Rumor: Apple & Howard Stern to Sign $600 Million Deal

Hold on to your hat for today’s silly rumor of the day: Apple and Howard Stern on “on the verge” of signing a three year contract for US$600 million for the so-called King of All Media to host some kind of show on Apple. The rumor was started by a tweet from a Twitter account that follows (or in this case, creates) news about Sirius Satellite’s stock, where Mr. Stern currently hangs his hat.

That tweet: Howard Stern on the verge of signing $600 million 3 year agreement with Apple to host an Internet/TV/iTunes broadcast. $SIRI

The key is that the Mr. Stern’s five year contract with the satellite radio provider is set to expire in January of 2011. That deal was priced at half a billion dollars, as Sirius was looking to buy some credibility, and Mr. Stern, one of the most popular radio hosts in the U.S., was looking for a venue outside the purview of the FCC, which had taken issue with profanity and obscenity-laced broadcasts from the shock jock.

The real issue for anyone who vaguely understands Apple is why would the tech company want a radio (or TV) show, and why would it pick Howard Stern? The company has studiously kept anything with even the taint of obscenity out of its App Store, though it’s also true that the iTunes Store has plenty of sex and violence in the movies and TV shows it sells and rents.

It’s also long been rumored and speculated that Apple was working on an iTunes TV subscription service that could effectively compete with cable TV.  Some kind of iTunes-exclusive show from a flagship name like Howard Stern could serve to anchor such a service, though all of the previous rumors have centered around the idea of Apple offering content from other studios and networks.

Still, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has declared that his App Store offers users “Freedom from porn.” If the company was looking to launch a new TV or radio service that included Apple-produced or Apple-exclusive content, would it do so with a lowest-common-demoninator property like Howard Stern?

The reality is that we give this rumor almost no credibility. While it’s possible there’s some kind of truth behind it, it’s also possible that someone is looking to manipulate Apple’s and/or Sirius’s stock, or maybe even simply having a laugh.

Apple certainly has the bankroll to sign a deal like this, but at the end of the day, the company obsesses about intangible issues like good taste. As popular as Mr. Stern is, no one is accusing him of having good taste.

Howard Stern

Promotional Pic of Howard Stern
Source: Sirus Satellite