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Satellite Radio Merger: The Beginning of the End?
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November 19, 2008 | by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Sirius and XM have finally joined forces, but is this good news for listeners?

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Posted by ryko  on  11/19  at  08:06 PM

you sound like a shill for xm or something.  since the merger there has been a big shake-up in the channel lineup, but it is for the better.  both xm and sirius had similar, overlapping stations.  why have two 70s, 80s , 90s channels competing?  new playlists and new songs can be found all over the dial.  things have improved since the merger! 

you also state that sirius is the smaller company?  if that was the case why did they end up with all of the controlling shares and final decision making?  it is because sirius is the more profitable of the two going into the future.  xm was in serious need of help which the merger provided.  they didn’t just give control to sirius on a whim but because sirius is the stronger company.

stop spreading your doom and gloom, sirius xm will continue to flourish.

Posted by WalksInDarkness  on  11/20  at  08:22 AM

I agree with the author.  As an XM subscriber, the main thing I cared about was diverse music choices; I did not care one bit about “talk” “news” or “sports”.  The problem is not that “they replaced THIS with THAT”, the problem is that they often removed BOTH of the niche channels from both the XM & Sirius lineup; case in point would be “punk” music, both channels were ditched and now we have some other channel for teenagers “the faction”. 5 out of 6 of the channels I listened to most are gone now, with NO similar channel being offered from the Sirius side.  It seems Mel Karmizan wants to make Sat Radio a Boring Antiseptic Vanilla format, if I want that I can just put a big FM Aerial on top of my house.  I will likely cancel all three of my subscriptions.

Posted by Vandenbroek  on  11/20  at  08:43 AM

With the emergence of Internet everywhere and a new mobile Internet environment, there’s an extreme game changer for the traditional media. This upcoming shift in how we will use the Web has the potential of revolutionizing content delivery as much as the Internet helped give birth of citizen journalism.

I’m referring to Web Radio and TV. Becoming a media mogul is now as easy as instant cake.

An Internet radio station that streams live content, costs about $1000, monthly cost around $100. Set up takes a few hours and no Federal Communications Commission strings. Don’t want to pay to play? Go to CBS’s new play.it and set up your own radio station – gratis.

Just as the web gave birth to citizen journalism, mobile broadband like WiMAX technology, white spaces, etc. may possibly kill the radio star (and video star, too).

Posted by Vandenbroek  on  11/20  at  08:45 AM

BTW, check out my radio stations at play.it. Just search for AAA and press play on any of the ones that have AAA in the graphic.

Posted by Howard SternFan  on  11/20  at  08:52 AM

I only listen to Stern, Soul Town, The vault(or whatever they renamed it), grateful dead and left of center.  When I was listening to regular radio I didn’t have close to this kind of choice.  And while internet stations/websites can provide the music content, they cannot legally provide the stern content.  Anyone who has enjoyed stern on regular radio, and there were many, need to start listening to sirius xm immediately.  The stern show is hands down the most entertaining talk program in history, and it has only got better.  It is only through negative talk like this article that causes great experiments such as a new content delivery system like satellite radio to fail.  It only helps to convince people on the fence not to try it out and see how great things can finally be.

Posted by Jim  on  11/20  at  09:02 AM

Not only does my XM channel now have some annoying person yakking away about things I have no interest in hearing, the compression levels are now those used by Sirius which destroy any high frequency content such as cymbals.  I am not going to continue my subscription unless they return to the XM channel I enjoyed (Top Tracks) and reduce the compression ratio back to what it was before.  I simply cannot listen to the overcompressed noise they are broadcasting.

Posted by Tim  on  11/20  at  10:40 AM

So far I think the merger made things WORSE not BETTER!
Several of the channels I loved are gone. What happened to Beyond Jazz??? Do we really need 24/7 Dead, AC/DC, Zeppelin, Sinatra etc stations? Wasn’t it the VARIETY that can’t be found on the vast wasteland of crap that is FM that made satellite radio attractive in the first place? Next thing you know Clearchannel will buy up xm/sirius and then I’ll go back to playing cds in my car!

Posted by Dr sanchez  on  11/20  at  12:47 PM

I predict the next brilliant move by Mel Karmizan will be to make a 24/7 Classic Boy-Band channel.  I mean, hey, no one can every get enough “BackStreet Boys” or “New Kids on the Block” right?

