Greg Warren knows the value of a good laugh. The successful long-time stand-up comedian has spent years honing his craft, from appearances on the “Late Late Show” or Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend,” to countless sets at comedy clubs across the country.
His love of comedy is one of the reasons he’s an outspoken fan of how SiriusXM has made such a commitment to comedians and comedy entertainment.
“As a comedy fan, it’s one of the best ways to consume comedy because it’s long form, they really showcase the comedy,” Warren said in a recent conversation. “As someone who takes long road trips to shows, it’s great to listen to and the format really allows the comedy to be the star.”
Warren should know – he said his work has been featured on SiriusXM’s extensive comedy lineup of channels and shows for more than a decade. Given SiriusXM’s huge listener base, he said it’s extremely gratifying to know that if he puts out a new album or material that not only will SiriusXM will play it, but that a ton of people will be able to hear it and enjoy it.
“I have people come up to me all the time at shows who say they’ve been listening to you for years and they’ve followed your career this way. It’s really fantastic,” Warren said. He added that SiriusXM is “very generous with paying royalties, and that’s also really cool.”
Warren’s experience with SiriusXM is not unique nor by accident – SiriusXM has long made comedy a priority across its platform and intentionally made boosting comedians a core part of the focus. From sponsoring comedy festivals such as Just for Laughs, Moontower Comedy Festival and the New York Comedy Festival, to backing the tours of headliners such as Fortune Feimster and Kathleen Madigan, and airing 24/7 comedy content across seven satellite channels that reach nearly 35 million subscribers, SiriusXM has comedy in its bloodstream, according to Jack Vaughn, SiriusXM’s Senior Vice President of Comedy Programming.
“We use every asset we have to promote comedians and help them build their careers,” Vaughn said. “We have lots of marketing opportunities and avenues for listeners to discover comedians, and one of our primary drivers is to work with talent to help get the best material to the widest audience possible. That tends to have a very positive effect on their overall careers.
SiriusXM sets itself apart precisely because of that human touch. While most of the audio entertainment consumers hear these days is determined by computer algorithms, SiriusXM maintains a robust human presence in all the programming that makes it on the air. One of those comedy experts is Jason Shebiro, Senior Director of Comedy Programing at SiriusXM. He said comedians and their labels trust SiriusXM because “our doors are open and we’re ready to listen.”
“We have great relationships with labels and comics, and we personally listen to every track that every makes it on air,” Shebiro said. “We have a team of comedy fans putting their ears to every album and every track, whether it be from an established comedian or an up-and-comer. No one is curating comedy like we do.”
Warren said as someone who has been in the business for some time, he appreciates the fact that SiriusXM really engages with comedians and their work.
“They really capture the right balance between being inclusive of a wide range of comedians and keeping it well curated, with real quality throughout,” Warren said. “It makes it worthwhile to listen.”
Vaughn said SiriusXM’s comedy team is constantly looking for new ways to boost comedians and their careers. At the height of the pandemic, SiriusXM made an intentional decision to give up-and-coming comedians more spins so they could get more airplay, more exposure, and critical income in the wake of live shows and tours. The result: “We were told by dozens of comedians that this was the difference-maker in the COVID years,” Vaughn said.
As comedy fans return to in-person shows and comedians start to tour again, it’s also translating into success on the road, said Shebiro.
“It feels really good when comics tell us they can sell out a bigger venue or fill more seats because people heard them on SiriusXM. We’re really able to turn people on to new comedy in a way that competitors can’t.”
Other initiatives include expanding the cross-promotion of comedians and comedy podcasts from SiriusXM’s Stitcher podcast platform and its seven dedicated satellite radio comedy channels, and pop-up digital channels.
“We love comedians and comedians love us,” Vaughn added, “the entire team works very hard to be an important pillar in their careers and their livelihoods.”