I certainly wouldn’t call any XM Sirius a “monopoly” when it has to compete with free terrestrial radio, not to mention my iPod and CD changer, but I’m still not at all sure how I feel about the latest development in the XM Sirius merger. Subscribers to each individual service woke up today to new channel lineups that, theoretically, maintain the best of both services. The new XM lineup replaces my beloved Ethel, Fred, and Lucy with similarly-formatted Sirius channels (though it sounds like some of the XM deejays were retained). The new Sirius lineup replaces the Sirius decade channels with the XM equivalents (though after the XM program directors for those channels were laid off, I’m not sure if the quality is going to stay the same).
Having only had limited time to listen to my XM subscription, I’m not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, “Ethel” as a station name has way more character than the prosaic “Alt Nation,” and the deejay during my commute this morning was just awful- I’ll particularly miss the local flavor of the DC-based Ethel deejays. On the other hand, all my preset buttons seemed to give me the same types of music as they did yesterday, so it’s possible I won’t even notice that much. And I’m actually kind of excited about having BBC Radio One where I previously had U-POP. (Yes, I’m a closet Europop junkie. Sorry.)
There do seem to be some weird programming choices- I’m not sure why the “Latino/World” category needs TWO stations for Canadian pop, only one for “Latin/Tropical,” and apparently no channels for music from outside the Western Hemisphere. Wasn’t satellite radio supposed to bring us lots of interesting and quirky little niche programming instead of just more channels of homogenized crap? Do we really need an all-Springsteen, all-the-time channel in any universe?
So what do you think, DC satellite listeners? Are you keeping your sat radio subscriptions? Cancelling to protest the loss of DC-based jobs? Adding new programming from the other network to your subscription? throwing up your hands and going back to free FM?