America's number two satellite radio broadcaster, Sirius, has hit the three million subscriber target.

The New York-headquartered company, with its 120 commercial-free stations, hopes notorious shock jock Howard Stern will help it make even greater gains on larger rival, XM Satellite Radio.

The controversial Stern, who secured a $500 million (€419m; £287m), five year deal at Sirius, promises to break the constraints set by decency rules on terrestrial radio.

His impending arrival on January 9 has already impacted positively on Sirius's subscriber numbers - 500,000 more have signed up than the 2.5 million forecast by the company earlier this year

XM, meantime, has confidently predicted a six million listener base by the end of 2005, although it has not made any comment on subscriber numbers this quarter.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff