Shock jock Stern jumps to satellite radio

Sirius aims for the stars by snatching button-pushing Howard Stern from broadcast ranks.

Shock jock Howard Stern is jumping from radio broadcasting to satellite radio, promising to boost the ratings of the growing medium and bring his show to fans "my way."

Stern and Sirius Satellite Radio said Wednesday that they have negotiated a five-year, multimillion-dollar deal to air Stern's show on the satellite radio provider, starting Jan. 1, 2006. Stern is the top-ranked national radio host among males age 18 to 49, according to Sirius.

"It has been my dream to have the top-rated show in radio since I was five years old," Stern said in a statement. "Sirius--the future of radio--will take this dream to a whole new level, as I bring my fans, my show, my way. It will be the best radio they will ever hear."

Stern's broadcasts are notorious for pushing the limits of what's acceptable for on air--and sometimes going too far.

In April, radio giant Clear Channel Communications dumped Stern from its stations, after the Federal Communications Commission proposed a nearly $500,000 fine over remarks stemming from a Stern broadcast. Satellite radio isn't subject to the same stringent regulations as broadcast radio.

Stern is currently working for Infinity Broadcasting. He ranks No. 1 in 46 large markets across the country, including New York and Los Angeles. That's big business compared with Sirius, which has about 600,000 subscribers.

On his Web site, the radio celebrity now has a ticker counting down the time--from months all the way down to seconds--left on his current contract.

Sirius trumpeted the signing as "without a doubt the most exciting and transformational event in the history of radio" and said the company was eager for Stern's satellite debut to give its subscriber numbers a stratospheric boost.

But the move won't come cheaply for the radio company. It estimates that costs for the show, including Stern's compensation, will total $100 million per year. According to Sirius, it would need 1 million new subscribers to cover the costs of the deal.

Sirius stock jumped 15 percent in trading Wednesday morning to $3.88 per share.

The news quickly made the rounds on Wednesday. "Radio rocked: Howard Stern jumped to satellite; leave broadcast in '06," the Drudge Report blared.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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