Howard Stern's risqué radio rhetoric will be broadcast to listeners across the country — uncensored — via satellite radio beginning in January 2006.
The shock jock announced on Wednesday (October 6) that he has signed a five-year agreement to broadcast his show on the commercial-free Sirius Satellite Radio network.
"It has been my dream to have the top-rated show in radio since I was five years old," Stern said. "Sirius — the future of radio — will take this dream to a whole new level as I bring my fans my show, my way. It will be the best radio they will ever hear."
Stern is the #1 national radio host among males ages 18-49 and ranks #1 in many of the 46 major networks where his show is currently broadcast, including the key markets of New York and Los Angeles. Stern's morning show is currently broadcast by Infinity Broadcasting, a unit of Viacom; Viacom also owns MTV.
In the past year, Stern, whose show has consistently tested the boundaries of what the Federal Communications Commission deems acceptable content, has been a prime target in the FCC's investigation into broadcast indecency (see "Howard Stern Broadcast Costs Clear Channel Nearly $500,000"). The move to satellite radio — which, like cable television, is largely unregulated — will mean that his show can hit the airwaves uncensored.
"Signing Howard Stern is, without a doubt, the most exciting and transformational event in the history of radio," Sirius CEO Joseph P. Clayton said. "He is an entertainment force of unprecedented recognition and popularity in the broadcast world, who is capable of changing the face of satellite radio and generating huge numbers of subscribers for Sirius."
Sirius has said it would need to add 1 million subscribers to cover the cost of the five-year deal.
"When you look at his enormous existing fan base," Clayton said, "all we need is for Howard to bring in a small fraction of his weekly audience for this agreement to pay for itself."
When Stern begins his contract with Sirius on January 1, 2006, his program will be broadcast in every market across the country.