Howard Stern’s not going anywhere.
After months of keeping listeners in suspense, the self-coronated King of All Media has announced that he will remain with SiriusXM for an additional five years. In explaining his loyalty to satellite, he dissed his ex of 15 years: terrestrial radio.
“I had been in a toxic relationship with terrestrial radio,” Stern said on his show Tuesday, “And no matter how well I treated the medium, no matter how successful I made them, they abused me. Going to SiriusXM liberated me,” adding, in a typically shocking aside, “I felt like Tina Turner freeing myself from Ike.”
When Stern joined up with Sirius in 2006, satellite radio was then a new frontier. Stern’s following, which made the jump with him, helped make it a force to be reckoned with.
“I’ve been proven right about satellite radio over and over again,” Stern said. “With this contract renewal, I can’t wait to see what else I’ll be right about.”
While we don’t know the money Stern’s getting for the extension, his previous five-year agreements were reported to be $80 to $100 million a year, including costs for production and staff.
Decades after its debut, Stern’s show remains relevant and has seen a kind of conscientious flowering in the age of Trump.
A longtime guest of the program, the 45th president has been roundly criticized by Stern for his conduct. In 2016, an old episode of the show, in which Trump expressed his support for the Iraq War, became a liability for his campaign. Since then, Trump could tune into the show for some unprompted advice on how to govern and when to resign.
Perhaps Stern’s most heated rebuke of Trump, however, came Monday, when the shock jock called the president’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic “treasonous” after speaking with a caller who said he was a doctor in Cleveland, Ohio.
“You’ve got a guy in charge who doesn’t know about hard work,” Stern said, adding, “I’ve never seen a country more poorly run than this one. It’s a disgrace.”
Announcing the move, the 66-year-old, who’s been enjoying broadcasting remotely from home — or, as he calls it, his “bunker” — admitted that the quarantine life may have informed his decision to delay his retirement.
“Now that I can work from home, I simply don’t have an excuse to quit,” he said.
PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture reporter. He can be reached at Grisar@Forward.com.
Howard Stern signs up for 5 more years of Sirius