The love/hate affair with Sanjaya Malakar is over. The controversial crooner who seemed to skate by in earlier American Idol rounds despite his iffy vocal chops was finally voted off the talent-discovery show this week.

But Sanjaya isn't the only loser here. Now that the 17-year-old icon is off the show, Sirius (NASDAQ:SIRI) magnet Howard Stern -- who actively prodded his listeners to keep Sanjaya on -- will chalk up fewer media mentions.

Don't get me wrong here. Stern is the star of satellite radio. He's not starving for publicity. However, have you counted the number of times that Stern's name has crept into Sanjaya stories?

Viacom's (NYSE:VIA) MTV ran at least threedifferentarticles that pegged Sanjaya's success to Stern.

If you go to Google News, searching for "Howard Stern" delivers 4,285 articles. Tack on "Sanjaya," and you'll get 1,325 of those columns back. In other words, Sanjaya got Stern's name out there 45% more than it probably normally would have. Now that Stern isn't heard by terrestrial radio listeners, this kind of media exposure is important to keep non-Sirius subscribers interested.

It's not a perfect science. XM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:XMSR) has been beaming the first few hours of The Opie & Anthony Show to syndicated CBS (NYSE:CBS) radio stations since last year. It hasn't helped. It may have actually hurt, with XM lowering its subscriber targets three times since the O&A experiment.

Then again, there is ironic harmony here too. Sirius may have lost the Sanjaya mystique on Wednesday night, but it launched a Frank Sinatra channel the next day. Now that is a trade worth making. With XM and Sirius set to report earnings over the next two weeks, let's hope that they give the media something good to croon about, rather than resorting to seeing it my way.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is such a big satellite-radio fan that he subscribes to both XM and Sirius. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also a member of the Rule Breakers analytical team, seeking out the next great growth stock early in its defiance. The Fool has a disclosure policy.