Sirius XM Radio remains “optimistic” that the satellite radio provider will renew a contract with famed radio host Howard Stern, the company's chief executive officer told investors Wednesday.
In comments made at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment Conferencein Manhattan, Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin said that he is “very confident” that Stern's contract will be renewed before it expires at the end of this year.
“Nothing would make me happier than to announce that we have a new deal with Howard,” he added.
Karmazin emphasized that Sirius has never failed to renew a single contract, from Martha Stewartto the NBA. However, investors have raised concerns this year over the future of two of the company’s largest contracts—Howard Stern and the NFL. According to the executive, a deal with the NFL is nearly complete, although he could not confirm that a compromise with Stern will be reached.
Karmazin admitted that losing Stern could jeopardize Sirius’ core customer base. “There are still people who may only listen to Howard Stern,” he said, conceding that Stern’s show may have single-handedly drawn certain customers to subscribe to Sirius radio.
“If Howard’s not there, we may lose them,” Karmazin said.
The chief executive was not willing to discuss a quantitative estimate of the potential loss a failure to renew Stern might cause, or provide any further details regarding negotiations. “I am not in a position to negotiate in public,” he said.
The company plans to release the results of the negotiations at its November earnings call, Karmazin said.