Rush Limbaugh and Satellite Radio
A loyal reader sent me this article on The Desert Sun where Rush Limbaugh talks about his views of Satellite Radio and the growing speculation that he may be making the jump.
Q. What are your thoughts about satellite radio?
A. I think satellite radio is a new technology and it's going to build slowly. It's tough for me. I'm asked all the time if I'm going to satellite radio, and I've got 604 radio stations. I would cannibalize (myself) if I went to satellite radio. My audience is 22-24 million, and their subscription is like 3 million people. That's pretty small. The question is, they have a pretty big debt load and you've got two satellite companies. At some point, it's possible there will be a new technology that is going to come along and surpass them before they can retire their debt load, like podcasting. I wish them the best, because it's more opportunities for people, but it's going to be a slow build. It's like satellite TV. They have a lot of subscribers and it's taken a lot of years to get there, but they still don't reach the nation.
Q. Have either of the satellite radio companies approached you?
A. They've approached everyone. There's no business reason to do it. It makes no business sense. My radio station, I've been with them for 18-to-20 years and I value them too much to make the program available somewhere else. It would just undercut them.
Now, there's a couple translations I get from this. Both responses are business related.
1. Regarding podcasting, of course Rush will feel it is a dominating force in the market, because he began podcasting (for a fee you can subscribe) back in June, 2005. So of course he's going to endorse it.
2, On the second point, it simply means that neither XM or SIRIUS have given him the right offer. Think about it from Rush's standpoint, "they paid Howard Stern $500,000,000 - why would I sell up for anything less myself?" An understandable debacle, especially considering that Rush has the largest radio talk show audience, as of 2005, according to Arbitron (14-20 million listeners weekly). This is the same with Oprah. The Howard Stern deal set a precident that other huge names will undoubtedly cite in their negociations.