Mel says lost Sirius/XM channels worth every penny – to bottom line

December 3, 2008

If you’re an old Sirius or former XM subscriber who lost one or more of your favorite channels after the two satellite radio companies merged earlier this year, CEO Mel Karmazin has a message for you: Tough luck, it’s for the greater good.

Karmazin told reporters at the Reuters Media Summit in New York that the two companies had taken the best of breed in each music channel genre from either Sirius or XM as part of a $400 million cost saving drive.

“We’re going to pick the best channels,” said Karmazin. “We’ve gotten hundreds of people who hated it and claimed they were going to cancel. So we’ve analyzed all the cancellations since the rationalization…It’s hard for me to understand what they don’t like.”

“If we took the most aggressive number of people who cancelled and we take that (away) the $120 a year (they pay) it doesn’t get to a $1 million as compared to the significant amount of cost savings as a company that needs to make money,” said Karmazin.

Our colleague Franklin Paul said he was upset with the loss of his favorite classic hip-hop channel, The Rhyme. So Karmazin made his best pitch to an old school B-boy.

“We have other hip hop channels,” coaxed Karmazin.

“You as a subscriber, though you may miss your channel, you need to make sure we make money because you want us to be around so we can invest in programming and we can provide you with all these services,” said Karmazin.

In other words, deal with it.

(Photo: Reuters)


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I’m dropping XM for a while anyhow and try some of the wifi ‘radios’. I’ve have XM for quite a few years and this gives me the opportunity to switch and try other things.

Posted by Qzz | Report as abusive

this guys needs to be replaced. as far as i’m concerned, he did not pick the best channels. although this is a matter of opinion, i am still wondering then what the process was in determining one channel over another when merging the channel because he certainly did not seek the advice of subscribers.

Posted by ? | Report as abusive

Mel what do you know about trance music???. Quote by mel: we are going to pick the best channels: Alright i believe you,the channel 82 the system,the only channel for trance fans wasn’t the best channel cuz it was trance and you have no idea what the hell trance is? cuz you don’t listen to it so that’s why you had to take it out.You have slaughtered the Xm 82 the system,the only trance channel for hundreds of thousands

of trance fans in united states & canada.You were more then happy to keep those 15’s of creepy rock channels but the system 82 wasn’t worth it cuz it was trance right?????????

Posted by Tony | Report as abusive

If they dont care about the people who cancel, why do they offer free months of service when you call to cancel? This company is doomed! I have cancelled my subscriptions. If anyone is cancelling because of the way this company treats its customers, let them know why you are cancelling when you call and do not accept any free service! They do this to keep your credit card on file so they can continue charging you. This was once a fun service to have, now I am sickened by this company and its executives.

Posted by Mike b | Report as abusive

So 5 country stations are kept. 5? Really? But you get rid of the ONLY old school hip hop station and the only good breakbeat station. For what Mel? 5 country stations, 18 Rock-n-Roll stations, 2 Top 40/Pop stations and stations dedicated to single artists: AC/DC, Grateful Dead, Led Zepplin, Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Buffet, Elvis.

Mel………….you are turning satellite radio into terrestial radio. Why? The whole point of sat radio was to bring diversity of music types and styles back to the people. If I wanted to listen to a single artist I would just play them on my freaking MP3 player. You ass clown, you are driving people away and destroying your fan base. You promsied us more variety with the merger not less. You have given us less.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

[…] on regular radio, so why amd I paying for it? Mel’s latest interview shows how out of touch he is. MediaFile Blog Archive Mel says lost Sirius/XM channels worth every penny – to bottom line | Blogs |

Posted by A Article by Orbitcast asking if Mel should resign as Sirius XM CEO – Page 2 – Digital Radio Central | Report as abusive

From a consumer’s standpoint, I can understand all the fuss over the loss of a few channels- the consumer wants everything, regardless of the health of the company providing the service. The consumer is more interested in saving 20 bucks on a flatscreen than stopping to make sure they don’t trample some guy to death. that’s our society.
from an investors standpoint, those cuts had to be made. i’m upset with the loss of the backspin channel on sirius, but i’m buying stock for less than two dimes a pop, so i’m glad they’re finally being fiscally responsible.