Posted by Fred Fredburger  on  11/20  at  11:27 PM

I had both sirius and xm prior to the merger and from what I’ve been able to see (hear really) the only thing that’s changed (music channel wise) is the names and channel #‘s of some of the stations, otherwise content is the same and the merger (which is good for the listeners) has added availability of content to both companies existing subscribers.

The author of this article mentions XM’s “Unique” programing, what was so “unique” about it??

Sure XM had exclusive contracts for certin sports
but then so did Sirius. Sure XM had some exclusive contracts for talk radio, but so did Sirius
(and while I never listened to them didn’t Opey and Anthony go from being on XM “exclusively” to simultanilously being back to FM radio??)

There were “unique” things about both Xm and Sirius and now subscribers have the best of both worlds available to them…... 


By the HSF…..Stern, while still good, was more entertaining in his early day’s when he had to actually be creative, now (most of the time) it’s just one sophomoric bit after the next, with little to no creativity at all.

Posted by Mike  on  11/21  at  01:13 AM

In the car I hook up my 3G iPhone and run Pandora ... I control the content, no commercials, perfect service. And I’m already paying for it anyway.

Posted by Jeff  on  11/21  at  01:14 AM

How about giving the merger a chance?  In time things will continue to evolve…programming and channels.  For instance, Megless Griffin and other hosts have been picked up by “The Loft.”  Now is not the time to abandon this great alternative to AM/FM.  Satellite radio is wonderful and needs our help and support at this critical juncture.

Posted by XM User  on  11/21  at  08:47 AM

Even with the combined lineup, there is still no reliable source for true headline news. CNN Headline New long ago seemed to lose sight of their original charter. It is rare to put CNNHN on and hear anything but extended commentary or in depth stories. Exacerbating this, the Weather Channel was dropped for inexplicable reasons. We have four XM subscritions now. We will almost certainly drop three of them if a good source of news headlines and weather is not provided in the near future.

Posted by Jay  on  11/21  at  11:30 AM

I have to agree with Fred. I have had both Sirius and XM and after the merger all the same content seems to be there. Some channels have just moved and/or been renamed. So what? Why would you drop satellite radio because of this?
For me I like having an endless variety of music on demand. Sure MP3 players are great but you get tired of your music after a while.

Posted by Jeff  on  11/21  at  11:37 AM

I also have XM and Sirius, and I find them both to be great alternatives to terrestrial radio.  I hope they stay around for a long time.

Posted by William Murray  on  11/21  at  11:38 AM

I’ve been a long-time Sirius subscriber and often lauded the service for its unique programming (which Fred questioned above). For example, they had two great channels that I listened to constantly: Boombox (which featured breakbeats and electro-rock, run by a DJ that I followed on WFNX in MA over 10 years ago) and Backspin (which featured old school rap and hip-hop). It was exactly the type of programming that you couldn’t find on terrestrial radio and I was frequently exposed to new (or forgotten) material. Not only did I listen in my car, but I used my computers at home and work to listen online. Unfortunately, both of these channels were eliminated from the combined line-up, with no clear replacement for either. I have not logged into Sirius online once since, but have in fact turned to Pandora and Last.fm instead. I know a number of people who are seriously disappointed with the new programming selections and are prepared to cancel their subscriptions, so I think Mr. Sherwin is on to something. Even I am considering canceling my account, and I have a lifetime subscription so I don’t have any payments. When people like myself start to consider turning off a service they get for free, you know that a business is in trouble. Let’s hope that Sirius hears these complaints and reevaluates its lineup before it’s too late.

Posted by Paul  on  11/21  at  05:04 PM

Ultimately it’s about getting your attention and your money.

Posted by Steve XM  on  11/21  at  08:40 PM

I’m an XM user that’s not happy with the changes Sirius has made in programming.  Why did they remove the Weather channel?  Top Tracks is gone, the replacement is crap, and I can’t believe getting rid of a few part time DJ’s will save Sirius.  It’s obvious to me why channels have disappeared and the compression has destroyed the quality of the music.  When you have to add dozens of sports channels (NFL, NBA, NASCAR) something has to go.

I rarely listen to anything other than XM, but today I’m questioning the wisdom of renewing my subscription.  Are you listening XM?

