"Howard's salary should have been tied to the share price of Sirius"
That would have been the right business decision. Instead they promised Howie $500M over 5 years, or $100M per year.
After 3 days on the job they paid him 34,000,000 shares that were worth $100M when they inked the deal. But his comstant pumping to his large audience while on FREE radio spiked the share price to make the 34M shares worth $221,000,000. Every fan that believed in and followed him got the royal screw. He knew damn well what he was doing. He immediately filed to unload. The press had a field day and the price has gone down ever since.
To compound the insult, Sirius gave him a 22,000,000 share BONUS in 2007 that they wrote off as expense in 2006. The 22M shares were worth $84,000,000.
The compensation for Howie amounted to 1/3rd of the $1.1B LOSS Sirius incurred in 2006 ($221M + $84M). They have never recovered.
Stern was the driving force behind people getting to satellite. Without him Sirius would not have as many subs as they do today or who even knows if they would have made it at all.
However, now that Stern is there and people who only subscribed for him have a taste of all that satellite radio offers, most of them won't give it up even if Stern left.
The truth is that expecting us to go back to terrestrial is like asking us to give up power windows in our cars or asking us to use phones with holes by the numbers so we can dial.
My belief as a Stern fan for over 20 years is that he won't entirely leave once his contract is up. I suspect he will still do shows but on a more limited schedule (maybe once a week or a week every month). I honestly don't think he'll abandon radio.
Another factor is that all those people who listen to his show have grown to love other members of his show like Artie Lange, Fred, Sal & Richard, etc...so if in fact Howard does leave, there is enough interest in shows by his cast of characters to sustain interest.
Howard was worth every penny.