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Howard Stern Has Been A Big Plus For Sirius

Aug 17, 2007
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. -- Howard Stern may have helped Sirius satellite radio, but his former AM/FM competitors have emerged as the bigger winners. The results of a new web poll survey conducted by Rock radio consultants Jacobs Media, consisting of over 25,000 respondents from over 75 Rock-formatted stations from all over the U.S., show that Howard Stern's move to Sirius has helped that satellite radio company match or surpass the subscriber rate of rival XM among Rock radio listeners. But approximately 70% of Stern's regular listeners acknowledge they're now listening to his old competitors, commercial radio morning shows in local markets. The survey was conducted in late February, about 5-6 weeks after Stern's debut on Sirius.

The survey, among all respondents, also shows subscriber parity between Sirius and XM (both with 6%). Of those who say they are likely to buy satellite radio this year, the edge belongs to Sirius. While this shows growth from last year's study, it also is a reminder that satellite radio has a long way to go in its quest to become a cultural entertainment force.

Among Sirius subscribers in this survey, Stern was the key motivator for making the purchase. But the study also shows that the Stern-led exodus to Sirius may be about over. Most of those who were enticed by Sirius have already become subscribers, with a smaller percentage indicating they intend to buy Sirius later this year.

Isolating just the markets where Stern was broadcasting on commercial radio in 2005 (over 15,000 respondents), one-fifth of those who considered themselves "regular listeners" to his show have already signed on with Sirius, with one in ten indicating they plan to do so. This is a strong indicator that for commercial radio broadcasters in Stern markets, the worst is over.

But seven in ten of these "regular listeners" to Stern have moved to other commercial radio morning shows. This is an indication that once Arbitron ratings settle down following his loss, several local morning teams and DJs will grow their audience bases in his wake.

Summary: Howard Stern may have helped Sirius satellite radio, but his former AM/FM competitors have emerged as the bigger winners.

About: Jacobs Media's Technology Web Poll II was conducted in late February, 2006, including more than 25,000 respondents across 79 different Rock- formatted stations. Participating stations represent Mainstream Rock, Classic Rock, and Alternative outlets. Of course, this is a web poll and cannot replicate all radio listeners or even all Rock radio listeners. As with all Internet-based research projects of this kind, the results reflect only those who chose to participate in the survey, and do not necessarily represent the views of all Rock radio listeners in the country. Still, the 79 radio stations that invited their listeners to take the survey represent a broad cross- section of Rock and Alternative stations, from both large and small markets, as well as those that play the newest Rock music and those that play only Classic Rock.
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