Howard Stern may return to "free" radio due to cost of "pay" radio…sound like tollers need to learn this, too?

Link to New York Post article.

Seems our toller friends could learn a lesson from an unlikely source: Howard Stern. He jumped from “free” radio to satellite “pay” radio and now only has one-tenth the audience he had on “free” radio. Now granted, his crude content could be the primary reason for this, but it’s worth noting that when people are now expected to pay for what once was offered free, the users went down 90%. Seems there’s a lesson here for tollers: don’t count on a cash cow TOLL revenue stream to materialize for what was once a FREEway, especially with these gas prices!

New York Post

May 9, 2006 — HOWARD Stern says he’s been offered a “major deal” to come back to regular radio via satellite radio – just like his longtime enemies Opie & Anthony.

“The joke could be on them if I get good and worked up [because] I got offered a major deal to go back to terrestrial and stay on satellite at the same time,” Stern told his Sirius listeners in comments replayed and mocked yesterday by “O&A.”

“Can you imagine if I go across town against them in all those markets and just kick some a-? That would really be cool,” said Stern, who now broadcasts to about a tenth of his former audience.

If an offer was actually made to Stern, it most likely came from Citadel Broadcasting, which is in the process of acquiring Disney/ABC’s radio division – including New York’s WABC, WPLJ and WEPN – and is headed by former Infinity/CBS exec Farid Suleman.

Once Suleman gets the keys to ABC’s outlets, he could instantly return Stern to major FM stations in New York, L.A., Chicago and other huge cities, if Sirius, which is paying $500 million over five years for Stern’s supposedly exclusive services, agrees to trade exclusivity for cash.

During a recent investor conference call, CEO Mel Karmazin said he’s not entertaining reverse-licensing offers but added, “It doesn’t mean that we couldn’t in the future.”

Neither Stern’s agent or Suleman returned calls seeking comment.