But that doesn't mean Mel's worldview wins and you stand still.
Flush with cash, halt these symbolic gestures of returning cash to shareholders. Maybe buy back a few shares -- hey, everybody else is doing it (!) -- but think of Sirius XM as a growth company with massive opportunity. Invest your cash accordingly.
Hire a CEO for the future.
If you're going to go with an "old" traditional radio guy --
, just make sure it's one that is present and accounted for vis-a-vis new media.
Throwing out some names: One of the founders of
, the network that syndicates/has syndicated Limbaugh, Jim Rome and other big-name talent,
; an old radio boss of mine, new media consultant and former radio VP/GM
; or another guy I used to work for -- one of
(CBS - Get Report)
Radio Dallas-Ft.Worth's top dogs and former
I enter these names in the mix -- and Liberty would be smart to do its due diligence on each -- not merely because I know them (the latter two are personal friends), but because each would be damn good for the job. Other like names I am unaware of undoubtedly exist on the open market.
They respect the history and tradition of radio, but, unlike Karmazin, do not want to preserve it in a mausoleum.
If SIRI doesn't go that route, it needs to do what struggling old blue chip tech companies need to do:
Hire a tech-oriented visionary
who has never listened to terrestrial or satellite radio in his or her life.
The future of radio is online. On the Web. IP delivery. Multi-platform in every way. Satellite radio needs to cease being labeled as such. Use that model where it works -- with your core, as a selling point for coverage, etc. But embrace new ways of doing things to expand your audience and competently compete through the decade and beyond.
--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.