Impact: Before Stern signed on, Sirius was considered the “other” satellite radio company — the Avis to XM’s Hertz. While XM still has more subscribers, the millions of consumers who chose Sirius post-Stern — its subscriber base has grown from under 1 million to nearly 8 million today– made the satcaster a legitimate player. It could even be argued that Stern’s defection to Sirius paved the way for the merger of XM and Sirius.

Assuming the merger is finalized, Stern’s profile promises to get even bigger. While XM and Sirius will remain separate services, it’s likely they’ll share some big-name talent — such as Stern. That could soon make the shock jock available to all of the nearly 17 million satellite radio subscribers.

As it is, Stern has clearly made himself the king of all satellite radio services. A study by Arbitron last year showed Stern’s Howard 100 is the most popular channel on satellite radio.

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But while Stern has made millions for himself — and Sirius stockholders — his move away from traditional radio has not been without some cost. Stern’s antics, which once were a staple of the pop culture, just aren’t noticed as much now that his listenership has dramatically decreased.

POV: Stern says he’s been surprised at how quickly satellite radio has grown. “I didn’t think it would be like this,” he told the Associated Press in November. “Not this fast. This is crazy.”