Fans of the occasionally controversial radio show host Glenn Beck will be able to hear him on Sirius XM Radio
He's a polarizing figure, but that's pretty much the point. Sirius XM has political talk channels that lean to the right and to the left. Pick your passion.
This isn't necessarily a monster catch. It's not as if Beck is following Howard Stern's footsteps by bidding adieu to terrestrial radio to set up camp exclusively on the satrad platform. The same show is syndicated through 400 traditional radio stations, according to Beck's website.
Now that the market has stabilized and Sirius XM was able to get back up over the $1 mark per share, it may be a good time to nail down some fresh content contracts. Howard Stern is obviously the biggest question mark, with his five-year, $500 million deal up at year's end.
If there's a chance that Sirius XM can't come through in extending Stern's deal, it had better be ready with more than a few carrots to keep subscribers happy.
It can always play the incendiary politics card. If it's ever able to land exclusivity with Beck or Rush Limbaugh -- and counter that by cold-calling MSNBC's left-leaning hosts until it finds a prolific liberal personality -- it could try to acquire new listeners that way. The key, of course, is that it has to nab exclusive talent. It's great that Sirius XM offers up Disney's
Sirius XM needs more Sterns. It has some beefy deals with Oprah Winfrey, Rosie O'Donnell, and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
This is a critical juncture for Sirius XM. It agreed to a three-year freeze on basic subscription rates to gain regulatory approval for the merger, and that's up next summer. If it has any dreams of bumping rates higher without losing subscribers, it's going to have to spend on talent.
There's no pity party for Sirius XM these days. It is profitable. It has come through with three consecutive quarters of net subscriber growth. Regardless of what my political views on Beck may be -- good, bad, or somewhere in between -- I would have rather seen Sirius XM find a way to pry him completely away from terrestrial radio to make Sirius XM that much more relevant to a some of its audience.
Satellite radio is premium radio. It doesn't have to be another syndicator of terrestrial programming.
What programming changes would you make if you called the shots at Sirius XM? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a subscriber to both Sirius and XM. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story, except for Disney. 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.