Skater icon signed to headline new 'Faction' channel

NEW YORK — Sirius Satellite Radio has inked a deal with Tony Hawk under which the skateboarding icon and marketing phenom will host a radio show anchoring a new channel devoted to extreme athletes and the music on their iPods.

It’s the latest signing for the satcaster as it tries to use celebrity glitz to meet aggressive subscriber growth targets for the year. The ink is still drying on deals with Eminem and former pro football coach Dan Reeves.

The channel, Faction, will be built around the live show “Tony Hawk’s Demolition Radio,” featuring music, skateboarding news and talk. Company said other popular X-Games athlete signings are in the works and will be announced soon.

“There’s a huge gap in the market place for action sports and music that are best encapsulated by the X-Games,” said Sirius prexy Scott Greenstein. “You’ve got a new kind of athlete that kids relate to that’s different from traditional sports.”

Sirius signed up 100,000 new subscribers in the last quarter, surpassing the 500,000 mark this week and staying on course to meet its estimate of 1 million subs by year’s end. Sirius shares took a hit at the end of the first quarter, when subs came in just shy of expectations. Its rival XM Satellite Radio gained 418,000 subscribers in the quarter, bringing its total to 2.1 million.

Hawk’s deal is modest but includes Sirius stock, which peaked at over $4 earlier this year, but closed at $2.61 on Thursday.

Sirius is scheduled to report full financial results next week, but it’s unlikely to significantly affect the stock, whose performance is tied mostly to subscriber numbers — figures the company reported earlier this week.

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