Archive for the ‘Sirius XM News’ Category

SunTimes on HD Radio (SIRIUS and XM are gnats!)

Saturday, July 22nd, 2006
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One of our local papers here in Chicago, the SunTimes, has an article about HD Radio where some of the traditional radio broadcasters dismiss XM and SIRIUS as gnats.

Darren Davis, regional vice president in the Chicago market for Clear Channel, the radio giant, said, “Suddenly, there are twice as many radio stations in the market with a wide range of formats. And they’re for free.”

The latter point was a jab at fast-growing subscription XM and Sirius satellite services, which the big boys and girls in traditional radio dismiss as a gnat. A gnat that has attracted about 12 million paying customers since launching in 2001.

HD radio was introduced as a technology in the 1990s. Here in Chicago, in 2006, we have about 15 HD radio stations. I predict that the traditional radio guys are going to have a hard time piecing together the two pieces that they need to create HD as a format: 1. content and 2. an audience.

The cost of creating an HD radio stream is significant, and only a handful of people have the hardware to listen to it (a typical HD radio for your car costs $300), making it difficult for the big radio companies like Clear Channel to justify the expenditure. But until they do justify the expenditure they are not going to have a compelling reason for people to go out and buy new radios so they can listen to HD. A classic chicken-and-egg problem that faces adoption of most new technologies.

SIRIUS and XM also had such a problem, they had to gamble that they could attract an audience after spending billions to launch the satellites. At the rate they are going it looks like they are going to succeed, as they predict they will hit cashflow breakeven within the next 12 months.

It remains to be seen whether the traditional radio companies have the guts to invest significantly in new technology and bet that they can then attract and audience. Even if they do muster the energy to make such a bold move, they are starting late and it is possible that they will never get enough listeners to make it pay off.

Why did SIRIUS Radioand XM have the guts to gamble big while Clear Channel etc. sat by complacently? Because they had nothing to lose. Had Clear Channel pushed HD Radio 10 years ago they just would have stolen their own audience.

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Reuters sees terrestrial radio stocks falling fast

Sunday, July 16th, 2006
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Reuters recently published an article about the faltering prospects of terrestrial radio companies.

The terrestrial guys are in rough shape, ipods, SIRIUS and XM are picking off the most valuable listeners (from a demographics perspective) and are growing fast.

Another benefit to advertisers on SIRIUS and XM is that they can get an accurate count of who is listening. The terrestrial radio broadcasters can only use sampling techniques that can have significant bias in order to estimate their audience.

Google has led the way in making the results of advertising more transparent. I believe that will have a ripple-effect through the rest of the advertising world as advertisers learn to expect accountability and no longer satisfied with wishy-washy estimates of audience participation.

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BMW Canada signs SIRIUS Deal

Tuesday, June 13th, 2006
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In another step in the right direction BMW Canada and SIRIUS Canada announced that they have inked an exclusive long term deal to include SIRIUS Satellite Radio options in the Fall of 2006 in some BMW models. By 2007 BMW plans to offer all models SIRIUS Satellite Radio ready. This is a good sign for SIRIUS in Canada, were growth in subscriptions has been trending similar to the US. Sirius Canada has also added some US content such as Howard Stern, Backspin, and Fox News. SIRIUS world domination is only around the corner.

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Stern interference @ MIT

Monday, June 12th, 2006
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The Boston Herald recently published an article entitled Stern Sirius-ly annoys MIT radios listeners about how some radio listeners are accidentally getting snippets of SIRIUS programming, primarily Stern’s show when they are driving next to cars that are listening to SIRIUS.

The reason why that is happening is that the most common way for people to install SIRIUS into their car is with a Portable, or Plug N Play, SIRUS Radio.

SIRIUS wanted to make their basic radios easy to install, so they included a little FM transmitter in each of the basic radios. The user then sets the SIRIUS radio to broadcast on an unused frequency (in the article they mention that many people have tuned to 88.1) and then tunes their car stereo to that same station. The problem in this case is that the little FM transmitters seem to be a bit too powerful, and the signal reaches outside of the car and into someone else’s car.

