TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: XM and Sirius Consider Merger

XM and Sirius Consider Merger

Neal McLain (
Wed, 17 Jan 2007 00:00:53 -0500

XM and Sirius Consider Merger

By Peter B. de Selding
Space News Staff Writer

PARIS -- The two big U.S. satellite-radio companies, XM and Sirius,
reported sharply contrasting performance in 2006 but agree that a
merger would result in substantial cost savings and might even pass
muster with U.S. regulators.

Comment: As long-time Telecom-Digest readers know, I've long been an
advocate of classical music radio. During my years in the cable TV
industry, I argued in favor of carrying classical-music FM stations
(particularly WFMT) on cable FM. I never had much success with that
argument, and by the 1990s, cable FM was all but dead. Most cable
systems now carry one of the two digital audio services, DMX Music or
Music Choice.

DBS companies carried those same digital audio services for several
years: DirecTV carried Music Choice and Sirius carried DMX Music. A
year or so ago, both companies switched to satellite radio: DirecTV
switched to XM and Echostar (Dish Network) switched to Sirius. As a
DirecTV subscriber, I ended up with XM.

After listening to XM's two classical channels (VOX and XM Classics)
for the past year, I've become a fan of sorts. Their announcers
generally sound like they know what they're talking about, and they
usually pronounce foreign languages correctly. In great contrast to
Music Choice, XM actually does offer choice. Both classical channels
carry a huge variety of music, including many historic recordings.

Given my long-standing advocacy of WFMT, I can't help comparing XM with WFMT:

- XM Classics carries numerous live concert recordings,
many from the WFMT Radio Network.

- XM is non-commercial: unlike WFMT, it carries no
advertising. But XM's prerecorded station breaks are
idiotic and annoying. Given the obvious close association
between XM and WFMT, I wish XM would adopt WFMT's policy
of having all station breaks delivered by the live (even
if tape-delayed) announcer.

- XM's listeners are loyal bunch, just as WFMT's listeners
were. Each channel seems to have its own fan base, with
an e-mail mailing list. Robert Aubrey Davis, producer of
VOX, often remarks about the loyalty of his audience. And
he even answers his e-mail!

All in all, I feel vindicated. After all those years in the cable
industry when I was unsuccessfully advocating classical music, the DBS
companies (cable's archrivals, no less) have proven my thesis:
classical music is a salable product.

So now comes the news that XM and Sirius may merge. Economically,
that makes sense -- I've always suspected that it might happen,
especially in light of the fact that neither company is yet

But I'm concerned about what may happen to the classical channels if
they merge. Sirius carries the Metropolitan Opera's new channel
<> which I'd like to hear. But I'm afraid
that a merged company would drop XM VOX in the process of
consolidating their channel lineups. I'd certainly miss VOX.

I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Neal McLain

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: A very good service I found on internet
while looking one day for streaming radio stations was a service
called '1.FM'. It is strictly internet, with about thirty channels of
music available, ranging from rock and popular music through classical,
baroque and opera. You will find it at and it is a
service of EGI . 24 hours per day, just constant music of
the type desired. I am told many people who desire music on their web
pages simply embed it on their sites. One thing EGI Hosting does is
technical maintainence of audio streams and they sell you your very
own 'radio station' if you wish. All sorts of 'alternative' audio
streams are available on EGI Hosting, and quite inexpensive; a lot
less than what a 'regular' radio station over the air would cost to
operate. They also provide URLs; its up to you to advertise your
'radio station' and sell advertising if desired, and staff it. You
can operate out of a corner in your basement if you wish, with an
internet link to EGI Hosting; they take it from there. Another good
example of this is 'Radio Dizzy, 66' which comes out of Europe but
in English with hourly international newscasts amd some specialized
programs. Being strictly internet, all these stations avoid the
sometimes messy problems with the United States FCC. I was amazed
when searching Google to find many, many internet-only based
stations. And a smart person can easily figure out how to embed these
streams in other web sites, etc, making sure to observe copyright. PAT]

Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2007 12:14:42 CST
From: USTelecom dailyLead <>
Newsgroups: comp.dcom.telecom
Subject: Telecoms Face Cable Competition in Business
Message-ID: <>
Organization: TELECOM Digest
X-Telecom-Digest: Volume 26, Issue 17, Message 6 of 10
Lines: 30

USTelecom dailyLead
January 17, 2007


* Telecoms face cable competition in business sector
* Embarq works to solidify its brand with customers
* Sprint unveils dual-mode handsets
* Column: CBS affirms its digital direction
* China Netcom sells fixed line assets
* Nortel sees BT contract as win for PBT solution
* Time Warner Cable plans wireless, but not as part of "quad" play
* Report: Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco each make a play in Taiwan
* Cablevision rejects Dolans' latest bid
* Manage Customer Facing Business Processes for Service Providers
Tomorrow, Jan. 18, 1 p.m. (ET)
* Singapore awards IPTV license
* Companies flock to mobile Web
* New law makes pretexting a federal crime

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