Sirius nabs Martha Stewart

Domestic diva joins Howard Stern as the latest celebrity to launch satellite radio channel.

Sirius Satellite Radio, which is in a running battle with better-placed rival XM Satellite Radio to win subscribers, on Monday roped in lifestyle guru Martha Stewart to launch a new channel targeting women listeners.

The 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week Martha Stewart Living Radio channel will air programs devoted to cooking, gardening, health, housekeeping and weddings. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia already features content in print, television and online media.

Stewart has seen a resurgence in popularity following her conviction last year for lying about a stock sale. The lifestyle diva, after serving a five-month sentence, will have a regular presence on the channel, apart from being involved in program development, Sirius said.

Last year, Sirius signed a five-year, multimillion-dollar deal with top radio host Howard Stern to air his show on the satellite radio provider, starting Jan. 1, 2006.

"Martha Stewart Living is the premier brand in lifestyle and how-to programming for women and their families. Martha Stewart Living Radio on Sirius will have tremendous appeal to women, who are completely underserved by traditional radio programming," Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin said in a statement.

In the last six months, XM and rival Sirius Satellite Radio have been competing with each other to secure new business deals. Each has been furiously reaching agreements with various automakers and sports leagues.

XM so far has the larger pie of nascent satellite radio industry, with about 3.8 million subscribers, compared with 1.2 million for Sirius.

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