Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Why is Howard Holding Back?

Howard's show was truly wonderful today and all the more because of a bunch of silly articles in the press. Particularly the absurd New York Post article by John Mainelli claiming Howard was unhappy with losing his huge traditional radio audience for the "relative obscurity of satellite." It was complete bullshit, but wonderful red meat for Howard to dig into.

Mainelli's article was particularly amusing because the press was just a few months ago claiming Howard's show wouldn't be interesting after he left traditional radio because he wouldn't have an "enemy" (the FCC) to rail against. Didn't take him long to find one, did it? He's railing against the New York Post and all the press that don't take him seriously.

Well, Howard, I take your seriously.

Howard destroyed all the arguments against his huge success in moving to satellite and pointed out accurately that traditional radio is scared shitless over his success and engaged in a massive campaign to try to discredit him.

But what Howard didn't admit to is that he knows the press is attacking him right now is because…

Of Howard.

News about Howard sells papers, it sells magazines, it sells internet sites. Any information about Howard is valuable. But Howard isn't providing it. Howard isn't making news. Howard has deliberately stopped making news. And something needs to fill that vacuum that he's created. Traditional broadcasters are filling it by sending out their goons to invent facts to say Howard's move isn't successful and that he might be returning to traditional radio.

But, you might ask, isn't Howard talking a lot? Isn't he broadcasting for hours every day talking his head off and attacking his enemies? Yes, but he's only doing his show. With a click of Howard's finger he could be all over every talk show, every newspaper, every magazine cover saying how successful his move to Sirius has been and trumpeting the death of broadcast radio.

But he isn't. Why not? Why isn't he pounding the PR pavement as Howard knows how to do better than anyone?

Because his move to Sirius was so hugely successful he doesn't need to. He promoted himself a lot when he first made the move, but he's selling just about every radio Sirius can make (there's still shortages). He more than fulfilled his contract which called for him to bring at least a million listeners over to Sirius. He's brought more than 4 million and counting. He's gotten his hundreds of millions in bonus money.

So while it may piss Howard off when people make up all this stuff, it really doesn't matter to him right now. Not enough to get him to waste his PR skills really trying to fight it. Moreover, Howard knows that it's a good thing not to over expose himself on talk shows and with press conferences so that it becomes more significant when he does go on tour.

So the very fact that the broadcasters lobbying machine can even get out its false message that Howard is missing the limelight (the watercooler talk) is only possible because Howard doesn't give a crap about the limelight. Howard is a brilliant businessman. He doesn't promote himself for attention, he promotes himself when he has something he wants to sell, a movie, a book, a record album or his radio show. But his show is so successful right now there is no reason to hype it.

Howard is deliberately holding back but don't think that he's gone for good. I suspect Howard is waiting for the next generation line of Sirius equipment. And then he'll put on his PR boxing gloves, go out and really kick some ass.

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