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Airwaves: December 17, 2010

Stern Stays Sirius

Coming on the heals of the estimated $60 million three-year deal Ryan Seacrest made with Clear Channel and KIIS-FM (102.7) is the announcement that Howard Stern will stay on Sirius Satellite Radio with a deal estimated by some to be worth $400 million over five years.

Stern claims that this will be his last deal, and that he will leave radio after the new contract expires.

While some may say that Stern lost some of his cache in the move from traditional radio to satellite, but the move five years ago certainly helped give Sirius some street cred. At the time the original $500 million deal was signed five years ago, both Sirius and now co-owned XM were in constantly being mentioned in the news as “troubled,” with many observers constantly mentioning that neither service will survive.

Flash forward to today and you find that Sirius/XM recently announced their 20 millionth subscriber, and while observers are not necessarily bullish on satellite, at least there is some positive press.

Was Howard Stern responsible for that turnaround? Not completely, but he certainly gave brought in a ton of subscribers and some desperately-needed positive vibes. I have even heard Stern and Sirius in taxi cabs; turns out that cab drivers are often big fans of Stern.

Does that make him worth $80 million per year? Probably. Just don’t ask Ryan Seacrest.

Gift Ideas

While I probably have mentioned this before, the absolute best gift you can get for a local radio geek is a subscription to Don Barrett’s LARadio.Com. For a mere $3.85 a month or $39.95 per year, your radio fanatic gets access to a daily news column filled with current and flashback information about local (and not so local) personalities and people behind the scenes, email addresses, a listing of “where are they now,” archives of the past 14 years of LARP, and emailed news bulletins and breaking news. www.LARadio.Com.

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They may be hard to find locally, but I still have a great time listening to HD Radio broadcasts, or digital streams of audio sent right along with regular analog broadcasts. Some would argue the point but I enjoy the increased fidelity and lack of noise on AM HD stations such as KFI (640 AM), KFWB (1070 AM) among others, and the increased stereo separation and available sub channels on HD FM. But you need a special HD radio to get all this; if you can’t find them at local stores such as Radio Shack or Best Buy, try online stores like Amazon.Com.

And finally, while my iPod TOuch is too old to use the new StreamS HI Fi Radio app, the reviews of this $5 app have been extremely positive. And no wonder: it was designed by master radio engineer Greg Ogonowski. What does it do? Turn your iPod Touch or iPhone into an amazingly high-fidelity internet radio tuner, better than you can hear through other apps, it is claimed. StreamS Hi Fi also places all your available stations together in one app, so you don’t need multiple “tuners.” If I ever get a new iPhone or Touch, I’ll give it a full review. Find it at the iTunes Store.


Copyright © 2010 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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