Posted by VFC | Report as abusive

I’m canceling – For Good!

Posted by Nicholette | Report as abusive

Wow, this guy has no clue. His strategy seems to be, “PO the paying customer to save the company.”

With that logic Siris XM is not long for this world. Glad I sold my stock and canceled the service.

Posted by Mel Scott Zellner | Report as abusive

Disgraceful…you should have had a PR person deliver your gruel, Mel. Luckily, there are other options out there to choose from so we can stop paying your salary.

XM Radio Died 11-12-08

Posted by Daniel Garrett | Report as abusive

What a real piece of work. An absolute insult to customers….is he maybe losing his mind? He is really just being belligerent and insulting for the people that PAY to make Sirius XM happen!

I realize they are losing massive money but totally eliminating unique and much loved formats in favor of more sports and wasted bandwith on the talk stations was not the right move at all. Merging the music channels….understandable but frustrating. Getting rid of unique and loved formats like the Strobe, with it’s great mix of classic dance and disco, is unforgivable. I’m ready to leave. If you want the Strobe back and have canceled or are ready to, sign this. etition.html

Posted by Vincent Mastronardi | Report as abusive

To me the whole point is this…if you don’t have the channels that we loved such as “The Rhyme”, you may as well get ready for these cancellations that XM Sirius can’t be taking seriously. The money that they will be supposedly saving will lead you to extinction of satellite radio…two companies may not have been able to survive but I’m willing to bet with this lineup NO ONE SURVIVES…why do you think you’re getting all these complaints…booksmart yes maybe…but you don’t have any smarts when it come to what the CUSTOMERS wanted…its only a matter of time…swallow your pride, fix our lineup…or meet your death…I too have an iphone and a new car with auxuilary inputs, trust me XM Sirius, whoever you claim to be…this company’s riding on borrowed time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Menkins Hinkins | Report as abusive

Mel, Mel, Mel, dont you understand we(used) to pay for XM because it offered us something we could not find on FM. Now with the gutting of the XM channels and playlists, XM has turned into a big pile of FM suck. Slacker, here I come!!

Posted by Chris t | Report as abusive

put back music stations, commerical free…
dump the is everywhere.
commericals on the talk channels drive me to cut your product off daily.

Posted by rob | Report as abusive

I believe the 3 free months are a way to dilute the appearance of the cancellations. They track monthly “churn” on every quarterly report… churn is the number of subscribers who canceled versus the number of new subscribers. Anyways, its normally been arond 1.5% – 1.8% churn… so by offering the 3 free months, if they still chose to cancel they would not be included in the churn rate for the first quarterly report after the channel cancellations. Mel did similar tricks financially, at the end of quarters they would refrain from paying any bills so they would have the appearance of extra available cash on the quarterly report.
they got rid of my favorite channel, Boombox… a channel of break beats, mash-ups, and new sounds from the guidance of DJ Liquid Todd… most of the stuff would be heard their first and then hit the maintstream about 2-3 months later. They replaced it with a #1 hits, Pop2k channel… which plays OLD #1 hits from 2000 – 2007, nothing like what boombox was. Now they are now renewing the BTLS show… so I’m leaving Sirius XM, there has to be a better alternative out there.

Posted by Evins Wardlaw | Report as abusive

It’s very clear to me that Mel and team care far more about the company than their customers. I can completely appreciate the fact that Sirius XM must make money or risk going out of business. However, treating customers as if they don’t matter is certainly not the answer. Maybe Mel needs to go back to business school.

As a method for capturing the voice of Sirius XM listeners, I launched a customer advocacy site a few weeks back. All comments will be shared with the Sirius XM board of directors. Please voice your concerns!

Posted by Dave Onkels | Report as abusive

I certainly understand what Mel is saying, however my problem is that while they did replace certain channels with similar channels (not every channel/genre, but most) the problem I have is that some of the music is now CENSORED!! Why pay $12-16 a month for censored music? You can get that for free!

