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Jason Pontin

A View from Jason Pontin

D3. Mel Karmazin is Digital. Honest!

Mel Karmazin, the Chief Executive of Sirius Satellite Radio, is talking to Kara Swisher. He is a traditional New York media executive–indeed, a former prince of CBS and Viacom–whose face is sunburnt and mottled from the golf links. Karmazin has…

  • May 23, 2005

Mel Karmazin, the Chief Executive of Sirius Satellite Radio, is talking to Kara Swisher. He is a traditional New York media executive–indeed, a former prince of CBS and Viacom–whose face is sunburnt and mottled from the golf links. Karmazin has found his way into new media not so much because he is excited by its possibilities, but because (in his words) “I follow the money.” In short: advertising-supported radio is wounded by the same shrinking revenues as other kinds of advertising-supported media. So he has created a satellite radio service without advertising and with.. well, Howard Stern. But as a man who is used to running corporations worth billions of dollars he seems fazed by Kara’s lack of deference, and his prepared, tedious answers do not impress the D3 audience. I, too, am weepy with boredom: “Kara, content is going to drive business…” In fact, I am going to get some coffee. Perhaps, you know, a bagel.

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