debt and help it avoid bankruptcy. As part of the deal Liberty will eventually take a 40 percent stake in Sirius’ equity.

But does this mean the big money deals that Karmazin signed with the likes of Howard Stern, Oprah Winfrey and Major League Baseball will get re-worked at a more favorable rate for the company now that there’s a new major stakeholder?

No, says Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei in an interview with Reuters.

You can look and say some of these content deals were cut at a time when there were two guys (Sirius and XM) bidding against each other in a relative frenzy. Having said that, a lot of these content relationships like Howard Stern are very valuable to this company, have been important in building the company, and are likely to be important in sustaining it.

Mel says lost Sirius/XM channels worth every penny – to bottom line

If you’re an old Sirius or former XM subscriber who lost one or more of your favorite channels after the two satellite radio companies merged earlier this year, CEO Mel Karmazin has a message for you: Tough luck, it’s for the greater good.

Karmazin told reporters at the Reuters Media Summit in New York that the two companies had taken the best of breed in each music channel genre from either Sirius or XM as part of a $400 million cost saving drive.

“We’re going to pick the best channels,” said Karmazin. “We’ve gotten hundreds of people who hated it and claimed they were going to cancel. So we’ve analyzed all the cancellations since the rationalization…It’s hard for me to understand what they don’t like.”

Sirius XM subs hate/love channel mashup

As if Sirius XM Radio didn’t have enough to worry about (like trying to figure out how to pay its debt and cope with the U.S. auto industry’s flameout) now its got to deal with customers grumbling about its radio stations. Some are threatening to quit the service.

That’s right, subscribers are ticked off about what they are hearing on their radios. Not the radios themselves or the quality of the signal or any of that techniclal stuff — we are talking about the actual radio content that subscribers pay $13 or more to hear each month.

Sirius this week unveiled a new channel lineup that combines XM and Sirius’ rock, pop, talk, punk, hip-hop, classical, country, jazz and sports stations. Together, it’s a robust offering of audio content, which may impress new customers. Long time listeners, familiar to particular channels playlists and on-air talent, are speaking up on blogs after the surprise shift.