Monday, November 17, 2008

You know what sucks? XM Radio

I have my car again for a few weeks, until I drive it down to Texas to sell it to my friend.

It has XM Radio in it. I've had XM Radio for years. When I lived in Minnesota, I had a 15 mile (each way) drive through heavy traffic, and being able to listen to fun stuff is what helped keep me sane. Now that I don't drive much anymore, XM is far less important to me.

Since I had the car, I drove it down to work in Indianapolis, instead of taking the bus. I forgot to bring my iPod along. No worries, I thought to myself, I'll just listen to XM.

Except...XM has changed, and not for the better. Last Wednesday, which is the day I was driving down to Indianapolis, XM and Sirius executed their merger. What this means is, most of XM's music channels went away. No more "Fine Tuning." No more "XM Cafe." No more "Ethel." Just lots of soundalike channels with smaller playlists and slightly different focus. For example, Ethel has been replaced with Alt Nation. Alt Nation is apparently all Southern California Frat Boy Hard Rock Masquerading as Indie, all the time. Yuck.

BPM, the dance channel, survived. And now there's another dance channel, called Area, which is....just about the same. Heavy on the trance, heavy on mix sets, heavy on European stuff. Not Different Enough.

There's a new NPR channel -- that's good, I like it. And they added BBC Radio 1 - one of my favorite pop stations around. Great! But, what about the rest of this garbage? They took away other stations to add a Grateful Dead channel? Really? In fact, there are now six or seven "single artist" channels -- apparently for people who don't know how to work an iPod or a CD changer.

Where's the punk channel? Where's Ethel? And Lucy? And Flight 26? And the disco channel?

This seals the deal for me -- since I'm ditching the car, I'll hardly be listening to XM any more, anyway. I'll cancel my home receiver, and my car's subscription, as soon as I drop the car off in Texas.

Bye, XM. It's been fun. (Did you know that I was one of your first subscribers? I've had XM for years.)

My friend Mickey is the guy buying the car. Think he'll activate the XM? I suspect not, cause he ain't happy about the merger, either.

2 comments:

Glenn said...

I gotta agree with you Al. I have loved XM for over 3 years now. I gave an honest try to like these new channels. But I feel like I'm listening to something a little closer to FM. The playlists just don't compare to what XM did.

I don't need a single artist station - and now i have like 5.

I'm really missing XMCafe, XCountry, Fine Tuning, Fungus, ...

The North Coast said...

XM and Sirius are both dogs and are on their way out. Satellite radio is a total bust- there are far too many better alternatives for far less cost. SIRI is now a micro-penny stock.

It amuses me that the FCC would not let these two little outfits merge, effectively killing any chances at continued life they may have had. The two of them together don't command more than a tiny percentage of the market for radio- it only shows that the FCC is a totally redundant and idiotic agency whose wonks are still living in 1924 and whose sole purpose is to cripple new technology and development, as witness the continued monopolization of most of the bandwidth by the major broadcasting networks, who got it as a gift back in the 20s and who only use a small fraction of it, while wireless companies are starving for bandwidth.