Archive for November, 2010

Sirius Satellite Radio is in Trouble

November 30, 2010

This is the last year of Howard Stern’s contract on Sirius.  The loss of Artie Lange almost a year ago has been critical, since it has clarified how much Howard depended on Artie for show content.  This year has had its wonderful moment, usually involving innovative bits or extraordinary interviews, but during the other moments, the show has had very little to say.  Howard seems to think that long, boring rants and diatribes, usually against staff members, is entertaining.  He is wrong.  Begin mean is not entertaining.  Ranting about DDT and bedbugs for a half hour is not entertaining.  He really has lost is sense of how to entertain.

For the past five years, Howard has steadfastly refused to embrace new technologies, such as streaming content over the Internet, or podcasts.  Neither his audio nor his video content is available online in a reasonable manner: if you don’t have cable TV (perhaps using satellite, because you have no choice), you cannot get access to Howard’s videos.  You cannot listen to Howard on an iPod unless you record the shows yourself.  Howard thinks that he is the “King of all Media”, but he has refused to embrace modern media.  He talks currently about how he is evaluating the new technologies.  I doubt it.

When I became totally bored with Howard, I called Sirius to cancel my month-to-month contract about 6 weeks ago.  At first, they offered me six months at half price.   When I refused, they offered to give it to me for free until January, past the end of Howard’s contract.  It seems that Sirius does not want anyone to know how many people are about to pull the plug on this popular but ailing show.  In January, the number of paying Sirius customers may drop suddenly and significantly.  Sirius is not profitable at this point, their share price is in the toilet, and Sirius is likely to fold.

In this situation, you would think that Howard would be working hard to define and publicize his next step, but in fact, with less than 2 weeks of original programming remaining in his contract, Howard will not say what will happen next.  Last time around, he announced the change more than a year ahead of time; this time, nothing.

Howard can be an amazing interviewer, and some (but not most) of his bits are devastatingly insightful, but the current show is 20 percent great and 80 percent boring rants.

Sirius is doomed