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XM-Sirius Merger: Why?

Frank Ahrens

I have subscribed to XM Satellite Radio since December 2001, three months after the service launched. I have written that I am a fan of the service, but have always been skeptical about its survival as a business.

Comes now this proposed merger with rival Sirius Satellite Radio.

I understand the business reasons for why the two companies want to merge: Cost savings, efficiencies of scale, faster debt repayment, more muscle with music companies, sharing the cost of rolling out new technologies and so forth.

What I don't understand is the following: Why is a merger good for me or any other XM or Sirius subscriber?

Personally, I care about music and baseball. That's why I subscribe to XM: I get every Major League Baseball game broadcast and I get music channels that I can't get on AM or FM.

Here's what Sirius has that I don't want: NFL games, NBA games, English Premier League Soccer games, Martha Stewart, Playboy Radio (radio?), NPR (I get it for free over the air), Bubba the Love Sponge, former Sen. Bill Bradley (no, really) and Tony Hawk's Bucka-Bucka-Hucka-Jam-Bam Xtreme Show. I wouldn't mind hearing Howard Stern, but I'm not interested in paying more for him. This is why I have chosen XM over Sirius: It has what I want.

If this merger goes through -- and understand, it has some high, high hurdles to clear and precedent is strongly against it -- I worry that, as an XM subscriber, I'll lose channels I like and get channels I don't. After all, satellite spectrum is limited. It's not like a combined company could suddenly put up 300 channels.

There's one thing I'd like out of satellite radio: The ability to TiVo it, record it and share it with friends. For instance, a couple of months ago, XM had the band World Party in studio for an acoustic set and interviews. I thought my friend Will, who doesn't have XM, would have liked to have heard it. Ideally, I would have been able to record the session on a device and either lend it to Will or send him the digital file.

But I can't.

And the music industry is suing XM over a device it rolled out that would give users a limited TiVo-like ability.

So, until this proposed merger can promise something more (new gadgets, more functionality), rather than something less (discontinued channels), XM and Sirius subscribers will be rightly skeptical.

Your thoughts? Do you think the proposed merger is a good idea, or no? What would you like from either service that you're not getting?

By Frank Ahrens  |  February 20, 2007; 12:34 PM ET  | Category:  Frank Ahrens
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Comments

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The proposed merger is preferable to bankruptcy and dead air. If that's the alternative for XM then the merger's a good thing. Otherwise? I dunno.

Since I got XM I only listen to WTOP, and then only on the 8's. XM is great during a run to Ocean City. I'd still pay twice what I'm paying now if it means I still get the 80's channel, Big Tracks, Top Tracks, and the classical channels. If it added NPR I'd be ecstatic. That's because I travel to Utah a couple times a year and would like to pick up NPR all the time.

Posted by: wiredog | February 20, 2007 2:16 PM

I have mixed feelings about the merger. It's disappointing to see any two competitive entities merge into one, because it reduces content/service and increases price. On the other hand, this combined service could provide me with my content desires.

I've thought about getting XM because they carry ACC sports games, and I've thought about getting Sirius because they carry NFL games (thanks Dan Synder for making it impossible to listen to Redskin games in the DC area!). However, I didn't want to spend on two providers, so I decided against satellite. Provided this deal goes through, and they offer me the full gamit of sports content (MLB, NASCAR, NFL, college, NBA), then I would strongly consider getting it.

In other words, because both companies provided some of the content I wanted, I didn't jump in. If they provide all of the content I want, I will be more likely to buy.

Posted by: David | February 20, 2007 2:18 PM

I had XM for awhile when doing a lot of commuting. I dropped it when I wasn't. (And I got tired of too many interruptions.)

I'd like to try XM again but ... I like things on both. Soccer and baseball, NPR and jazz and Willie Nelson. Yes, I can get NPR from two or three local stations, but ... it would be nice to have it at odd times when only classical is available on the locals or when on a long road trip and I don't know where the next NPR station is to be found.

Plus, I haven't reupped because I assume that one of them will die, and I don't want to be stuck with the loser.

The downside of a merger: thinking that even a penny of my money goes to Howard Stern.

