Sirius XM subs hate/love channel mashup

November 14, 2008

As if Sirius XM Radio didn’t have enough to worry about (like trying to figure out how to pay its debt and cope with the U.S. auto industry’s flameout) now its got to deal with customers grumbling about its radio stations. Some are threatening to quit the service.

That’s right, subscribers are ticked off about what they are hearing on their radios. Not the radios themselves or the quality of the signal or any of that techniclal stuff — we are talking about the actual radio content that subscribers pay $13 or more to hear each month.

Sirius this week unveiled a new channel lineup that combines XM and Sirius’ rock, pop, talk, punk, hip-hop, classical, country, jazz and sports stations. Together, it’s a robust offering of audio content, which may impress new customers. Long time listeners, familiar to particular channels playlists and on-air talent, are speaking up on blogs after the surprise shift.

Tech blogger Dave Zatz said this on his blog, Zatz Not Funny!:

“See ya, XM. I was on the fence and you pushed. Our time together has been mostly positive, but the massive lineup modifications yesterday without any advance notification isn’t the proper way to treat your customers. So I’m walking. “

The chatter is even hotter over at Ryan Saghir’s Orbitcast and the XMFan bulletin board, where thousands have weighed in. Some, for example, are pleased that the XM system that came installed in their new car now gives them access to Sirius channels they had heard before. Most of the comments however, sound like the Hatfields moved in with the McCoys and, as you would expect with rivals, hate each others taste in music.

A taste:

* “Last night, in the car, I did something I had not done in a long time…I listened to a cd. I will not keep my subscriptions if the formats remain “Sirius” ized. I’ve already purchased a car adapter for my ipod.”

* “My wife and daughter are peeved. They liked Kid Stuff on Sirius.” 

* “Mel Karmazin is determined to boost iPod sales.”

I know how they feel: most of the preset stations on my satellite radio were shifted, and two of my favorite channels — a contemporary R&B and an old school hip hop station — are gone. But it’s still mostly commercial free, and I can still get my fill of funk on “70s on 7″.

What is your take on the programming changes on Satellite Radio? Are you happy? Or maybe thinking of playing your iPod in the car from now on?

Keep an eye on:

  • Advertising group Havas kept its 2008 operating margin goal on Friday although its sales growth slowed in the third quarter amid a global economic crisis (Reuters)
  • Have media shares hit rock bottom? (Reuters)
  • Retailers have increased fourth-quarter cinema advertising spending by triple digits on a year-over-year basis – for a variety of reasons (AdAge)

(Photo: Reuters)


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Hey out there…If your Sirius Radio receiver and dock ever gets stolen out of your car don’t expect Sirius to stop the thieves from revving your radio back up. Sirius will continue to make money any way they can which is why they won’t flag your radio’s ID#. They don’t care where the radio came from or that yours was stolen, they just want the money. Seriously.

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