Sirius equipment sales soar By TARA WEISS THE JOURNAL NEWS (Original Publication: December 31, 2005) Howard Stern's show on Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. starts Jan. 9, but if you haven't purchased the radio equipment by now you might not get to hear the inaugural episode. Electronics stores in the Lower Hudson Valley report that several of the models offered by Sirius are out of stock and the home kit, which allows listeners to tune in to the commercial-free service at home, is particularly hard to find. Retailers said that sales of the units were steady until about a month before the Christmas holiday when they surged and became difficult to keep in stock. Retailers attribute the rise in sales to Stern's show. "Those things went like crazy," says Edgar Ruiz, a salesperson at PC Richard & Son in Yonkers. "They're definitely going out because of Howard Stern." Ruiz pointed to a truckload of Sirius systems that had just been delivered. He said it will take a few hours to get them onto the shelf and he expects them to be completely sold out within a day. Despite the buzz surrounding Stern, Sirius' competitor, XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., is still the leader in satellite radio. XM has more than 5 million subscribers; Sirius has more than 3 million. But Stern's move to Sirius is helping some consumers make their decision about which brand to purchase. "I like Howard Stern and without him it would have been more of a toss-up between XM and Sirius," says Roy Pilot, of Yonkers, who was purchasing accessories for the system he received for his car for Christmas at Best Buy in Yonkers. He's not looking for a home kit, he says, since he's rarely at home. Sirius outsold XM at least 3-to-1 in the Northeast, accoring to Bloomberg News. A salesperson at Best Buy in Hartsdale says that "pretty much anything that has to do with Sirius is sold out" and has been for about a week. The newest model, the S50, is sold out as is the model's home kit; the Sportster and its home kit are also sold out. Circuit City in West Nyack just got two S50 models, a precious commodity in this atmosphere. The only home kit they have is for the Sportster. At Circuit City in Yonkers a calendar on the Sirius display counts down the days until Stern's show starts. The store has been sold out of the Sportster Replay and Starmate models since before Christmas. "I don't know when we're getting them back," says Barry Jones, the store's manager. A spokesperson for Sirius did not return a call seeking comment. A month-to-month subscription to Sirius is $12.95 and the equipment starts at about $80 and runs to about $280. Meanwhile, the battle for subscribers continues. XM recently announced that rocker Bob Dylan will do an hour-long weekly radio show starting in March.