Free Howard

Tomorrow and Thursday, the world will be able to listen to Howard Stern for free again. And it’s going to be a good two days with a radio sitcom by Sam Simon of The Simpsons and a Gary Dell’Abate roast.

It’s a brilliant marketing move to push not only Stern on Sirius but also a new offering: an internet-only subscription to 75 of the channels online, no radio or antenna required. Note that subscribers with radios also get the internet feed included. But if you want to listen in an office or in Munich, like a letter-writer on this morning’s Stern show, you can.

More than a year ago, I argued in an open letter to Mel Karmazin (cheeky bastard, I am) that he should be doing just this: Don’t be trapped by your distribution, don’t think of yourself just as a satelllite company, be the radio company of the future.

There’s still one more thing I want: Howard as a paid podcast. As part of my subscription, I want to be able to catch up on Howard on my terms, without having to go to the hassle of recording or buying the new radio that can record. I missed the amazing show when Artie Lange talked about his heroin use and kicked myself. Thanks to a fellow Stern fan — a media exec in a suit; there are more of us in this club than you dare to imagine — I got to listen because he recorded it so he can listen to the whole show in his car. Now that Stern is being repeated around the clock, I actually find myself timing my commute so I hear different parts of the show in the morning and evening. I’d rather listen to it all on my iPod.

Once Stern et al are available however, wherever, and whenever I want them, then Sirius will truly be the radio company of the future.

Next: video.

  • Heather Mill’s Stump

    Sirius is JUST NOW starting to offer an online only subscription? XM has offered this for over 2 years (that’s just since I’ve been a subscriber) and Opie and Anthony podcasts have been available on I-Tunes and Audible.com for at least a year. How long before Howard starts touting this as another one of his “inventions” ???

  • http://www.citybusinesschurch.org/blog Justin

    I love Howard. But technologically, he is always a step behind.

    He should have made podcasts and internet radio apart of his move to Sirius, then he would have kept more listeners.

    I’m one who never made the switch. I assumed I would. But when the time came, it just wasn’t worth it. I walk to work. I don’t drive. And there were no decent portable radios from Sirius for me to buy. The one they have is expensive and it sucks.

    Major media companies need to start thinking more about the consumer instead and less about just making money.

  • http://www.laist.com tony

    by getting 5 million subscribers in his first 10 months, seems to me that Howard did everything perfect.

    now after the real fans have gotten the radio, it seems smart to roll out the web service now for the on-the-fence fans.

    Justin must realize that he is but a small percentage of Americans who not only walk to work but who think that $350 for a portable satellite device that allows you to store music is “expensive”. most of us have iPods that cost about that much, and don’t allow for sat radio and we’re doing just fine.

  • http://www.greeblie.com Greeblie

    Amazing, Howard is free for two whole days? I know a few folks on XM who are free every weekday on a couple dozen radio stations that USED to carry Howie! ;)

    Seriously, I was a howard fan long ago. I’m happy for him that he made such a lucrative deal. I’m just not a big fan of Sirius’ big radios and lousy service. Even still, every year around this time I waver about buying one. For the NFL coverage, only, mind you…

  • Ben Sparks

    >>> Once Stern et al are available however,
    >>> wherever, and whenever I want them,
    >>> then Sirius will truly be the radio company
    >>> of the future.

    So is it safe to say that XM *is* the radio company of the future?

    You want Opie and Anthony, you can…

    - Turn on your Satellite Radio (XM) [replays all day]
    - Turn on your TV (DirectTV Channel 879) [audio only]
    - Turn on your Terrestrial Radio (FreeFM)
    - Turn on your computer (Paltalk) [LIVE VIDEO and AUDIO)
    - Download the show (Audible.com/I-Tunes)

    ???

  • http://ipid.wordpress.com/ digitallantern

    Is content King or is the medium the massage? Either Stern helps boost Serius, or the far more futuristic and nimble programming of the XM network will succeed. There was as a keep it real interview with Andrew Sullivan by Bob Edwards on XM today, is the podcast worth $2.95? I’ll take the door with commericials for 0$ on this one.

  • http://www.filmbuffonline.com Rich Drees

    Greeblie- I know a few folks on XM who are free every weekday on a couple dozen radio stations that USED to carry Howie!

    Really, how “free” are you on terrestrial radio?

  • http://www.filmbuffonline.com Rich Drees

    Justin- I love Howard. But technologically, he is always a step behind.

    I think Howard’s reluctance to embrace new tech stems from his perfectionist nature. I think he doesn’t want to roll out a service on a system that may still have bugs in it. He has always said that he doesn’t want to do something that would like he was ripping off his fans. He wants to make sure that there woun’t be any tech problems when folks start paying their hard-earned cash for something he’s created.