Posted by Andre | Report as abusive

I bought a new vehicle today and I chose HD radio instead of satellite. I never thought that would happen but I would rather listen to a dozen commercials than thirty seconds of the morons on the satellite stations. Every one of the stations I listened to have new DJ’s and every one of them seems to be intelligence challenged. It’s a bad version of American Graffiti in some cases. These guys are going to need a bailout.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

where did you learn business Mel?.History tell us loyal customers are the one who strongly support a company in hard finical times.what do you except

After this kind of cold & rude remarks: Quote by mel:We’ve gotten hundreds of people who hated it and claimed they were going to cancel. So we’ve analyzed all the cancellations since the rationalization.If we took the most aggressive number of people who cancelled and we take that (away) the $120 a year (they pay) it doesn’t get to a $1 million as compared to the significant amount of cost savings as a company that needs to make money.

Actually it’s not hundreds of peoples,it’s hundred of thousands of peoples who complained. How necessary it was for you to make this kind of rude

statement. Couldn’t you find something better to say,like making more false promises to calm peoples down rather then offending them with your rude unprofessional nonsense.

This merging could be a breeze if you wouldn’t use your own brian chemistry for the channel line needed to listen what peoples like not what you like cuz we are the one who pay you you don’t pay us.

who the hell is going to listen these single artist all day long for the sake of your nonsense cost are out of touch my friend and what’s my point to pay for the satellite radio if i can’t have the music what i want.satellite radio spouse to carry muisc from all genres and do you justify these channels.

18 Rock-n-Roll stations 5 country,Dozens of hip-hop & R&B 2 Top 40/Pop stations and stations dedicated to single artists: AC/DC, Grateful Dead, Led Zepplin, Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Buffet, Elvis. This merging wouldn’t effect much if you wouldn’t rush things up and

give a little attention to disappointed have screwed the dance channels and forcing other genre of music making them 3 in one.why couldn’

you take away some of those 18’s of rock-n-roll channels making them even better and leaving the dance channels alone like system 82.

I AGREE WITH YOU :QUOTE BY MEL:You as a subscriber, though you may miss your channel, you need to make sure we make money because you want us to be around so we can invest in programming and we can provide you with all these services,”

WE WANT YOU TO BE SUCCESSFUL,we want you to make money but you are out of touch my are not treating all genres equal.How necessary it was


these single artists are good replacement and mess with the entire new generation dance channel line up who were few in count???.Buddy wake up and treat

things equal not what you like or dislike.!!!!

You may not be around for long but peoples will not forget these cold remarks and it will haunt your company for a long time.Many will leave and the

one who stay will wait for a competitor to put you and your company back in dark.

Posted by Terry | Report as abusive

It is apparent that Mel does not care what his paying customers think. What makes him think folks should stick around for programming that they can get for free on FM? It really is too bad. We will be cancelling or subscription of 3 radios. We listened to X Country about 95% of the time and it is now replaced with vulgarity and phoney redneck satire and endless chatter of Outlaw country, and not enough of the music we used to hear. I think XM/Sirius is a sinking ship and we are jumping off. I e-mailed Xm awhile back and was told in a response that customer surveys were taken to determine what programming to provide. I was never surveyed, were any of you?


Posted by Chris Rutten | Report as abusive

[…] “best of breed” channel to replace them. “We’re going to pick the best channels,” Karmazin told event attendees. “We’ve gotten hundreds of people who hated it and claimed they were going to cancel. So […]

Posted by Karmazin: Ask Not What Sirius Can Do for You; Ask What You Can Do For Sirius | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD | Report as abusive

