In the air
: Satellite radio gets quite the valentine on the front page of today’s NY Times.
Jeff, you live in North Jersey – you should be listening to WFMU, 91.1 in East Orange – widely regarded in both local and national circles as one of the best freeform radio stations in the country.
That is the future of audio broadcasting. Satellite radio is old bottles with new wine.
Granted, some WFMU DJ’s are involved in satellite radio broadcasting on their own, but that’s still formatted broadcasting.
After all, Freedom is Freeform.
While I like WFMU (and similarly KCRW), it’s a rarity on the radio dial; where is WFMU when I’m on Long Island? All the good stations (WLIR) died a sad death in the late 90’s. I have XM and there’s no turning back – I can’t drive in my car without it. The selection on the channels is really stupendous and D.J.’s don’t have to be frightened that a song like The Who’s “Who are you” will get you a $500,000 fine.
Not to be a salesman, but both services are really outstanding. The people programming the stations really care about the music – it may sound corny, but it’s true. I offer this to you – go online to listen.xmradio.com and try out the free online stream for 3 days. Listen to “Special X” and other channels of your choice. Alternately, check out Sirius’ free online stream and see what they have to offer. I think you’ll be pleased even though they are “old bottles with new wine”.
Not everyone is willing to pay for this service, but the few that do, are generally quite happy with what they get.
Oh, I know that some of the Satellite DJ’s care. Like I mentioned, some of my favorite WFMU DJ’s have satellite shows as well. I’m sure I could find something on XM or Sirius that I’d like – I know I could, having heard Little Steven’s show. I’d be much more likely to turn to that vs. commercial radio. (The idea of paying a fee doesn’t bother me, since I already donate money & time to my station of choice). I think we agree of some of the general points, but for me, satellite just doesn’t have the energy and innovation that this very real radio station does.
Of course, you’re out of luck in the car, but you can always get WFMU or one of the California freeforms via internet streams or podcasting!
I think you need to listen to Sat radio. I have Sirius and I can barely tolerate regular radio any more. I only listen to Howard in the morning locally, satellite or ipod the remaining time. But he’ll be on sirius soon. I think you could easily find some equal to to better than WFMU. I just listened for a while to see what you where talking a while it’s good. But not better than satellite by any extent. The only thing I’m waiting for Sirius to do is to stream none-music channels over the internet. Which I’ve heard they may do soon.
Not to belabor the point, but I have listened to satellite before and its ok. Better than commercial, but nothing like any of the truly listener-supported format-free never-know-what -you’ll-hear-next, end-up-listening-to-lots-of-things-you-don’t-even-like-just because-you’ll-never-hear-them-again stuff out there.
Listen to WFMU again in a minute, an hour, a day, a week and it will be a different experience.
While WFMU is very good and programmed well, what about listener supported stations gone awry? Have you ever listened to WBAI (99.5, I think) in NYC? Talk about a mish mosh… the listener supported station has a couple of shows I like, but more often than not, it’s insanity. I used to listen to 2600’s “Off the Hook” and some of their hip hop on Saturday nights, but you couldn’t pay me to listen to the show all day. I think it’s great that it’s there in the middle of the dial, but… things don’t always pan out as planned.
With satellite, you can change the channel to SOMETHING GOOD when you don’t want to listen. With FM, chances you’ll get a commercial or something you don’t want to hear. There’s an “unsigned” channel on XM with lots I’ve never heard – ditto XMU, Bluegrass, etc; I’m sure Sirius has something similar. The point is, there’s always something!
And as far as streaming talk online, I wish XM would do it too. Talk wise they only stream Opie & Anthony, of which I’m quite fond, but I’d like to be able to listen to their news and sports online as well.
… and I wish one of the services would make a “tech channel”; podcasts trump satellite in that respect. Jeff, you should talk to some of your people about that one as people are clamoring for it.
There’s so many choices on XM – I can listen to Miles Davis one minute or Banana Phone the next with my pal Jay as we put a Java Log on the fire, maybe pick up some marshmallows…
XM and Sirius are likely going to see similar market realities to those faced by GM’s OnStar. When you buy a new car from GM, many models offer some period of time where the service is provided for free. After that period the fees kick in. And most people drop OnStar at that point. The only thing I can think of that I’d like to do even less than listen to Howard Stern on the radio is to have to pay to listen to him. I am not alone in this sentiment.
Broadcast radio didn’t have to deal with iPods with thousands of tunes or CD/DVD drives playing music over the car radio, commercial free either. Unless they come up with some other major reason for charging for radio service, I think they will fail.
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