Stern interference @ MIT

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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