Most of these negative articles are coming from either irrational folks or by people associated with conventional radio who aim to put a dent in the armor of Satellite radio. This is a business that must run as a business not to appeased every Tom, Dick and Harry. Don’t you think the management of Sirius objective is to see their company florish. My god they have the stage set for a complete take over of the radio media. How foolish can anyone be to think otherwise. I have personally been surveyed on my preferences. I’m surprised to hear that some weren’t. Their web site gives you the chance to do just that. That is why most of these negative remarks are made by people who’s main objective is to subtifuge the company. Let’s not be fooled by their ambitions. Ask yourself one question. Is 12.95/month worth it to have a choice not to listen to conventional radio. You are getting a lot for this price. Just the talk shows are worth it. I have paid for my subscription for the rest of my life by listening to financial and political advise which has afforded a great deal of money. Just one stock alone that was brought to my attention “FWLT” has made me money on two different occassions within the past 3 months. I am riding it again just because of all the good financial and political content that is available on Sirius. So let’s get real and as Mel says “DEAL WITH IT”. Let’s win the War and foget about the battles … to all of you Sponge Bobs out there… Get Real

Posted by Mr. Sirius | Report as abusive

Karmazin is out of touch when it comes to music. He may know the management and dollar figures that make a company work, possibly make money? But when mel makes note “We’re going to pick the best channels” How do they eliminate “Beyond Jazz and replace a fusion jazz channel with Broadway singing? Maybe Mel doesn;t know that Jazz has a large crossover and the replacement channels he offeren in Jazz do not compare to terestrial Jazz or even free online streamed Jazz stations. I subscribed to XM mainly for the Jazz and purposely to avoid having to listen to Stern.

I am now an HD radio person in the car and streaming 100’s of more jazz stations than Satellite could offer…all 100% Free!

Posted by Adam | Report as abusive

I have 2 subs and 20,000 shares of stock bought at 3.71 is worth .1522 today because of Mel he should be fired and a new board elected.I am nor renewing my subs and selling my stock because SIRIXM is dead and will go BANKRUPT because of Mel.

Posted by LeRoy | Report as abusive

Anybody that says “it’s hard for me to understand what they don’t like” concerning this, is Clear Channel-ly out of touch. Siriusly, dude.

Posted by Magnified Blazar | Report as abusive

Planet Jazz,XM Cafe,The Lab, Fine Tuneing,and Beyond Jazz are all gone.I could listen to any of those stations for hours without getting tired of them. The only station that comes close to comparing to any of those is Watercolors and it is just “OK”. I havem’t canceld yet because I am prepaid through May.

Posted by John Jungen | Report as abusive

I live in the Austin area and subscribed to XM primarily to listen to X Country. Although the Austin area has lots of good country music stations with decent playlists, X Country seemed to be able to combine the best of Austin with country artists from the rest of the country. In short, I really liked X Country.

Now that X Country has been replaced by “something” called Outlaw Country, I won’t be keeping my subscription. Outlaw Country just plain sucks – even with its supposed Austin-based host. If I want to listen to endless phony hillbilly chatter from a radio host, I’ll listen to the local channels for free. Karmazin can take his “best of breed” and go screw himself.

Posted by Luke Warm | Report as abusive

He’s completely out of touch or just a liar. The reason we haven’t canceled is because they gave us all three months free not to cancel! Surely someone has told him that!

I hate satrad now. When my free months run out I’m canceling for sure. Now that I’ve read what an ass the CEO is, I’m more determined than ever to cancel. How much lower can the stock go? Let’s find out!

Posted by Jeffrey Chrome | Report as abusive

Glad to know they don’t miss my 3 XM and 1 Sirius radios. You don’t make money charging people for what they can stream free from their phone, the web, or hear on AM/FM. You provide something they’re willing to pay for.

Posted by Former Subscriber | Report as abusive

Forgot to mention:
Commercials for Sirius radios does not equal “commercial free.”

Commercials for plan upgrades does not equal “commercial free.”

Promos for other channels I don’t care about does not equal “commercial free.”

Just shut up and play music.

Posted by One more thing | Report as abusive

i think satellite radio did not gain so much popularity these days.”**

Posted by Taylor Lewis | Report as abusive

I always like to read this type of nformative post,plz keep posting to upgrade my knowledge.

Posted by online internet tv | Report as abusive

Satellite Radio did not gain so much popularity as expected, maybe because of the reason that it is expensive.,,”

Posted by Daniel Davis | Report as abusive

satellite radios are quite popular these days because you can receive the signal just about everywhere`”‘

Posted by Sleep Aid : | Report as abusive