Sirius-ly? Seriously!

By Gina Sirico, CNN Money Matters producer


NEW YORK (CNN) -- The self-proclaimed "King of All Media" is staying in his castle.

Yes folks, Howard Stern announced this morning that he will continue with his show on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio for another five years.

That sound you hear? That's Sirius/XM CEO Mel Karmazin breathing a HUGE sigh of relief. Stern's status has been a huge question mark for quite some time.

His current 5-year, $500 million contract ends this month and the show goes off the air for holiday break next week. Critics and fans alike wondered if he would return to the airwaves after the holidays.

Stern himself said many times that he just wasn't sure. He hinted he could retire or go maybe somewhere else.

That, of course sparked the many online rumors, including one that Apple would sign him to a $600 million deal to do a show for iTunes. It may sound like a pretty outrageous idea, but Sirius/XM's CFO David Frear didn't think so.

At a UBS investor conference earlier this week, Frear said, "He could decide that he doesn't want to get up that early in the morning. That he'd like to do a shorter show. That he'd like to do it somewhere else. The Internet, whether it's through iTunes or something else, is always a possibility."

That possibility of Stern leaving had investors of Sirius in a serious state of panic. Analysts worried that if he left, Sirius/XM subscribers would defect as well, which would not help matters.

The last six months have been a little rocky for the stock. But that's all in the past now, after Stern announced he's staying put. On the show this morning, he said, "I have come to the conclusion that the real innovators, the real geniuses are the people here at Sirius."

Stern himself has been an innovator since the early stages of his career. He showed his wild side as early as 1979, when he hosted the morning show for a radio station in Connecticut and never looked back.

Through the years, he developed his skills, working in Detroit and Washington before landing in radio's number one market, New York City. His speak-your-mind, in-your-face attitude made him a massive hit in the '90s, when his radio show went into national syndication.

That led to book deals, movie deals, pay-per-view deals and a TV show on the E! network, which was a condensed version of his radio show. In 2005, after living up to his "King of All Media" moniker, Stern took his show on the road to Sirius.

At the time, satellite radio was still in its infancy stages, and many wondered if it was a good move. Would it work? Or would Stern fade into oblivion with an unproven media outlet? Clearly, that didn't happen -- as satellite radio blew up, thanks to Sirius and XM's deals with many automakers to include satellite radio in their vehicles.

I, myself, have been a fan of Stern's for years and was actually a little bummed after he announced his original Sirius deal (my car has XM). Once Sirius and XM merged, I immediately upgraded so I could get Sirius programming (and Stern) with the subscription I already had.

Would I have canceled if Stern had not signed this deal? Probably not, since I like satellite radio for many other reasons as well. Do I believe die-hard Stern fans WOULD defect had he not re-signed?

Heck yeah! Right after the announcement this morning, Twitter users made him a top trending topic, with many saying they would have left if he hadn't signed.

So for Sirius' sake, I'm glad this deal is in place. It'll be very interesting to see what Stern has in store for us for the next five years.  To top of page

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