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.