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Opinion: The demise of satellite radio


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#21 of 90 OFFLINE   Aurel Savin

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Posted January 25 2009 - 07:07 PM

Well written article Ron. I'll put in my 2 cents representing someone that never had a satellite radio subscription and give some of my thoughts. I am a big music fan and to me satellite radio was and always will still be "radio". You are still at the mercy of the dj's/programmers and have no control over what is played. I think overall people who really want to listen to what "they" want in the car will either bring along their cd's or their mp3 players. Speaking of which ... in the same last few years that satellite has been going downhill are the same few years that portable mp3's have become super cheap and aux inputs on cars have become standard, making true customization super easy. The only time I ever considered signing up was when Stern joined Sirrius as I was a big fan and missed his morning banter. But then I thought that if he will be on Sirrius and really have his freedom to do whatever he wants, it would take away from his bite as the struggling everyman that he always related to with his battles for his freedom and his voice to be heard ... and this is what happened somewhat. He lost his bite and now he is dare I say irrelevant regardless of his astronomical salary. Anyway, just read a big writeup in the NY Times that mentioned that satellite radio has NEVER turned a profit since their inception and are not on the way to do so in the near future. Throw in the current general economic woes that plague every business and I think they are facing the innevitable. Bring back good FM programming I say and leave the customization to your mp3 player. Technology has been getting ahead of itself too fast in the last decade. Its time to put the breaks on a bit and really look into what people want.

#22 of 90 OFFLINE   RobertR

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Posted January 26 2009 - 10:46 AM

The only exposure I've had to XM/Sirius is the fact that DirectTV now uses them for their music channels. I much preferred it 5 or so years ago, when they used a different service. The sound quality was better and they had NO DJs.

#23 of 90 OFFLINE   Greg_R

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Posted January 26 2009 - 10:58 AM

Ron, I totally agree with you. As a long time XM subscriber (back when they actually had CD quality channels) I can say that the decline has been long and steady. For people who like talk radio (sports, news, DJs, etc.) I think the SiriusXM service may be palatable. However, every music station that I used to listen to has been completely ruined by DJ banter and short station playlists. I seem to recall reading in the XM fan forums that the old XM stations would have 2500+ songs in their rotation while the Sirius stations had around 500 unique songs in their rotation. XM150 (comedy) and XM46 (Boneyard) are two stations that I used to listen to constantly and that I will no longer turn on because they have been completely ruined. Hint to Sirius: I do NOT want to listen to DJs or annoying call-ins, I want to listen to music (or comedy). If I want a DJ show, then I will turn to the DJ station (or Stern, or O&A, etc.). 2-3hr programs (like XM150 Standup-sitdown and XM46's Eddie Trunk show) were how talk programs on music stations should be done (of course both were canceled after the merger). I am giving SiriusXM until May to correct their problems and then canceling my subscription (I already called them and told them this).

#24 of 90 OFFLINE   MarkMel

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Posted January 26 2009 - 11:17 AM

I miss the punk channel on Sirius - and what happened to Mel's promise of cheaper prices?
"and no one seems to understand the glory of guitar, when out of tune, the off timing, the singers who can't sing, - the beauty of flaw!"

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#25 of 90 OFFLINE   Mark Leiter

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Posted January 27 2009 - 12:57 PM

I have been a subscriber of XM now Sirius/XM for about 3 years and I loved it. While there certainly are problems that you've all made clear. it is still better than the 20 minute an hour of cemmercials you get on FM. Beyond that though. I am getting the feeling that the time for satellite radio is probably at an end. With the coming of nation wide wireless internet coverage, how long will it be til you will simply log into your favorite on-line radio in your car? I seriously doubt that Sirius/XM will exist as a true "Satellite" radio service 5 years from now.
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#26 of 90 OFFLINE   DavidJ

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Posted January 27 2009 - 08:12 PM

Well, I guess it is official:

Sirius XM plans official rate hike for March 11th - Engadget

I'm not personally bothered by them charging for the stream as I don't use it, but it may be a bummer for some. I'm also not sure how many would be willing to pay for it. Seems a bit pointless with all the free streams available.

#27 of 90 OFFLINE   Mark Leiter

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Posted January 27 2009 - 11:28 PM

I didn't follow this that close so maybe I just don't know. But it seems to m I remember one of the main reason the FCC allowed the merger to take place was that Siriur/XM would not be allowed any kind of rate hike for 3 years after the merger takes place.
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#28 of 90 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted January 28 2009 - 10:18 PM

Wow. I guess I'm not the only one less than impressed with the merger. the 80s station used to be my favorite on XM. I no longer listen to it as I can't stand the DJ and the playlist leaves a lot to be desired. I used to listen to 25, 26 (bring back flight 26 please!) Come on do we really need channels dedicated to Elvis, Springsteen and Sinatra? They just combined traffic channels so Seattle now shares with SF, no more wait less than a minute for traffic. I have a tuner in the house and one in each car and I have started to think about canceling.

#29 of 90 OFFLINE   DavidJ

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Posted January 28 2009 - 10:52 PM

I also miss the old 80s station on XM and I think the general consensus here seems to be that the DJs need to go or at least be scaled back. It does make me wonder what their market research is telling them about the DJs. Are they more popular with the general population of listeners? As far as I'm concerned, if they want to cut costs they could lose the DJs. I don't know what to do about the playlist.

