Many citizens facing a worsening recession are looking at their car dashboards and thinking, “why am I paying for radio?” So Sirius XM, home to Howard Stern and a bunch of other v/o celebs, is facing bankruptcy. The Times says it has $175 million in debt payments due at the end of the month and is “unlikely” to be able to pay. Sirius boss Mel Karmazin insists, “We’re growing subscribers,” and vows to fight a possible takeover by TV peripherals maker EchoStar, which has been buying up its debt.
It’s not just the pay-for-play guys who are suffering: Inside Music Media lists a bunch of big radio companies whose stocks have recently plummeted, from CBS (down 32 percent from its high) to Spanish Broadcasting (down 96 percent).
Marketplace blogger Scott Jagow prescribes Sirius medicine: “Stop paying celebrities ridiculous salaries,” he counsels. “If Howard Stern walks, so be it… Web and wireless radio is clearly where Sirius XM should turn its attention. And it may have to change its fee structure and many other things in an economic climate where people aren’t buying cars let alone car radios.”