Sirius Would Love To Have Howard Before 2006

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Sirius Chmn: Would Love To Have Howard Stern Before 2006 – Monday December 6, 3:35 PM EST

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. (SIRI) Chairman Joe Clayton said the company would love to bring Howard Stern on board before Stern’s contract with Infinity Broadcasting ends in 2005.

Clayton, who stepped down from the company’s chief executive post last month to make way for former Viacom (VIA, VIAB) Chief Operating Officer Mel Karmazin, avoided giving any indication whether the company is in talks with Infinity to buy out the remainder of Stern’s contract.

“Who said there are any discussions?” Clayton said at a Credit Suisse First Boston Corp. conference in New York.

“If it’s in Infinity’s best interest and in Sirius’ best interest, perhaps something could evolve. But that’s a lot of moving parts and there’s nothing more to report on that,” he said.

Clayton’s remarks were broadcast over the Internet.

Since popular shock jock Howard Stern said he’d join the No. 2 satellite radio provider in 2006, Sirius has basked in increased media and consumer attention. Stern is arguably Sirius’ biggest selling point to customers.

Clayton said the company is still on track to reach 1 million customers by the end of the year. The company said it surpassed 800,000 subscribers just a couple days before Thanksgiving.

The company has made great strides in the retail market over the past two years and expects strong demand this Christmas season, especially on the back of the Howard Stern news. Sirius sells its products through stores like Target Corp. (TGT) as well as through car manufacturers.

Sirius quadrupled its share of the retail market over the past couple years to 40% presently, Clayton said, citing data from MPD Research. The company intends to continue improving its retail appeal with more distribution pacts as well as with new and improved products.

In the second half of next year, the company plans to launch new receiver units from STMicroelectronics NV (STM). The company is also planning to introduce a wearable device at that time. Rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. (XMSR) introduced a $350 portable device in October.

Shares of Sirius traded recently at $7.87, up 32 cents, or 4.2%.

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