A recent article in the LA Times asked the question: where have all of Howard Stern’s listeners gone? As Howard himself complained to Entertainment Weekly, not enough have followed him to Sirius, and as the early ratings have shown, many didn’t stick around to listen to Adam Carolla or David Lee Roth.
I can’t speak for the 9,999,999 listeners who didn’t go to Sirius, but as a Stern detractor who became a listener who became a fan over the past decade, I can tell you why I didn’t go to Sirius and why I’m probably not helping Adam Carolla’s ratings.
First off, I probably need to say that morning drive radio shows are one of my great guilty pleasures, and over the years, I’ve enjoyed such shows as “Dean and Don’s Breakfast Club” on KKDJ in Fresno; “Alex Bennett in the Morning” on Live 105 in San Francisco and “Kevin and Bean” on KROQ in Los Angeles. All of these were local broadcasts, which means local flavor, which is important in the morning.
It was, of course, the one thing that Howard’s show always lacked, which ensured that during my morning run and communte, I would have several things from which to choose when he went to commercial: the aformentioned Kevin & Bean, Indie 103.1, Stephanie Miller on Air America, whomever is on ESPN and music from that always-in-progress personal music bubble I’ve been able to create for myself with my mp3z.
The point being that Howard Stern was one of several choices in the morning, not the only choice. I liked him, but not to the exclusion of everything else. I like sampling all of these things at any given time, and choosing the one that seems the most interesting, and since there aren’t any personal AM/FM/Sirius/mp3 player devices out there, choosing Sirius would limit my access to these other things.
So where did this Howard Stern listener go? Same place I’ve always been: everywhere at once.
Adam Carolla is a pro, and he’s become part of my mix — not as much as Howard was, but more than I’m guessing the one-joke David Lee Roth would have been — but it remains a mix. And since my current commute is only 15 minutes each way, a Sirius car system really doesn’t make too much sense. My guess is that I’m not the only person who uses radio in this way and who misses Howard, but not enough to get Satellite Radio.
Speaking of Satellite Radio: I’m not so much interested in the music there — I’m sure that there are great stations, etc. but believe me when I tell you that I’m already drowning in new music as it is. (Oh, and yay!) So, there are two things so far that would even tempt me to get it: Howard, of course, and Major League Baseball. I really miss my SF Giants broadcasts. But MLB is on XM, not Sirius.
In a weird way, this isn’t so far from the Blu-Ray / HD-DVD debacle: a very interesting technology, but two competing formats, making it difficult to jump in and make a choice. And unlike the new Hi-Def formats, Satellite Radio isn’t interested in manufacturing players that are backwards compatible.
So really I need someone to make personal AM/FM/XM/Sirius/.mp3 player that would work equally well with my home receiver, my car stereo, and a pair of headphones. I would totally be in!
But until that moment, Howard, and/or the services merge and/or my commute gets long enough for it to make sense, I am going to continue to miss your show on a daily basis.