With Stern signed and more than 20 million subscribes, Sirius XM CEO Karmazin is on a roll
After securing Howard Stern's services for another five years and getting satellite radio broadcaster Sirius XM Radio past the 20-million subscriber mark, Chief Executive Mel Karmazin threw a party for his company and subscribers Monday night, hiring Paul McCartney for a private show at New York City's Apollo Theater.
But Karmazin, who's not exactly known for being shy, said in an interview that he was looking to stay behind the scenes instead of trying to share the stage with the super star.
"Meeting McCartney is not part of my plan, but I have been briefed that I might have an opportunity," Karmazin quipped. Asked if he would be excited by that prospect, Karmazin said, "I run out of words after I say, `Hi, how are you doing?' "
Karmazin doesn't run out of words when it comes to the prospects of Sirius XM. Having weathered a liquidity crisis that almost led to a bankruptcy filing and now on more solid financial ground, Karmazin and Sirius XM want to broaden their reach. In an interview, Karmazin detailed plans to add new channels and programming, including a push to go after the Latino audience.
Sirius XM also wants to use its access to your dashboard to provide more than music. Among the new offerings is a service that warns you when you are approaching a traffic camera. Karmazin says it's strictly for safety and not for people to know when they can run lights or speed.
While Sirius XM's stock has been on the rise, the company has challenges. Internet radio sites such as Pandora and Slacker are growing in popularity and commercial radio still gets about 80% of the revenue pie.
For more on Sirius XM's plans, please see our story in Tuesday's Los Angeles Times.
-- Joe Flint
Photo: Mel Karmazin. Credit: Jonathan Fickies/Bloomberg.