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There's a new judge on America's Got Talent, and it's the brilliant yet polarizing Howard Stern.
Sirius XM Radio's (Nasdaq: SIRI ) top draw made the announcement during this morning's show, as his attorney Don Buchwald brought in the contractual paperwork that will find Stern replacing departing judge Piers Morgan on the popular talent show that airs on Comcast's (Nasdaq: CMCSA ) (Nasdaq: CMCSK ) NBC.
This doesn't mean Stern is leaving satellite radio. He's just a year into his five-year extension with the media giant. However, the move will certainly lead many to question if the distractions and logistics of the television show that has both taped and live segments will strain his resources.
Fans of Stern's show have already noticed that he's doing fewer live shows under his Sirius XM contract extension than he did during his original five-year run and his terrestrial radio gig before that. Stern conceded this morning that the show will require him to fly around to different places throughout the year, but he says it will not interfere with his already diminished radio show's schedule. The NBC show will also move its live broadcasts from California to New York to appease Stern, and it remains to be seen how the rest of the show's cast and crew will respond to that concession.
Now I'm going to tell you why this move is brilliant -- for Sirius XM.
One of the biggest problems with Stern's move from what is now CBS (NYSE: CBS ) six years ago was that Sirius XM remains a walled garden. If you don't have a satellite radio subscription, you just don't have legal access to Stern's show. There are plenty of places to go for bootleg airings, but the point is that even those people are fans who remember him from his shows that drew millions of terrestrial radio listeners.
Outside of the occasional talk show appearances or when he's making headlines, Stern doesn't have the same kind of access to mainstream audiences outside of those tuning in to hear him on Sirius.
This move will change that. Stern will give America's Got Talent its Simon Cowell, and I mean that as a compliment. Stern will be the blunt voice of reason. He'll be crass. He'll be edgy. Stern will also get noticed, and that's where Sirius XM wins.
A lot of younger show viewers who weren't paying attention during Stern's nationally syndicated terrestrial radio days will get to know satellite radio's biggest star. These are the same young drivers who are either fine streaming Pandora (NYSE: P ) through their dashboards or fail to turn their Sirius knobs into the triple digits because they're only subscribing for the commercial-free music channels.
Everybody wins -- save for the poor America's Got Talent contestant who disappoints Stern.
If you want to see how the Sirius XM story plays out, add Sirius XM Radio to My Watchlist.