TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: XM and Sirius Consider Merger

Re: XM and Sirius Consider Merger

Gene S. Berkowitz (
Thu, 18 Jan 2007 00:21:56 -0500

In article <>,

> 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
> profitable.

> 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]

WGBH, a PBS radio station in Boston, has started a 24/7 Classical HD
radio channel, and wisely are streaming it over the web at:


[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Thanks for passing along this
information. Much of Thursday I spent installing two new radio
streams -- WGBH Boston and WQXR New York as choices on one of
my (unrelated to telecom) web sites. For interested parties, the
URL is . PAT]

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