Posted by: Jon | February 20, 2007 2:18 PM

Don't really care about a merger as long as Howard Ego doesn't get in the way of Opie and Anthony providing the best talk entertainment on Satellite radio. Howard is afraid of O&A competeing against him. Mel and Howard have both gagged O&A in the past from talking about Howard. Will they get over the BS and let Radio be Radio? Or does Howie have to be number 1 by stopping all other? Time will tell

Posted by: Sad Fan | February 20, 2007 2:29 PM

I love my XM radio with the possible exception of all the baseball channels (sorry Dave). Sirius has SEC sports, NFL and NPR. Add those to XM and it becomes close to perfect for me since XM already has NHL. I assume that Sirius has their own versions of every music station that XM has so 300 channels won't be necessary to cover the essentials of music, talk and sports.

Posted by: Lisa | February 20, 2007 2:29 PM

I love my XM radio with the possible exception of all the baseball channels (sorry Dave). Sirius has SEC sports, NFL and NPR. Add those to XM and it becomes close to perfect for me since XM already has NHL. I assume that Sirius has their own versions of every music station that XM has so 300 channels won't be necessary to cover the essentials of music, talk and sports.

Posted by: Lisa | February 20, 2007 2:33 PM

For me the merger of the two companies does not make a whole lot of sense for me. I am an XM sub. and I LOVE it. I chose XM because it had everything I wanted and then some. I do not care about the NFL because listening to NFL games on the radio is about one of the hardest things to do. It is impossible to describe a visual good enough for football over the radio. I also chose XM because they have more subs. a stronger stock and they did not pay Howard Stern $500 million dollars to work 6 months a year. XM is also on the cutting edge of technology. I have both of their protable units that I can record what I hear right on to it. I can also take MP3's with my new one. Sirius has a portable unit twice the size and can only recieve pre-recorded stations. If you wanna record your NFL game you have to dock it and let it record it can not recieve live broadcasts. Sirius is behind the times and Mel just want't to be in the spot light again since he has not made a splash in years. XM should not do this and just keep on trucking. Yes, both companies are in debt and it may never be the mainstream of radio but if it is what you like then you will get it. The strongest survive and if you can not cut it then you'll be eaten. It happens to the best and could happen to either company. Maybe Direct TV and Dish Network should merge I mean it would be the same pointless merger.

Posted by: Casey | February 20, 2007 2:37 PM

For me the merger of the two companies does not make a whole lot of sense for me. I am an XM sub. and I LOVE it. I chose XM because it had everything I wanted and then some. I do not care about the NFL because listening to NFL games on the radio is about one of the hardest things to do. It is impossible to describe a visual good enough for football over the radio. I also chose XM because they have more subs. a stronger stock and they did not pay Howard Stern $500 million dollars to work 6 months a year. XM is also on the cutting edge of technology. I have both of their protable units that I can record what I hear right on to it. I can also take MP3's with my new one. Sirius has a portable unit twice the size and can only recieve pre-recorded stations. If you wanna record your NFL game you have to dock it and let it record it can not recieve live broadcasts. Sirius is behind the times and Mel just want't to be in the spot light again since he has not made a splash in years. XM should not do this and just keep on trucking. Yes, both companies are in debt and it may never be the mainstream of radio but if it is what you like then you will get it. The strongest survive and if you can not cut it then you'll be eaten. It happens to the best and could happen to either company. Maybe Direct TV and Dish Network should merge I mean it would be the same pointless merger.

Posted by: Casey | February 20, 2007 2:39 PM

I got XM because I wanted commercial free music. I don't want Stern, Amos & Andy, Baseball, or any sports. I have no interest in any of the expensive "talent" or sports they offer. The only way they would ever get me to support the merger (which I know would lead to a higher monthly fee) would be if they started offering tiers of service. Let the people that want sports and the expensive talent pay for it, let the rest of us get just want we want.

Posted by: mike d | February 20, 2007 2:39 PM

For me the merger of the two companies does not make a whole lot of sense for me. I am an XM sub. and I LOVE it. I chose XM because it had everything I wanted and then some. I do not care about the NFL because listening to NFL games on the radio is about one of the hardest things to do. It is impossible to describe a visual good enough for football over the radio. I also chose XM because they have more subs. a stronger stock and they did not pay Howard Stern $500 million dollars to work 6 months a year. XM is also on the cutting edge of technology. I have both of their protable units that I can record what I hear right on to it. I can also take MP3's with my new one. Sirius has a portable unit twice the size and can only recieve pre-recorded stations. If you wanna record your NFL game you have to dock it and let it record it can not recieve live broadcasts. Sirius is behind the times and Mel just want't to be in the spot light again since he has not made a splash in years. XM should not do this and just keep on trucking. Yes, both companies are in debt and it may never be the mainstream of radio but if it is what you like then you will get it. The strongest survive and if you can not cut it then you'll be eaten. It happens to the best and could happen to either company. Maybe Direct TV and Dish Network should merge I mean it would be the same pointless merger.

