The crown jewel of satellite radio, Howard Stern, will turn up as a Pandora podcast for the first time since SiriusXM Radio purchased the streaming audio service ten months ago for $3.5 billion. The podcast will be a limited-run year-end series that will feature a selection of 19 Stern interviews from the past year. The showcase will be available to both Pandora subscribers and users of its free, ad-supported service. It is the first time since Stern jumped to Sirius in 2006 that his show has appeared anywhere other than on satellite radio.
The series is titled “Howard Stern: 19 from 2019” and will include 19 podcasts showcasing Stern interviews with top-level celebrities, including Jennifer Aniston, Russell Crowe, Robert Downey Jr., and Kristen Stewart; musicians including members of The Black Crowes and Def Leppard, Billie Eilish and Adam Levine; comedians including Jimmy Kimmel, Tracy Morgan, Seth Rogen, and Adam Sandler; and newsmakers such as Hillary Clinton.
SiriusXM will also feature its own Stern year-end programming. From Dec. 23 to Jan. 5 the Howard 100 channel will feature “Best of 2019 – The Interviews,” and the Howard 101 channel will feature “Best of 2019 – Everything Else.” Full video of every 2019 interview will also be showcased on the SiriusXM app.
The question of whether SiriusXM would extend Stern to a podcast on Pandora has been percolating since it bought the streaming music service. In September when the question was put to Jim Meyer, Sirius XM Radio’s chief executive, boasted, “If we were to put Howard in a podcast format in a paywall, it certainly would become one of largest podcasts.”
The addition of Stern gives Pandora a high-profile way to show off its newly redesigned app, which raised the profile of podcasts in the interface. It includes a “For You” tab with music suggestions and podcast picks. Those recommendations are personalized based on a user’s past listening. Released earlier this month, the redesign had been in beta-testing since October.
Pandora hopes the redesign not only increases listening to podcasts, but also helps to slow the rate of user declines it has experienced through the past year. Pandora monthly active users during the third quarter totaled 63.1 million, down 8% from a year earlier. And total ad supported listener hours were 3.32 billion in the period, also down 8% from last year.