I’m curious as to how many people started listening to satellite radio (Sirius/XM here in the states) this week because they received a new radio as a gift this past weekend. I know that Scott was very excited about his new satellite radio that he will be having installed in his Jeep. Tech toys are fun.

The folks on Sirius/XM 70s on 7 are saying that there are “thousands and thousands” of new satellite subscribers already. I find this interesting. I have satellite radio in my Jeep and I have to say that around 80% of the time it makes my radio listening on the commute better. There are times that satellite radio is really no different than cable television; a bunch of channels that are spewing out crap. A while back I was flipping around the dial when I landed on Martha Stewart’s channel. While the famed handiwoman wasn’t on her own station at the time, there was another woman who had one of the most annoying voices I have heard in a while going on and on about her private parts. I found this a little bit surprising because I didn’t think that a woman going on and on about her private parts and how they work really fit how I thought a Martha Stewart channel would sound like; I thought there’d be things like how to decorate cookies and grow plants and make a killing in the stock market. I don’t know who the woman was but she was very annoying.

If you listen to some of the music channels you’ll start to realize that they’re not really that different from the terrestrial counterparts, aside from the fact that they don’t have commercials (which is a really big plus). They like to play the same songs over and over again, though. The 80s on 8 channel is in love with Billy Joel. The 70s on 7 channel is torn between Billy Joel and Elton John. The Studio 54 channel plays 12-inch disco mixes of songs from the day in their entirety. I say you just can’t get enough marimba, even if you must listen to all 12 minutes and 32 seconds of France Joli’s “Come To Me”. As a former club DJ, I know that playing a 12-inch disco mix in it’s entirety is bad form and people in a club get cranky when the same song goes on for 12 minutes and 32 seconds.

So I’m curious as to how many people are actually avid satellite subscribers and enjoy it thoroughly. It seems to me that the services like Pandora, Spotify, Last.Fm and Rdio would be cutting into the satellite service revenue, but what do I know. I feel bad for terrestrial radio though, that’s just embarrassing these days.

I was approached a few months ago about designing and building a dance-based internet radio station. I met with the internet radio company and everything, but something didn’t feel quite right. I didn’t feel that I had the proper time and energy to spend on such a project, especially since it would be a side job type of thing until it made some serious cash. Truth of the matter is, I’m not really big on the latest and greatest in the way of current music. The use of auto-tune deprives the listener of any sort of heart, soul or feeling of a song. It’s reduced to a purely mechanical experience, one that is meant to generate revenue and nothing more. That’s one of the reasons I left radio in the first place; it became a bland, money hungry, computerized venture with no connection to the listener. Generic solutions to metrics and equations. I’m not going to put my blood, sweat and tears into something that gives no emotion back. A classic dance station would be a different story, something between the disco era and the auto-tune era. That might be interesting. Maybe someday.

Perhaps I could sell the concept to Sirius/XM for all their thousands and thousands of new subscribers. Let them bring the heart and soul and connection back via satellite.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. I was one of the original XM beta testers back when it was American Mobile Satellite Radio and I’m still with them today. I’ve seen the service change and evolve over the years and not always for the better, especially after the merger with Sirius.

    I remember the live jocks interacting with their audience via email and text. XM had far deeper playlists and typically played the longer album versions of songs.

    XM gave the impression that it was run by people who love music. After Sirius it sounds like a company run by “big radio” and people who think their speciality is marketing.

    Despite all this, I still prefer it to terrestrial radio and hold out hope that someday it will regain some of the personality it once had.

    1. One of the things that I don’t enjoy about the music channels is that it is all voice-tracked (or at least the vast majority of it is). Because I was “in the biz” for quite a while I can easily tell the difference between live and voice-tracked and the use of it is unfortunate because there is hardly any audience interaction. The jock is talking at the audience instead of with them. I think that’s one of the things that frustrates me about the service. We had satellite a while back (maybe ’04?) and I remember the music channels being a lot less repetitive.

  2. My husband and I have had Sirius radios since 2006, first portable units, and now built in units in our cars. We love it.

    I can’t imagine ever going back to listening to terrestrial radio again. I do find that the GLBT channel, OutQ, is a title hard to listen too after a while. (The morning show is particularly awful.)

    Over all, I find the variety of music channels to be good and can always find something interesting to make my commute to work better.

    1. I guess Sirius is best when you jump around the music stations a little bit so it doesn’t get repetitive. I have a really hard time listening to OutQ, as I agree about the morning show being bad. I struggle more with Derek and Romaine, they’re just abysmal and I kind of find them embarrassing to our community, but that’s just my thing.

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