Media Gets It Wrong on Howard Stern

Ad Age wrote a piece September 24 titled "Howard Stern's Ad Rates On Sirius Slump to Low of $5,000". Their point -- apparently -- that Stern's live-read spots sell to advertisers for between $5,000-10,000. The gist of the article is that Stern can't get the reported $30,000 he used to get when he worked for CBS/Infinity on terrestrial radio. To add some needed perspective: Stern is Sirius Satellite Radio. It's paying him $500 million plus stock incentives for selling Sirius to the public. So far it has worked. Sirius is closing the subscriber gap with rival XM. But news outlets have a problem with Stern. They confuse his show's content for his business savvy. Up to $10,000 for a live-read satellite radio commercial is amazing considering satellite radio is still the frontier -- that's 1/3 of the terrestrial rate card. Ad people cling to their ratings -- or lack of them in this case -- at their own peril. Look up. You don't need ratings to compare Stern's Sirius show with his CBS show. Consider the multitude of publicity, putting Sirius back on the map, the Letterman appearances. The ad community can only relate to things with their cost-per-point mentality. Perhaps that is why Internet advertising took off without them and now advertisers are rushing to jump on the bandwagon. And about those rumors that Stern will do his show (or "a" show) on terrestrial radio again the short answer would be -- not so fast. Terrestrial radio is on the decline with listeners (especially young ones) and can barely maintain an even growth rate in overall advertising. Satellite radio is new and every day is a growth day which means if you want to compare them, satellite radio is -- to use ad jargon -- selling "on the come".