#30 of 90 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 29 2009 - 02:37 AM

Been talking with programming director Jon Zellner (Jon.Zellner@xmradio.com) about the complaints from the masses concerning the audio quality of Sirus, the repetitive playlists and the obnoxious DJ banter, all of which has turned this service into nothing more than glorified FM radio. Sorry to tell all of you that while the conversation has been polite, it has not been productive. Sirius management is convinced that running their service with the same elements of FM Radio is the way to continue. Despite the many complaints Mr. Zellner has received through this forum, email and personal phone calls, it seems that he is committed going down the same path that continues to throw his company closer to bankruptcy.

 

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#31 of 90 OFFLINE   Michael Harris

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Posted January 29 2009 - 05:44 AM

I'm an XM subscriber. For me, the result of the merger has been pretty transparent but I do have a few quibbles. I listen to mostly classical so that hasn't changed much but I don't like the fact they got rid of Vox and replaced it with the 24/7 of the Metropolitan Opera. I like opera but I liked the variety of choral music that Vox offered. I was really pissed that Cinemagic disappeared along with a vague promise to return. At least they kept that promise, for now, and it is actually somewhat better with more emphasis on film scores. If this station goes, so does my subscription since this station is so unique. XM Comedy was one of my favorite channels but now rebranded as Raw Dog it somehow lost its edge. I am glad we got the NPR channel from Sirius since it broadcasts programs that are not on my local NPR station. I still get the feeling that some niche stations are going to quietly die and the promise of satellite radio will die with it. At least my radio only cost me $50.

#32 of 90 OFFLINE   Steve Y

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Posted January 29 2009 - 10:27 PM

When XM merged with Sirius - or more accurately, when Sirius swallowed XM... well Ron, your editorial says it all. Satellite radio can compete with portable music devices by playing music that you wouldn't think to own. XM was doing this before (stations like Fred, Lucy, and Ethel, which are now gone). It cannot and will not compete with portable music players by assaulting our ears with obnoxious DJs and limited playlists. It sure as heck isn't going to survive by providing a slightly different shade of Free-FM... for a fee, no less!

#33 of 90 OFFLINE   DavidJ

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Posted January 30 2009 - 02:46 PM

The experts don't think the outlook is good:

Worst Stock for 2009: Sirius XM Radio - Motley Fool- msnbc.com

#34 of 90 OFFLINE   Mark Leiter

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Posted January 31 2009 - 12:10 AM

The experts don't think the outlook is good:



Worst Stock for 2009: Sirius XM Radio - Motley Fool- msnbc.com


It certainly does not look good for Sirius/XM. I for one hope something can be worked out. No matter how bad you think XM has gotten one only has to listen the FM one day to see how much of an improvement XM still is over FM.
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#35 of 90 OFFLINE   Clinton McClure

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Posted January 31 2009 - 09:12 AM

With the exception of catching a Razorback game while on the road, I have not listened to OTA radio in my car or home in about 5 years. Even back then, all I listened to was Love Lines on the way home at night before it was taken off the air here. I listen to a lot of music in the car since I have a long drive to and from work but I'll never pay to listen to the radio since I have a very large music collection, mp3 capability and 6-disc changer.

#36 of 90 OFFLINE   DavidJ

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Posted January 31 2009 - 11:24 AM

It certainly does not look good for Sirius/XM. I for one hope something can be worked out. No matter how bad you think XM has gotten one only has to listen the FM one day to see how much of an improvement XM still is over FM.
I agree with that 100%. OTA radio here is atrocious. Like many others in this thread, there are many things I'd like them to do differently, but more than anything, I don't want it to go away. So I'll take what I can get.

#37 of 90 OFFLINE   Derek Miner

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Posted January 31 2009 - 11:34 AM

The experts don't think the outlook is good:



Worst Stock for 2009: Sirius XM Radio - Motley Fool- msnbc.com
With the stock price so low, can we all buy a bunch and then start raising a stink about how the programming director is killing the company? Posted Image
= Derek Miner =
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#38 of 90 OFFLINE   Eric_L

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Posted February 01 2009 - 09:08 PM

My wife and I have Sirius. She likes it, but I barely ever tune it in. The playlists are short (my wife has noted this too). For example - the 80s station has TEN years of music to choose from - ho is it I can hear the sam song three times in a day? (And I am only in my car for an hour!!!) I became VERY turned of when I was listening to the comedy channel and heard.... commercials!! Commercials???? WTF? Why am I paying a monthly bill to hear commercials! I haven't discontinued my service yet - partly for hope but mostly for lazyness. I get much more satisfaction listening to my iPhone shuffle over my car speakers. If only there were a way I could avoid the cell interference without going into airplane mode.... I've tried everything...

#39 of 90 OFFLINE   Nomad

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Posted February 01 2009 - 09:49 PM

Nicely written piece. Sounds like Clear Channel. I can drive from one end of the country and save but for few and far between original programming the airwaves are inundated with babbling idiots saying the same thing in Tampa that theyre sayng in Lincoln not to mention playing the same 3 songs. Ive come to hate radio. If talk is your thing I hope youre right wing because thats what youre going to get. Thanks for the heads up on XM. I was toying with the idea of signing up but I guess Ill just keep on burning cds.

#40 of 90 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted February 02 2009 - 09:52 PM

I've had both services over the last 4 years, but have ended up with XM. i called 3 weeks ago to cancel both my radios. they gave me 3 free months and asked me to see what happens then.
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