Posted by: Casey | February 20, 2007 2:39 PM

I got XM because I wanted commercial free music. I don't want Stern, Amos & Andy, Baseball, or any sports. I have no interest in any of the expensive "talent" or sports they offer. The only way they would ever get me to support the merger (which I know would lead to a higher monthly fee) would be if they started offering tiers of service. Let the people that want sports and the expensive talent pay for it, let the rest of us get just want we want.

Posted by: mike d | February 20, 2007 2:41 PM

I got XM because I wanted commercial free music. I don't want Stern, Amos & Andy, Baseball, or any sports. I have no interest in any of the expensive "talent" or sports they offer. The only way they would ever get me to support the merger (which I know would lead to a higher monthly fee) would be if they started offering tiers of service. Let the people that want sports and the expensive talent pay for it, let the rest of us get just want we want.

Posted by: mike d | February 20, 2007 2:42 PM

I got XM because I wanted commercial free music. I don't want Stern, Amos & Andy, Baseball, or any sports. I have no interest in any of the expensive "talent" or sports they offer. The only way they would ever get me to support the merger (which I know would lead to a higher monthly fee) would be if they started offering tiers of service. Let the people that want sports and the expensive talent pay for it, let the rest of us get just want we want.

Posted by: mike d | February 20, 2007 2:44 PM

I have been a Sirius subscriber since 2002. The main reason I got it was because I was in school and traveling back and forth I would lose channels on "regular radio." I have loved the service since I have had it.

When Howard Stern came over, it was even better. He was taken off the local station before I left for school and it was good to have him back. For those of you who have XM and worried that you don't want him on your service you don't have to listen. Stay away from the channel. I am sure that there are channels that you already have that you don't listen to. This would just be another.

My main concern is the cost. Will the cost go up to cover these debts by both providers? Will I have to get a new radio? Since the merger happen will the goverment or FCC try to find their way in to "get their cut" or try to control programming.

Those are my concerns.

Posted by: Mark | February 20, 2007 2:46 PM

I have been a Sirius subscriber since 2002. The main reason I got it was because I was in school and traveling back and forth I would lose channels on "regular radio." I have loved the service since I have had it.

When Howard Stern came over, it was even better. He was taken off the local station before I left for school and it was good to have him back. For those of you who have XM and worried that you don't want him on your service you don't have to listen. Stay away from the channel. I am sure that there are channels that you already have that you don't listen to. This would just be another. I can tell you that I am NOT A BASEBALL FAN and will stay away from that channel. Listening to baseball on radio is like watching a car rust. Give me the NFL and NASCAR any day.

My main concern is the cost. Will the cost go up to cover these debts by both providers? Will I have to get a new radio? Since the merger happen will the goverment or FCC try to find their way in to "get their cut" or try to control programming.

Those are my concerns.

Posted by: Mark | February 20, 2007 2:49 PM

I am skeptical about the merger. I chose Sirius because of the content that it provided over XM. I subscribed before Howard Stern, but I was happy when he was added. I am hoping the merger does not change my subscription in any way that would involve losing channels that I love. I don't want to see "tier" programming. That is why I chose sirius in the first place. Everything was included in the monthly fee. If I have to start paying more for "sportrs packages" and the like, they can take both services and keep them. Asa consumers, we are charged enough already.

Posted by: Marty | February 20, 2007 2:50 PM

I am completely against the merger. I don't think that consumer price and choice should, once again, succumb to big business. This merger only benefits shareholders and top execs, not those of us who subscribe. The FCC chairman has already come out with words indicating XM and Sirius will have some "high hurdles" to overcome. Also, I cannot see this passing Congress if it ever came to that. Competition is good. It promotes lower consumer prices, greater choices and stimulates innovation. I've decided that I refuse to sit by and watch Wall Street tell Main Street what to do. That's why I've joined C3SR (www.c3sr.org) - a Washington, DC-based student group - to fight against the merger. Consumers should come first!

