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Sirius XM: No More ‘Wow’ Factor

Mel has pretty much broken all his promises to the FCC

I like how Mel Karmazin does his math since the hostile takeover of XM by Sirius last year. Royalty fees, which we all hate, are indeed charged to sat-rad companies. But they will increase one-half of 1 percent this year and each year for next three, yet Mel is raising rates 15.3 percent instead.

Paul, this is on top of the extra $2 per month he increased the “extra” radios on the plan, and in addition to the fee charged for once-free online listening.

As if it wasn’t enough to break his promises to the FCC about rate increases, he never did deliver the four free channels on each service that were promised within 90 days. He never did go through with “a la carte” programming package for existing customers (and claims that only one Sirius radio can do it, when he knows damn well that every XM radio has the capability to have channels blocked, hence a la carte can be done tomorrow).

Only one radio has both services available, and then only one at a time, not seamless. So Mel has pretty much broken all his promises to the FCC.

If this isn’t enough, let’s talk content.

The XM music channels used to be programmed by music lovers. But in recent years these were under the Gestapo control of Jon Zellner, who believes in only playing songs that “everybody knows” over and over again. Zellner has since left for Clear Channel.

The “decades” program directors and most on-air personalities were fired when the merger occurred. The “decades” channels — ’70s on 7, ’80s on 8 etc.) used to have huge playlists, more than 2,000 songs each, and you heard songs with the “wow” factor, as in “Wow, I haven’t heard that song in 10 years, that’s one of my favorites.” Now we get approximately the same 480 songs over and over again; and they repeat faster than on terrestrial radio because there are no stop-sets.

I used to love the music on XM; now I’m a disgruntled customer who feels that Sirius XM could care less what we, the paying music customers, want to hear. I was among the 400,000 subscribers who cancelled last quarter; a second XM radio goes dead this month. Now I will have useless XM hardware.

That leads me to my HD Radios, also becoming useless hardware, as nobody is doing anything decent with their HD-2 streams locally. Radio — AM, FM and XM — has frustrated me so much that I will return to the under-appreciated MiniDisc player for my music or succumb to the evil iPod empire that I have fought off for so long because of the love that I once had for radio broadcasting.

John Pavlica Jr.
Toledo, Ohio