The Desk appreciates the support of readers who purchase products or services through links on our website. Learn more...

NBC’s “Today Show” to launch on SiriusXM in June

The pre-merger logo for SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
The pre-merger logo for SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

NBC’s national morning news and entertainment program “Today Show” will be simulcast to SiriusXM subscribers as part of a new channel launching this summer, the companies announced on Monday.

Starting in June, the three-hour morning news program will air on SiriusXM channel 108 in its entirety from 7:00 to 10 a.m. Eastern Time and replay on a tape-delay from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern Time in tandem with the show’s airing on the west coast.

The fourth hour of the program featuring Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb will also air on a tape-delay at 1 p.m. Eastern Time.

For NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News, the move is intended to reach millions of commuters that want to continue listening to the program after they leave the house, as well as to attract a new dedicated radio audience who are looking for other morning show options. The move is also meant to attract those who watch competitors on CBS and ABC back to NBC — after several years as the morning show leader, the peacock network was surpassed in the ratings last year by ABC’s “Good Morning America,” which simulcasted portions of the show on XM Satellite Radio several years ago.

“We’ve always believed certain TV works on the radio,” SiriusXM president Scott Greenstein said, adding that the Good Morning America simulcast failed on XM because the show was excerpted on a channel dedicated to ABC News years ago instead of running in full (as NBC’s “Today” will this summer).

For Sirius, the addition of “Today”helps increase its portfolio of commuter programming. The satellite platform airs several live morning programs tailored to the east coast — some replayed for the west coast — but, with the exception of the Howard Stern program (which aired terrestrially for 20 years before moving to satellite a decade ago), SiriusXM has had few original successes.

Both before and after the merger, Sirius and XM had tapped into third-party content producers and established brands to help beef up its selection of content. When XM launched in 2001, it aired some original programming mixed in with audio simulcasts of over-the-air radio stations owned by Clear Channel and others. Early on, both platforms launched “original” channels under established brands, such as the short-lived BET Radio, MTV Radio and Playboy Radio.

The platforms shifted to a strategy of talent acquisition a few years after both launched, notably with Sirius’ poaching of Stern from Infinity Broadcasting (now CBS Radio) in 2005 — a huge drive for subscribers then and one that has sustained over time.

With Stern’s expected departure in 2015 from the newly-formed SiriusXM, the platform is once again shifting away from talent acquisition, opting instead to launch new programming and channels based off established brands. This has been met with mixed success — an agreement with the entertainment website BuzzFeed to air an hourly pop culture show once a week fizzled, though SiriusXM’s recent launch of Comedy Central Radio (programmed separately from the TV channel of the same name) has been more lucrative.

Executives hope “Today” will keep subscribers tuned in once existing agreements with programmers and talent lapse. On Monday, “Today” host Matt Lauer joked on-air that the show was going to “steal some of Howard’s audience.”

The agreement announced on Monday preserves SiriusXM’s carriage of two other NBC channels. Under the deal, SiriusXM will continue to air live audio simulcasts of the consumer news and business channel CNBC and the 24-hour news and political affairs network MSNBC.

SiriusXM closed up 1 percent at $3.19 a share on Monday.

Today Show: “Today Show Radio” launching on SiriusXM in June
New York Times: SiriusXM secures deal to simulcast NBC’s “Today”

Photo of author

About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).