What should Howard Stern do?

With impending Sirius doom, due to be on Tuesday, February 17 2009, a lively debate in the blogosphere is breaking out.  What should Sirius, and in our interest, Howard Stern do?

Entertainment Weekly online jumps right into a debate:

And if it comes to pass that satellite radio does sign off, Stern’s listeners needn’t panic because satellite radio needs him more than he needs satellite radio…..

“In the new digital age, distribution is fungible,” Ernest wrote, adding that if Stern builds himself a studio, he can record a daily show and then easily distribute it to subscribers. Let’s say he has 3 million listeners willing to pay just $3 per month for daily podcasts. (As compared to Sirius XM’s $12.95 monthly rate.) That’s $108 million in revenue a year. And, Ernest adds, “he could hire a competent sales guy, and if they can generate (conservatively) another million a month in ad revenue — that’s $12 million more.” Read on

Oxadox.com adds:

Most audience members presumably already have a computer (and portable listening gadgets like iPods, Zunes, and multitasking mobile phones), as well as Internet connections. Listeners wouldn’t have to shell out for additional hardware (as Stern’s satellite subscribers have had to do). And charging a subscription fee would probably cost listeners far less than the $12.95/mo charged by satellite providers.

I am dissapointed that it has taken an economic catastrophe for a blogosphere to start making noise about getting the Sirius content (Howard Stern)  onto consumer’s ipods.  The original Sirius sin was not being flexible enought to reach the audience via MP3 players, and SiriusXM managements lack of understanding the current issues makes them unqualified to navigate the dangerous waters.  I hope Sirius XM makes it, but it looks like a modern ship being operated by a capitain of a Missisippi Steamer.

Slates TheBigMoney has the following sentiment:

…Like print newspapers, travel agencies, and record shops, Sirius XM offers what seems like a pretty great service—the world’s best radio programming for just a small monthly fee—that has, in practice, been eclipsed by something far cheaper and more convenient: the Internet.

Go online and you can find just about any music or talk show that you want. It’s pretty much all free, and it’s computationally personalized to suit your tastes…

…But the iPod could connect to your computer, and your computer was connected to the Internet—so, really, the iPod could get everything. In addition to carrying all the music you could get through your favorite file-sharing app, digital music players spawned podcasts—essentially time-shifted radio—which attracted both talented amateurs and established stars…

I think it is pretty clear, that even if Sirius is able to avoid a bancruptcy on Tuesday, they need a serious restructuring of the business model in order to suceed.

*Edit

I think this statement from DanteTV sums it up very neatly:

….Even more radical ideas may come to the fore. Sirius XM could change its business model to become a provider of audio content that’s streamed over the Web, wireless, and all other types of networks–without owning its own network. Perhaps Sirius could even sell some of its programming, such as exclusive live concerts, as downloads, for an extra fee. “Sirius XM is a channel aggregator,” says Susan Kevorkian, a program director at researcher IDC. “Satellite radio may be artificially limited in its scope by relying on satellite technology as a delivery vehicle.” Read on

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