Sirius brings back hip hop; still owes $1 bln

December 18, 2008

Sirius XM Radio has got a lot of big issues: a huge debt load; its deflated stock price; the auto industry — its biggest source of news subscribers — is hurting; and consumers are shying away from consumer electronics this holiday season.

The company planned to address some of those issues today at its shareholder meeting, hoping to win the right to issue 3.5 billion shares and launch a reverse stock split. Those moves may not fix all of its woes.

But the company has at least addressed one other festering problem. They are bringing back Monie Love in January.

To be clear, they are bringing back “The Strobe” and “Backspin”, respectively, Disco and Old School Hip-Hip channels that bit the dust when Sirius last month combined its content with XM’s. The consolidation angered listeners and even sparked a mass cancellation effort.

Rapper and Radio Host Monie Love

Most people, save for “hip-hop heads”, have no idea who this respected figure in old school rap is. But for listeners of XM Satellite’s defunct channel “The Rhyme”, her show “Ladies’ First with Monie Love” was a “must-hear”, full of classic jams and special guests. (Think Little Steven’s show for rap crowd).

CEO Mel Karmazin at the Reuters Media Summit suggested that tough times call for tough programming choices. This week Sirius seemed to say “Look! we are flexible!”

We will continue to listen to them (subscribers) as we strive to create the best audio entertainment experience available.
— Scott Greenstein, President and Chief Content Officer, SIRIUS XM Radio.

Now about that $1 billion in debt…

Keep an eye on:

  • – Live Nation to lose $19 million on U2 share deal (WSJ)
  • – LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman returns as CEO (WSJ)
  • – Disney has been sued over a profit sharing contract (LA Times)

(Photos: Reuters, Monie Love’s Myspace page)


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XM Sirius might be doing a little better if they actually charged customers for their service. I’ve been a subscriber of XM for three years now and they haven’t charged me the last two years in a row. I get the letter saying they’re going to bill my account. I wait and I wait be they never charge my card. Not that I mind getting free service. But I really won’t like it when they finally get their heads out of their butts and all of the sudden charge me for like three years in one pop. I’d call them but if anyone has ever called their customer service they know that it is some of the worst service out there. I think they contract the service portion of their company to India or something. You call and talk to them and you have to ask them to repeat everything 10 times because you can’t understand a dang work they are saying. If I had make a comment on the new content they’ve switched to I’d say it sucks. I am seriously considering canceling my subscription as well.

Posted by Doug | Report as abusive

Well, Doug, it would seem that if you are not paying for the service then cancelling it is kind of moot. But if you do keep the service, what changes would you like to see?

Posted by Franklin Paul | Report as abusive

Doug, you’re not in a position to complain, are you?
It’s unbelievable that you think you’re entitled to!
You must be a bush cheney supporter!

Hey XM, bring back FINE TUNING !!!!
You bumped the most creative channel you had!!!

Yours Truly,
a PAYING subscriber

Posted by Luke | Report as abusive

Sirius charged my credit card without my consent. I guess than can renew your service without telling you. Its just funny they charge the people who don’t want to be charged and don’t charge the people who want to. They owe a billion dollars for a reason.

Posted by Kris Stone | Report as abusive

I canceled my subscription after two years…Because they canceled all the channels I liked..Fred, xm liquid metal, and a few other chaneles..Plus they started throwing comercials into some of the stations..I thought this was the total reaSON for having satalite radio!

Posted by sam booth | Report as abusive

Same happened to us – they cahrged us for a years subscription without asking first. We had stopped listening a year and half prior. And yes, we had a difficult time communicating with them. Answering a phone is the first impression when not facr to face. And, you know what they say about first impressions. Speaking from a business owner point of view – “the customer is always right” and communication are things of the past.

Posted by Eloise | Report as abusive

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