Extra! Extra! Stern into orbit

Extra! Extra! Stern into orbit

: It’s killing me that I’m on the West Coast and behind on the news that Stern isn’t going to announce for yet another hour out here: He’s moving to Sirius Satellite (which, by the way, was the stock I bought when all the FCC crap began… it’s up 18 percent right now).

He’s moving January 1, 2006, after his Viacom contract is up. But I’ll bet this could happen sooner. When Bush signs the indecent indecency bill, Stern will shut up and play records and he’ll be damned expensive. There’s really no reason then for Viacom to hold Stern to his contract and keep him on the air; once the curiousity of a silent Stern wears off, it will hurt the stations. He’ll want to go. They’ll let him go. Hell, he could not have negotiated this deal without Viacom’s OK. And then he can move to satellite sooner.

I’m buying my Sirius receiver ASAP. HowardStern.com already has an ad for Sirius.

The economics are what I said earlier:

SIRIUS estimates that Stern only would need to generate approximately 1 million subscribers in order to cover the costs of the deal. Total production and operating costs for the Stern show, including compensation of the show cast and staff, overhead, construction costs for a dedicated studio, and a budget for the development of additional programming and marketing concepts, is estimated to be approximately $100 million per year.

There, ladies and gentlemen, is the last nail in the coffin of broadcast as the central medium in America. And the FCC hammered it in.

The age of one-size-fits-all media is over but the FCC and Congress don’t want to admit it and so they are not allowing TV and radio to compete with the tremendous choice and freedom now available on cable, satellite, and the internet — and soon via ubiquitous broadband and podcasting and all that. I’ll say it again: Just tear down the antennas; we don’t need them anymore.

: Fred Wilson says we’ll look back at today as a day when radio was reinvented, thanks to Stern and advances in digital radio.

He disagrees with my nail-in-coffin argument above. I replied in the comments there.

Just to be clear: I’m not saying that broadcast will die (though I will keep suggesting that we really could tear down the towers once we have ubiquitous broadband). I am saying that broadcast will not matter as much in the media world. Fred thinks/hopes that better satellite programming will competitively push radio to produce better programming. I wish. But I don’t think so for a few reasons:

First, the mass is out; the mass of niches is in. That’s what media is about now, in this world of ultimate choice. The audience is adjusting to it and advertisers will next and they will see that though it’s difficult to put together a mass of niches, it’s more efficient and effective. So ad dollars will leave broadcast for not only cable and now satellite but also the Internet.

Second, look at his post on podcasting.

Third, the pabluming of broadcast by the FCC.

Fred adds in an email exchange:

The cool thing about HD radio is it allows a radio broacaster to run up to 7 audio streams simulatneously on a single channel. Where there was 1, now there can be 7. that’s just one more reason why niche will win. Technology is driving it to happen.