AMS News

Monday, February 6, 2006

Survey: 86% won't be following Stern to satellite radio

Orlando Sentinel Tim Barker
Sentinel Staff Writer

Howard Stern's move last month to satellite radio was supposed to signal the beginning of a new era for the fledgling industry.

In exchange for his $500 million five-year contract, Stern was expected to drive droves of listeners to subscriber-based Sirius Satellite Radio, currently No. 2 behind market leader XM Satellite Radio.

So far, so good for Sirius, which watched its subscriber base leap to 3.3 million from 2.17 million during the months leading up to Stern's switch.

Still, it may be a little too soon to proclaim conventional radio dead, according to a recent survey by American Media Services, a radio brokerage and consulting firm based in Charleston, S.C.

In the random telephone survey of 1,008 adults, the vast majority -- 86 percent -- said they would not be switching to satellite radio because of Stern.

"We have long suspected that all the national media interest in Stern and satellite radio did not reflect what was going on with the American consumer," said Ed Seeger, president of American Media.

Conventional radio stations got high marks from respondents for providing local traffic and weather information, as well as local news coverage.

Super Bowl on the satellite

It's hard to argue, however, about some of the inherent advantages of satellite.

For this year's Super Bowl in Detroit, Sirius demonstrated one of its selling points by offering a variety of play-by-play broadcasts.

Pittsburgh Steelers' fans could choose a Steelers' team broadcast channel. Ditto for fans of the Seattle Seahawks.

And for those non-English speaking fans, there were offerings in Spanish, French, Japanese, Russian, and even Mandarin Chinese.

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