The boss of SiriusXM says the satellite radio giant is “making significant progress” on a deal to extend Howard Stern’s contract.
“Howard tells me he’s never been happier and our relationship with Howard has never been stronger,” outgoing chief executive Jim Meyer said on a Thursday earnings call with investors. “From my perspective we are very far along. But it is never done until it’s done. I am very confident we have an agreement to announce soon.”
The 66-year-old shock jock’s current contract lapses at the end of 2020, stirring speculation about whether he will retire or defect to a rival service like Spotify, which has been on a podcast spending spree this year.
Earlier this month, a Bloomberg reported that Sirius was looking to fork over $120 million a year to keep Stern at the satellite radio station. Stern quickly shot that down on his show, saying he hasn’t seen a new contract and that he and his agent were “kind of baffled” by the report.
“I’m ready to take that deal if I can get it,” the shock jock quipped on air. “It sounded awesome.”
Stern’s previous five-year contracts reportedly have paid him between $80 million and $100 million a year.
Meyer, who will retire as CEO on Dec. 31 and become vice chairman of Sirius’ board, pointed to recent headline-making deals with stars including Kevin Hart, LeBron James and Maverick Carter in a bid to assure analysts that Sirius is serious about keeping Stern.
“Pat McAfee joined our sports lineup, and we returned to live sports across the MLB, NBA and NFL,” Meyer noted. “And we brought our listeners special moments like the recent interview between Paul McCartney and Alec Baldwin honoring John Lennon’s 80th birthday on The Beatles Channel.”
During the quarter ended Sept. 30, SiriusXM added 186,000 new subscribers, giving it 34.4 million total subscribers. Pandora, the company’s music streaming service, added 105,000 new paid subscribers, bringing its tally to 6.4 million.
Overall, third-quarter income edged up 11 percent to $272 million, or 6 cents a diluted share, as sales remained flat at just over $2 billion. Analysts expected EPS of 5 cents on revenue of $1.94 billion.
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