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Satcasters Plan to Offer Regional Traffic and Weather

Satcasters Plan to Offer Regional Traffic and Weather

Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio plan to begin transmitting local traffic and weather information – what better way to keep their listeners from tuning back to terrestrial radio? XM plans to introduce the service in 15 cities for no extra cost to subscribers in March. The satcaster is dedicating channels for extended traffic and weather reports 24/7.
For Washington area, for example, beltway traffic would be included, as would travels north and south on interstates such as I-95, XM executive Steve Cooke told Radio World. A listener could punch up the report when he or she gets in the car, and plan a trip, instead of waiting to hear traffic and weather at predetermined times on terrestrial radio.
XM announcers specifically hired for the new channels will read the copy with information provided by traffic data company Mobility Technologies and The Weather Channel. XM will sell spots for the dedicated channels.
The first 15 XM Instant Traffic & Weather channels will debut March 1 for the following metro areas: New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Dallas-Ft. Worth, Chicago, Houston, Detroit, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Orlando, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis. Dedicated channels for Boston, Atlanta, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Seattle, and San Diego will be introduced by the end of the year.
Sirius is approaching the traffic and weather reports differently – sending all the data for everywhere over its satellite signals. Certain “flags” in the data enable a subscriber’s receiver to determine what traffic and weather locations would be preferred, and that radio only allows that information to be broadcast to that particular subscriber.
In 2005, Sirius plans to offer simple traffic with information for a general area with a line of text that would scroll continuously across the faceplate of the radio and later introduced advanced traffic with the addition of real-time weather reports. This service would tie in with any navigation system, Larry Pesce, EVP Product Development, told Radio World.
Sirius also plans to add sports and financial data ticker data as a part of its service for no extra charge to subscribers.