The free ride for Howard Stern fans ends today. Stern, a New York radio fixture for 20 years and host of a syndicated show for 12 million daily listeners, bid farewell to his fans with a final show on terrestrial radio. On Jan. 9, Stern makes his move to sirrus satellite radio where his once-free speech will cost listeners $12.95 a month. If you buy a new BMW with Satellite radio it is free for the first year.
"Good morning, and welcome to the last show on terrestrial radio," Stern said to launch his grand finale. The sound of "Taps" played in the background.
The show opened with a Stern-centric remake of the classic "What A Wonderful World," and John Lennon's "Imagine."
Stern later planned a two hour midtown Manhattan party to say goodbye to any loyal listeners who turned up and scores already had, despite a driving rainstorm. Stern planned to deliver an address to his radio fans, finishing up a quarter-century on terrestrial radio as arguably its most influential figure.
Stern leaves behind a plethora of imitators spawned in the wake of his success, when his show enjoyed an unprecedented ratings run to hit No. 1 in New York, Philadelphia, Washington and Los Angeles. No point imitating him, you'd need to be different to take his place. Rumor is that David Lee Roth is going to try and fill his boots?
His move to Sirius Satellite Radio, while somewhat risky, comes with a huge financial reward: Stern signed a five-year, $500 million contract to create two new channels for Sirius. The salaries, overhead and other programming costs come out of his windfall. Still, Howard although already wealthy, has hit the windfall with this offer.
During his career, Stern evolved into the center of attention in First Amendment issues and censorship. Infinity Broadcasting paid $1.7 million in 1995 to settle complaints by the
Federal Communications Commission against Stern. In April 2004, Clear Channel dumped Stern from six stations because of his show's content. Satellite radio has NO censorship at this stage.
Sirius is depending on Stern to reverse its money-losing ways. Since the 51-year-old shock jock announced his move last year, the number of Sirius subscribers jumped from 600,000 to more than 2.2 million. That figure is expected to hit 3 million by the end of the year. WAY to go Howard........
Below is the cover of his 1997 movie "Private Parts". If you have not seen it, get it out at your video store.