Posted by: SatRad Chick | February 20, 2007 2:53 PM

I'm a Sirius subscriber, and I get virtually all the XM music content on DirecTV so I have a good sense of how they compare musically. There music is more or less equivalent and subscribers won't lose or gain much if it comes to combining the musical content.

I chose Sirius for Stern, who's still the best talk radio personality around. Combining the sports content is a no-brainer; it only hurts the commissioners' offices ability to engage in a bidding war for their content with the 2 systems. Some on air talent is sure to be let go and my guess is that those with the weakest contracts will be first to go.

Posted by: Spleen | February 20, 2007 3:05 PM

Short and to the point. I used to work part time for a car rental agency shuttling between offices. Most of the cars that were GM brand had XM radio. It spounded good to me. What i did find was that the music programing to reptitive. I found out that XM did not have live music programs and that most if not all was computerized. A good reason behind that is Clear Channel who is a big partner in XM. Sirius on the otherhand has live programers in the studios and no commercials. I have 3 Sirius radios and love the programing. Ok they don't have MLB but no one is perfect. Just remember Sirius is going to have a 53% share as opposed to a 47% share with XM. XM knew that Sirius would surpas them in subscribers and wanted out of the water before it got to deep

Long Live Sirius and Howard Stern

Posted by: EcRocker | February 20, 2007 3:13 PM

I've been a XM subscriber since Jan '02 and I love it. Though I would prefer XM and Sirius not merge, I prefer the merger to losing satellite service entirely.

The XM line-up has changed fairly radically since day 1 (I miss the Live concert channel), so I could handle line-up shuffles. Again, ANY satellite is better than NO satellite.

Posted by: aflapr | February 20, 2007 3:16 PM

I am not, and never will be a subscriber to either service. I don't need to pay for radio, no matter how 'cool' the content is. I'm not in my car long enough (even when I was driving 90 minutes each way to work) to make it tempting.

If I want random tunes that I like, I hook up my mp3 player.

Posted by: Kim | February 20, 2007 3:24 PM

When I purchased my XM unit at the CES show
3 years ago it carried NASCAR. My wife is into NASCAR. I enjoy the comedy stations
and MLB.Since NASCAR is now on Sirius, we will probably have to get a Sirius unit,but
if they do merge maybe not.?????

Posted by: SKI | February 20, 2007 3:43 PM

I think that consumers, like yourself and many of the subscribers that have posted comments here, have a right to be skeptical about a merger. In the end, a monopoly provider will have no incentive to be responsive to customer needs, and much of the programming that lured people into investing in the equipment and subscribing to the service may be lost. Moreover, a lack of competition will inevitably lead to higher prices.

Through our website and blog at www.c3sr.org, we have received numerous comments from subscribers. We invite you to visit our page and read our op-ed, press releases, and blog comments to get a better idea on the impact this merger will have on subscribers.

I think many of the personal accounts on this thread get to the kernel of the problem with this merger: higher prices and uncertainty in programming. We would love for you to continue to share your concerns with us and hope to hear from many of you as we work to ensure consumers are represented in this merger approval process.

Posted by: Chris Reale | February 20, 2007 3:51 PM

I have been a subscriber to XM for a few years now and I absolutely love it. As far as programming goes I could care less about any of XM's or Sirius sports channels. Just not for me. Their other music channels are pretty much identical. XM's channel's aren't too repetitive to me, but I don't stick to it's main stream top 20's or whatever. I'm for the merger as long as it brings some good mixes in music and some talk, and new technology that the FCC approves that'll give the consumers recording options etc. Whatever happends I'm keeping my satellite.

Posted by: Artful Dodger | February 20, 2007 3:55 PM

I have XM so I can listen to Jazz anywhere. We don't have a Jazz station close to me. I picked XM because it does NOT have Howard Stern.

Posted by: Steele Ford | February 20, 2007 3:59 PM

I have XM so I can listen to Jazz anywhere. We don't have a Jazz station close to me. I picked XM because it does NOT have Howard Stern.

Posted by: Steele Ford | February 20, 2007 4:01 PM

Dude, your outlook is so poor.

The merger will also double the receptive capacity ofthe system et all...namely the 2.5GHz spectrum allocation from which both services come...That's right...five total satellites, in geosynchronous orbit-delivering signal!

It's called affinity!

Posted by: Doug E. Fresh | February 20, 2007 4:07 PM

Dude, your outlook is so poor.

The merger will also double the receptive capacity ofthe system et all...namely the 2.5GHz spectrum allocation from which both services come...That's right...five total satellites, in geosynchronous orbit-delivering signal!

