Stern signed a five-year, multi-million-dollar contract to broadcast on Sirius, a top satellite radio provider of commercial-free music, sports, information and entertainment programming, beginning Jan. 1, 2006.
"It has been my dream to have the top-rated show in radio since I was 5 years old," Stern said in a press release about the deal. "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's show will be heard in every market in the country, the company said. Total production and operating costs for his program are estimated at roughly $100 million a year, according to Sirius, which predicts the legendary talk radio host will only need to attract a million subscribers to cover the cost of the deal.
The brash, outspoken and often lewd Stern, who has been credited with changing the face of talk radio, has been dogged for years by the Federal Communications Commission (search) for indecency and other infractions.
He was also recently dropped from six markets by Clear Channel Communications (search) for indecent material, which led to a $10 million lawsuit by Stern and distributor Infinity Broadcasting Corp. (search) and a countersuit by Clear Channel for $3 million.
Sirius executives don't seem concerned about Stern’s legendary naughtiness on air.
"Signing Howard Stern is, without a doubt, the most exciting and transformational event in the history of radio," said company CEO Joseph P. Clayton in the Sirius press release. "He is an entertainment force of unprecedented recognition and popularity in the broadcast world, who is capable of … generating huge numbers of subscribers for Sirius."
Sirius hopes that snagging Stern will give it a leg up over its larger industry rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. (search)
Satellite radio, a sector that's still in its infancy, aims to expand by luring subscribers to digitally-broadcast radio stations.