There are several important issues that this story highlights:

1. in the same way that the signal that your SIRIUS radio is broadcasting can interfere with other peoples’ signals, their signals, or the much more powerful signals transmitted by the radio stations, can interfere with your signal, reducing the quality of your SIRIUS listening experience. The best way to improve your SIRIUS sound quality is to install a Wired FM Modulator Relay ($19.99) or an Auxiliary Input Adapter ($50-$100). If you need help figuring out which one is right for you, email us at

2. Newspapers (and people) tend to unfairly scapegoat Stern. Just as many people have gotten interference from other SIRIUS stations, like Martha Stewart, and no newspaper picked up that story. Please guys, give Stern a break, he has a really entertaining show that many of us enjoy listening to. We don’t complain about your listening choices.

3. Many modern electronics devices run on old-fashioned radio waves- cordless telephones, cellular telephones, Wireless internet, etc. As devices proliferate there will be more conflicts. One way to alleviate the conflicts is to use the radio waves to transmit digital signals, like SIRIUS does. If FM radio used modern digital technology many more signals would be able to be broadcast on the same amount of radio spectrum and we would all be better off.

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SIRIUS growing faster in Canada too

Monday, June 12th, 2006
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TeleClick in Canada just published an article entitled XM Radio Canada Reports 60% Growth, but Falls Behind Sirius.

Apparently SIRIUS added 100,000 subscribers in Canada from Jan1-May30 while XM added only 75,000. This is exactly the same pattern as in the US. The fact that SIRIUS is gaining in a market where Stern was not initialy as popular and the NFL has a limited fan-base shows just how deep SIRIUS’ content advantage is. Unless you are interested only in music, SIRIUS has a much wider selection of interesting programming than anyone else.

Also, these numbers are almost certainly understated, since many Canadian SIRIUS subscribers actually sign themselves up for the US programming, since it is better. They buy their radio from a SIRIUS vendor that ships to Canada and then either activate it using a friend or relative’s address in the US, or they buy a Pre-paid SIRIUS subscription card.

We really enjoy our Canadian customers and are pleased to ship any product that we sell to Canada.

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Satellites and Stern…

Thursday, June 8th, 2006
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So things are looking good for our favorite Satellite radio provider SIRIUS. They have just announced that they have signed up with Loral Space & Communications Ltd. who built the 3 currently orbitting satellites and the 1 backup satellite, to build 1 more satellite that will be unleashed into space in 2008. That means far better reception for all in the SIRIUS universe!

On another note, Howard Stern fans may have heard a conversation today on the show pertaining to the GM SIRIUS connect (SIR-GM1). Stern and the gang mentioned that they had the unit and that a friend had purchased one at a store. We just wanted to set the record straight by saying that SIRIUS GM Connect is still NOT available. After speaking to the Directed Electronics rep today, the release date has been pushed back again to July. We think that it will really be released closer to August due to the fact that it is not even production yet. In the mean time, we have our own fix for those who cannot wait . Check it out here TSS-RADIO. It is more expensive than the GM SIRIUS Connect, but it will work with some models.

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Busy Time

Friday, December 16th, 2005
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I apologize that we have not had a post in some time. We have been so busy with getting these SIRIUS S50s in and out. We’ve shipped out about 460 of them and still have about 160 that have to come in and go out. Unfortunately none of the S50 Home Kits have seen stores yet and we sure hope they do.

As for the title of the Blog. December 16, 2005. Howard Stern fans will know exactly what that date is. Howard Sterns historic last day on FM radio. I started this business because of Stern in the first place. That is why I will be flying to NYC the night of the 15th. December 16 also happens to be my birthday. I have talked to Mariann from Brooklyn and am excited to see her as well as High Pitch Eric and Jeff the Drunk, a few of the wackpackers I stay in touch with. I will be with the many thousands of Stern fans at his final day in FM radio history. My birthday combined with Stern’s last day and excuse to visit my Mom in CT. I will not have time to take off for the Holidays and this will be a subsitition for that time. Surely, it will be a great trip and a great thing to be a part of, their is no doubt that if I didn’t do this I would regret it.

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