January 9, 2006
After weeks of waiting, Howard Stern fans got their wish today as the morning shock jock returned to the airwaves. With Howard on Satellite Radio, is the face of radio changing?
One of the most controversial shock jocks in the history of radio kicked off his new career path. Since Stern announced his move to Sirius, subscriptions have risen six fold.
"It means our fans are actually signing up. They miss us. They want to experiment with this new technology and I couldn't be more thrilled about it," Stern said.
This shift has companies like the Charlottesville Radio Group, who owns WINA and Lite Rock 95.1, looking over their shoulders.
"At this point, it has us concerned to a certain degree but not alarmed. It is something that we have tried to prepare ourselves for," said WINA Program Director Jay James.
The popularity of satellite radio is undeniable with over four million subscribers nationwide. But still the Charlottesville Radio Group thinks they have one big advantage.
"Your local news, your local athletics, things that are important to all of us in our everyday lives, you're not going to get on satellite radio," James said.
James says besides the cost of satellite, the biggest difference is local radio offers local flavor.
"We're your radio station. We care about your kids, your life, your neighborhood, [and] your systems, and that's what important," he said.
Even with the surge in popularity, James says there will always be room for free radio.
"I see a bright future for talk radio," he said.
Stern's deal with Sirius is reported to be around $500 million over 5 years.