Now that it's October, the final quarter of Howard's contract with Sirius is underway. Since Sirius almost certainly isn't offering to extend him at anything close to what he's making on his current deal, he needs to do something dramatic to improve his negotiating position. (I'm assuming he doesn't want to retire and that staying at Sirius is his preferred option, in large part because no one is offering more guaranteed money for a part-time schedule.) I expect in the next couple of weeks Howard will take a page from Letterman and announce that he is "retiring" at the end of the year. He can then do a media blitz to promote his farewell and start loading up the show with familiar guests (maybe even have Artie and Stuttering John back in the studio if he's really desperate) and replaying classic bits, all in the hope of convincing enough former listeners to sign up with Sirius to hear his final shows so he can then go back to management and convince them that he's solely responsible for a big increase in subscribers in the quarter and that they need up their offer if they want him to stay. My guess is the strategy probably won't be successful, mostly because Howard just doesn't have a lot of leverage since there's only one satellite radio company instead of two that he could play off against each other. I don't know how Sirius management would respond, but I suspect that if they can't reach an agreement with Howard regarding a straight salary, they may try to work out an HBO-type deal where Howard keeps his studio and 2 channels, but goes onto a premium pay tier which is made available to all Sirius and XM subscribers. He can determine the price of the channels, how many shows he wants to produce each month, pay his staff directly, sell his own ads, etc. Once he kicks back something to Sirius to cover studio rent and administrative costs, he can keep everything he takes in. Even if he makes less money than he currently is, he probably would clear a lot more than he could doing a podcast, and he wouldn't have to cover the costs of renting space and building a new studio in NYC. If he is going to be taking direct responsibility for the payroll in 2016, it would also explain the attrition that's been going on with the staff.