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New Mexican (Newspaper) - October 2, 2005, Santa Fe, New Mexico ENTERTAINMENT Satellite stations assume their battle stations By David HincUey New York Daily News NEW YORK The only thing more certain than skyrocketing fuel bills this fall will be a blizzard of snazzy electronic devicesdehvering entertainment in ways no one unigined even five years ago And somewhere in that blizzard sit XM and Sfrius Satellite Radio gambling billions of dollars that mil lions of Americans will pay a month for radio if it delivers somethingthey cant get for Like every majorleague baseball game Every pro football game Country music Edgy dance music Popular standards Uncensdred comedy and hiphop Rocknroll oldies Come January the klieg lights will only intensify as satellite radio will deliver Howard Stem So is it time for consumers to finally tune in The key factor in whether to subscribe to satellite everyone agrees is howyou use radio If you listen for long stretches say youre a truck driver or a house painter and you cant find a regular station you like sat ellite might be your new best People who are content with Lite FM however or who mostly want local traffic weather and news in the morning prob1 ably dont need it Satellite will never be as widespread as regular admits Jim Collins vice president of corporate com munications for Sirius But it has already built tre mendous listener At XM the objects of that loy alty include Opie and Anthony Bob Edwards from NPRs Morning Edition and New York veteran Jona than Schwartz Sirius which got to market later and has gone for more flash offers among others Stern Martha Stewart Richard Simmons Marky Ranione Lit tle Steven Van Zandt and Cousin Bruce Morrow Beto Alvarez I he Philadelphia Inquirer Because of the attention Stems impending arrival at Sirius has drawn its tempting to sug gest the fate of his show will be thefate of satel lite radio Everyones watching to see how Stern does for says Tom Taylor editor of the news letter Inside Radio For satellite it could be But Taylor stresses that the satellite busi ness is already bigger than even Howard Not surprisingly XM CEO Hugh Panero agrees Stern obviously has helped raise says Panero But well have 6 million subscribers by the end of the year and whats drawn them is some thing much bigger If s the whole range of content music talk and sports you cant hear on terrestrial radio anymore ri Theres no radio station in New York CityV where you can hear Sinatra sing New York New York On XMyou Ultimately thats the ticket for any enter tainment product content Once the hard core radioheads and teenies have signed up XM and Sirius have to convince millions of other people they offer something that terrestrial radio highdefinition radio Music Choice television the Internet and their iPods do not Both services say they know that XMs mission from the beginning says Panero has been channels programmed with real passion not out of a corporate One of our most popular channels is Sirius which plays the most popular songs in high rota says Patrick Reilly senior vice president of corporate communications at Sirius But we have other channels like bluegrass where Ustenership isnt as high but theres an extremely high level of satisfaction Thats the kind of service we can Four years after XM rolled out the first satel lite radio music channels on both services are uneven Because its financially Impossible to staff dozens of music channels with liveair personalities many channels at some or all times are jockless jukeboxes some with narrow playlists That contributes to the frequent comment that listening to music on satellite can feel like a disem bodied experience unconnected to any time or place Other satellite channels however create classic radio particularly the channels with wide playlists and live Norm N Nite does a broad oldies show every after noon on the Sirius Gold channel Van Zandfs Outlaw Country and Meg Griffins Disorder on Sirius are splen did So are Schwartzs Franks Place the folky The Loft and the50s channel on XM If the programming is all national Taylor notes thats not a new concept In a curious he says XM and Sirius are rein venting radio network days of the 30s 40s and SOsT Panero also suggests that if being local is a win ning card for terrestrial radio if s not playing that card much Most terrestrialradio stations have only the most modest amount of local content he says Whafs local about Jack the controversial new for which doesnt even have jocks As for the future XM and Sirius both have longterm plans to become multidimensional media companies offering a wide variety of services But the radio part must succeed to estab lish the brand and some on Wall Street and elsewhere think thafs still an open question Electronics today is a series of says Russ Meyer chief strategy officer for Landbr Associates a branding consultancy Its satellite versus the iPod satellite versus highdefi nition radio Thats why if s critical for satellite radio to get a foothold in the next three to five years If it doesnt some other technology will render it Neither XM nor Sirius is worried publicly Sirius projects 3 million subscribers by years end XM proj ects 6 million XM expects 20 million by 2010 and while that pales next to the 200plus million conven tional radios out there it would be a solidly profitable niche In the manner of all electronics satellite radio will get fancier and cheaper every year Both XM and Sirius think they will stand out even in the blizzard TECHNOLOGY TUNEUP To listen to either Sirius or XM youll need to start with a satellite radio the i bulk of which are in the range Most are car radios but there are also boom boxes small portable i Walkmantype units and plugandplay indoor home use They can j be purchased at electronics stores many j department stores or online at xmradio i j com and You will then need to sign up for a sub scription at a If youre buying a home unit you i will probably also need a place to put i an antenna that faces the Southern sky i Extension cords for antennas are avail able The magazine Oct 28 SUNDAY 25
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