    (Of course this attitude is what’s keeping him from joining with Paramount to do a really tricked out 10th Anniversary Edition DVD of PRIVATE PARTS, which is driving me up a wall…)

  • http://www.citybusinesschurch.org/blog Justin

    Justin must realize that he is but a small percentage of Americans who not only walk to work but who think that $350 for a portable satellite device that allows you to store music is “expensive”. most of us have iPods that cost about that much, and don’t allow for sat radio and we’re doing just fine.

    I have an Ipod. And that’s what I listen to while walking to work. The sirius portable “whatever” is not an Ipod. It blows.

    Howard lost a lot of listerns switching to Sirius. And it will be interesting to see whether he can gain them back. I’m betting no. If he had made his broadcast more accessible when he switched to Sirius he could have kept more listeners. But he didn’t. It was a mistake. And that’s my point.

    Have you checked Sirius stock lately?

  • http://www.filmbuffonline.com Rich Drees

    I’m not sure that reliving the glory days of his high terrestrial radio audience figures is Stern’s primary concern. I think he is more concerned with- 1) performing a show without the restrictions he was forced under over the last few years and 2) delivering an audience to his employers that will allow them to make a profit. Since it was estimated that Stern needed to only add 1 million subscribers for Sirius to break even on his hiring and the service has actually added over 4 million since his switch was announced, I would say that that mission has been accomplished.

    (I know that you can’t attribute all the new subscribers to Stern, but I wouldn’t hesitate to say that he is responsible for more than just the million needed…)

  • http://www.citybusinesschurch.org/blog Justin

    2) delivering an audience to his employers that will allow them to make a profit.

    I don’t think Sirius is making a profit. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure both Sirius and XM are still operating in the Red.

    I also think Howard does want his old audience back. That’s why he has said he is upset that more people didn’t follow him to sattelite. And that’s why Sirius is offering content online.

    I agree with Jeff. I want Howard as a Paid Podcast. He should move into that venue as quickly as possible. The lesson here is give the audience what they want.

  • Sternac

    Justin, invest 15 minutes of your time and you can record the show on your computer, then you can listen to it whenever you want. Some of you supposed “fans” are quite pathetic. I swear you won’t be happy until Stern broadcasts from the backseat of your car.

    Have you checked Infinity’s stock recently?

  • Ben Sparks

    >>> Have you checked Infinity’s stock recently?

    There is no Infinity stock.

    CBS stock, however, is up 20% this year.

  • http://www.citybusinesschurch.org/blog Justin

    I have no clue how to record Stern’s show onto my computer. It would take me way more than 15 minutes to figure it out.

    Am I dumb? Probably. But why doesn’t Howard just simplify the process and do a podcast that I can buy. That really would only take me 15 minutes.

    It’s arrogance to make the consumer come to you and work hard to get your product. If Howard wants me to listen to his show, then he should make the process as simple and easy as possible.

    FWIW, I’m not a hardcore Stern fan. I just liked his show and listened to it every day. But not anymore.

  • sternac

    Justin, ever heard of google? Its pretty simple.

    I am glad fairweather “fans” like you left. No need to dumb down the program so that you can “get” it. Good riddance don’t come back. No Gary Roast for you. Now go run off and listen to O&A whine about how Howard “censored” them.

  • Justin

    Sadly, Howard disagrees with you. Which is why He and Sirius are spending so much time and money trying to get me back.

    That said, I would love to hear the Gary Roast. The show where they played Gary’s apology video to his ex-girlfriend is without a doubt one of the funniest moments in radio ever. I do miss those guys.

  • sternac

    Justin you are a little full of yourself. I think you would score a 35. Don’t know what that means? Too bad.

  • Grey podcast listener

    There are ‘dark’ sites where someone makes available decent recordings of the whole HS lineup. I take those in place of the podcast I wish he’d offer – I’d pay but I’d drop Sirius (have & like XM better). But I’m pretty sure Howard and his Sirius buddies have worked the numbers. Sirius makes the money off the radios ($50 for a mounting kit? come on!) and the subs, and (see couple posts back re: This American Life) charging for podcasts has yet to be successful in the sorts of numbers Howard likes.

  • http://www.citybusinesschurch.org/blog Justin

    I think you’re right about Sirius making a lot of money off selling radios and radio equipment.

    But I still find it hard to believe that there isn’t money to be made in podcasts. And I don’t think satellite radio is the future. I think internet radio is the future. And podcasts are integral to that listening experience.

    Whatever. I wish Howard the best. And when he starts offering podcasts, I’ll start listening again.