Posted by Marvin  on  11/21  at  10:59 PM

While I do agree that I wasnt happy to hear the channel lineup changes and I know many others who werent crazy about it either.  At the end of the day, I will definitely remain a customer as long as Sat radio is around.  Before XM was around I downloaded music, and have even done some since, but I continue to find it not worth the time for me to search for music titles, wait for downloads and transfer to iPod or other MP3 sources.  Its simply much easier to hop in my car everyday without having to remember to grab my iPod and connect it, and have mostly commercial free radio of the music I like at my fingertips.

Posted by roy  on  11/22  at  10:33 AM

Don’t try to pull the wool over our eyes

This article is a spin article: Two satellite companies were losing money and struggling in the stock market while competing against one another.  Finally after a huge effort to they managed to get approval for a merger that helps save the companies save money and benefits subscribers in that they get more programming at the same price (along with many other benefits).  And the title of the article is? “The beginning of the end”
A more appropriate title would be along the lines of “A new beginning for satellite radio” because there is new hope for new benefits for subscribers.

Also, every statement in the article about “Howard stern” is wrong.  Let’s start with this one:

“Speaking of Stern, whose success almost saved Sirius, he will never earn enough advertising dollars to pay for his lucrative contract.”
1. “Speaking of Stern, whose success almost saved Sirius”
Before he signed up Sirius had only 500,000 subscribers and was trailing far behind XM.  Today Sirius had the most power and largely took over in the merger.  Why do you think this is?  Howard Stern is the reason Sirius was able to have more power in the merger, he did save Sirius.

2. “He will never earn enough advertising dollars to pay for his lucrative contract.”
True he won’t earn the advertising dollars, but subscribers are what pay for satellite radio, he barely has any commercials, satellite is known for having much fewer commercials than terrestrial radio.  He brought in millions of subscribers, the subscribers alone without any advertising easily pay for his contract.  This is why in his first year; he was given an 82 million dollar bonus, because the subscriptions he brought in made a complete turn-around for the whole company and maybe for satellite radio as a whole.  Sirius became more powerful than XM thanks to all the subscriptions he brought in from loyal fans. 

3. “While Stern denies it, don’t be surprised if his former home (CBS) reaches out to the shock jock.”
They HAVE reached out to him; Howard is not interested in going backwards.  He was miserable on regular radio, especially after Janet Jackson flashed her boob at the super bowl, he became a target, and could not talk freely on the radio because he was under a microscope from the fcc and others.  Now he is happier than ever, and can do the show he always dreamed of,  gets payed more and is more appreciated for his contributions by the company than he ever was by his former bosses.

4. “It’s not clear yet how many of the too-much-talk/not-enough-music programs will actually survive the merger.”
Is this referring to Howard Stern?  There is no place for playing records on his show.  Talk radio is and always has been a very important part of radio, maybe some people only want to hear records;  that’s fine,  but if you think talk radio doesn’t have a huge place in radio that is a crazy position, many of the highest rated radio shows are talk radio. 

5. “Officials from the company claim there will be a general toning down of the obnoxious DJs”

I have never seen or heard anything about this.  I know for sure that there will be no general toning down of the Stern show.  In fact, this censoring or toning down of the Stern show would result in my and many others cancelling their subscriptions.  If you don’t want to hear curse words, don’t walk down the street, don’t go to R rated movies, and don’t put on the Stern show… Easy enough.  I find the Rush Limbaugh show offensive, but I don’t want it toned down; I just choose not to listen.  This is America, this is a paid service, and we do not want censorship. 

Satellite will not fail because it doesn’t have enough John Gorka records on the air.  This is a very biased, off the mark piece that tries to put a negative spin on satellite radio.

Posted by Lloyd Smalls  on  11/23  at  01:09 AM

I have had XM for several years.. I just recently purchased 2 tuners for vehicle use.. Having a decent system in both vehicles, I can very badly notice the compression.. And with the recent channel lineup change, Im thinking of not using either tuner anymore….......  When music is so compressed it has no top end or bottom end and talk sounds “tinny”, its not worth even listening too anymore…

Digital A/V transmission has 1 very fatal flaw and just about every SAT/OTA digital transmission is suffereing from it - COMPRESSION!!!!!!!  Just for the sake of more programing…  Give me 20% less content and replace it with QUALITY!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe these markets would start gaining market presience instead of losing it

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