Satellite Radio Ain't Doing So Well, Either

Nov. 12, 2008
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As Milwaukee radio listeners remain flabbergasted that one of the cityís last contemporary stations has switched to a mostly classic rock format, itís worth noting that the satellite radio industry isnít exactly experiencing a renaissance either. Yesterday the two stations, Sirius and XM, completed the final stage of their merger: integrating their programming. Judging from the comments on, a satellite-radio forum, listeners are cold to the changes.

They certainly have good reason to be. In most instances, the playlists appear to have been drastically trimmed and streamlined, and listeners are complaining about the repetition. Subscribers who paid money to escape the shrinking playlists of Clear Channel affiliates are rightly worried that their satellite radio playlists are shrinking, too. The negative buzz certainly isnít going to help the new Sirius XM sway new subscribers, something it desperately needs to do right now as its stock price keeps plummeting (a shiny quarter will buy you a share these days).

Among the challenges this newly merged company faces:

1. As new car sales slow, so do installations of satellite radios

2. Apple is on the brink of adding satellite radio-like capabilities to its iPhone. Other   companies will almost certainly follow suit.

The bottom line is that for most consumers, satellite radio is an awful long-term option, an increasingly compromised service likely on the brink of obsolescence. Then again, Iíll concede that compared to Milwaukeeís classic rock-saturated airwaves, satellite radio still looks pretty attractive in the short termÖ


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