More than once SiriusXM CEO James Meyer has told fans to listen to the Howard Stern Show for word of a new satellite deal for the King of All Media. Yet with just a few live shows left to go on Stern’s current SiriusXM contract, Stern and the satellite giant have both been silent. Eagles legend Don Henley will visit Stern on Tuesday for one of the last big interviews Stern will conduct under his current deal. Despite the myriad options likely open to Stern — from Amazon to Netflix to HBO to developing his own platform — Sirius has sounded upbeat in talking to investors. Is it because, as Henley knows better than anyone, Stern’s satellite deal is like the “Hotel California” — that is, he can check out any time he likes but he can never leave?
Building his own platform is a huge endeavor at this point in Stern’s career, despite his reach and deep fan base. Look what happened to Tidal, Jay Z’s attempt at a giant-slaying streaming music service. (It’s seemingly an also-ran.) Besides, startups are probably a hungrier entertainer’s bailiwick, not one who’s already worth hundreds of millions like Stern and who’s been scaling back his live shows in recent years. So where does he go? Henley, even with an undeniably successful solo career, has always returned to the Eagles for the big bucks, huge tours, the adulation and the higher profile. Stern’s the king at SiriusXM, and king is what he likes to be. Henley told the world memorably in Boys of Summer: “Don’t look back, you can never look back.” But he keeps going there. Henley, 68, is Stern’s senior by seven years. He probably has some wisdom to offer the King of All Media. Stern could leave, and it “could be heaven or it could be hell.”