Howard Stern has signed a new contract with Sirius XM, ending speculation he might walk away from satellite radio, as he once did from broadcast, and try his hand at Internet radio.
The 12-year agreement calls for Stern, who will turn 62 in January, to host "The Howard Stern Show" on Sirius XM for the next five years as well as starting a video-programming venture.
Stern remains one of the top rainmakers in American radio almost a decade after leaving broadcast. Although terms of the deal weren't disclosed, Bank of America analyst Jessica Reif Cohen estimates Stern will make $90 million a year in salary, up from $80 million in his current contract. The show turns 10 in January.
"I happen to think that its best days are ahead," Stern said. Then, in his trademark provoking tone, he continued: "So, if you are not listening to Sirius XM and 'The Howard Stern Show,' then you are really more like a zombie, a rotting corpse monster, living half a life, deadened and blackened inside. It's as if you were still watching black-and-white television while shopping in actual stores on your way to the post office to fax a memo."
Stern, who fled terrestrial radio to escape the scrutiny of federal regulators and advertisers, had been entertaining the possibility of moving to another medium, including Internet radio. He said he'd be open to almost any scenario — except podcasting.
"If you want to be in radio, forget a podcast," he told his audience earlier this year. "Podcasts are for losers."
As part of the deal, Sirius XM will get to use Stern's vast archive of audio and video performances spanning his more-than 30-year career in broadcasting.
The company, controlled by Liberty Media and billionaire cable magnate John Malone, has developed a large U.S. following, particularly among high-end car owners with built-in satellite radio. When "The Howard Stern Show" debuted in January 2006, satellite radio was still an unproven medium. Since then the company merged with rival XM and now has 29 million subscribers.