Howard Stern may be a professional comedian, but he sure knows how to bring the drama. The King of All Media announced this week that Wednesday, December 15th, 2015 could be the final Howard Stern Show to air live on Sirius XM satellite radio.
On Monday morning, Stern told his audience:
“I’d like to know what’s happening, honestly…If somebody has a contract with me I’ll go work, but that’s it…We’ll see what happens. We might not have an answer for you, but Wednesday could be the final show.”‘
The Howard Stern Show moved to Sirius XM in a major media gamble in 2006 after Stern said he was sick of being censored by bureaucrats on “terrestrial” radio. Stern renewed his contract with the service in 2010, but the current fate of the show is still unknown as Stern’s five year contract comes to an end at the end of 2015, with Wednesday’s show being the last scheduled live broadcast before the holiday vacation.
Stern’s nonchalance may just be part of his bargaining strategy with Sirius XM, where he still holds a powerful position in the company’s financial future. Tuesday, Bloomberg Business reported that Sirius XM could stand to lose $240 million in revenue a year if the renegade shock jock decides to leave. Stern has played an instrumental role in bringing subscribers to the satellite service. Millions of loyal fans followed him to the relatively unknown domain of satellite radio in 2006, purchasing expensive and often difficult to use equipment because of their admitted addiction to Stern’s daily dose of pop culture roasting. While Sirius XM has made steps to diversify their subscriber base, it’s undeniable that the loss of Stern would mean a mass exodus of subscribers who shell out monthly payments for the sole purpose of hearing Stern’s diatribes. Stern has slowly but surely been scaling back his schedule of live broadcasts, currently only broadcasting new shows Monday through Wednesday.
The 61-year-old Stern has often spoken of his desire to retire from the business and “go stare at a wall,” or focus on his artistic hobbies like photography and painting, but also admits that he misses his audience while he’s off air and finds himself monologuing to his wife Beth Ostrosky Stern ad nauseum during vacation periods. Stern hasn’t teased any major farewell plans for Wednesday’s show, so if it is the final broadcast, the Howard Stern Show will go silent with a whimper after nine roaring years on air.