's look at Howard and SIRIUS

Friday, December 16, 2005

It's also the way the Big Three television networks--remember them?--once described a Rupert Murdoch bet, way way back in 1993. At the time, Murdoch's Fox network was still considered a scrappy upstart to the broadcast giants. The News Corp. (nyse: NWS - news - people ) boss' ploy to gain equal footing was to spend big money--$1 billion--for must-have programming: the rights to show NFL games.

Put in that context, Sirius boss Mel Karmazin's $500 million outlay for the radio host--Friday is his last day working for Viacom's (nyse: VIAB - news - people ) Infinity radio, in case you haven't heard--seems like a more modest wager. Sirius execs have previously argued that they could justify the payout if they get a million Stern fans to move with him from free radio to the $13 per month service. But they're clearly betting that they'll get a bigger chunk of his broadcast radio audience, which hovers somewhere between eight million and 12 million listeners, depending on which estimate you use. more here

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