Sirius XM subs hate/love channel mashup

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.

How bad is advertising? Think 1950s

Everyone seems to have accepted (like it or not) that advertising spending will be in bad shape in the fourth quarter and well into next year. But just how bad is a matter of debate — every new piece of research marks another downward revision to the advertising outlook.

Case in point is Citi’s Catriona Fallon, who issued a new report saying that U.S. advertising spending would drop by 1.8 percent in 2008 and 3.6 percent in 2009. So what? Well, consider this: that would mark the first back-to-back annual declines since at the 1950s. The 1950s! We’re talking The Cold War, Fats Domino, Gidget, Cadillac Eldorado — you get the picture.

Here’s a bit from Fallon’s research report, where she discussed the thought behind cutting the 2008 outlook from growth of 0.2 percent to a decline of 1.8 percent :