It's called affinity!

Posted by: Doug E. Fresh | February 20, 2007 4:07 PM

I am in exactly the opposite camp, but have some of the same feelings on the matter. As a shareholder of Sirius I object to handing half of a growing company over to the investment bankers and GM who were keeping my competitor afloat. As a daily user of Sirius I wouldn't trade the BBC World Service, Margaritaville, The Who channel or NHL coverage for anything that XM offers and I don't want to be hamstrung by their technical shortcomings in higher latitudes.
My fear is that a combined company is going to go the way of cable TV and force me into bad choices at higher prices. I have never known a monopoly to hold the line on prices regardless of the industry

Posted by: Tim | February 20, 2007 4:19 PM

It's pretty clear the merger will increase prices for consumers. And without competition, it's also very likely programming will go the way of broadcast radio -- moslty jukebox music and poliltical talkshows (at least 55% of the American public couldn't care less about politics, as proved by typical voter turn-outs).

They've already stated their intention to provide more "premium" channels, so expect the same kind of tiered pricing we see in cable TV. A basic, jukebox music service of perhaps 15 channels for $9.99 a month and mid-range package of what they offer today for $13 repriced at $45 a month, then myriad premium channels at $15 to $20 each (NFL, MLB, etc.) all with an aim to get the average annual invoice up to about $150 per month.

The FCC failed consumers at the onset to demand that both services establish a common platform so that radio receivers could play either or both services. We would expect that perhaps 20% of subscribers would have opted for both. Now which platform will they conform to? They're not compatible. So half of the subscriber base will have to get new radios. The Sirius radio I just put in my car cost a cool $850 installed. I almost bought an expensive Tivoli table radio, but now I will have to wait until 2008 before I invest in any more equipment. You can expect neither service to sign up any new subscribers for the next 9 months.

The FCC should allow them to merge, with these stipulations:
1. They stop making radios for two platforms and come out with hardware that will receive both formats.
2. They combine their programming on one format within 2 years and return one satellite license to the FCC without compensation.
3. They pay consumers who have to convert their radios to dual format. This they'll have to work out with manufacturers and it will be very expensive.
4. At such time the new Sirius-XM entity becomes solvent, the FCC should auction the second license again to reintroduce compeition. Sirius-XM and its affiliates would be barred from any control or ownership of the second license and future mergers would be strictly prohibited. I would also like to see the FCC pre-empt AM/FM broadcast groups with more than 5 terrestrial radio licenses from bidding on this second satellite license
5. As others have pointed out, there is a finite number of channels so I would further ask the FCC to stipulate that all satellite programming must be in English. There is precident for this in that the FCC has always required Amateur Radio Communications to be in English as a matter of national security. It's bad public policy to permit public-owned radio frequencies to be used for "community" discussion in a foreign language.

Posted by: Alan Kent | February 20, 2007 4:21 PM

I subscribed to both XM and Sirius for a year, because there were programs on each that I wanted to hear. What was obvious after a few weeks was the overlap between shows, both music and talk. Each company offered a similar range of music channels and a similar range of news/talk channels. Although I liked some of what Sirius offered, I let the Sirius subscription lapse and kept XM.

Back to the point of the column: If you presume that a combined Sirius XM would eliminate the overlapping channels, you could assume that the remaining bandwidth could be used to provide something NEW to hear. No one makes you listen to ALL the channels. If you don't want to hear Stern or Martha or NFL, don't listen.

It's sort of like saying that it would be a bad thing were the Washington Post to add a new section of news you weren't interested in reading. If you actually were open to it, you might find something interesting there. And if it increased total subscribers, it might mean that someone who didn't read YOUR column before, would see it and start reading it. Though I doubt that if they'd read this one, they would have wanted to read another.

Posted by: Bill | February 20, 2007 4:25 PM

I subscribed to both XM and Sirius for a year, because there were programs on each that I wanted to hear. What was obvious after a few weeks was the overlap between shows, both music and talk. Each company offered a similar range of music channels and a similar range of news/talk channels. Although I liked some of what Sirius offered, I let the Sirius subscription lapse and kept XM.

Back to the point of the column: If you presume that a combined Sirius XM would eliminate the overlapping channels, you could assume that the remaining bandwidth could be used to provide something NEW to hear. No one makes you listen to ALL the channels. If you don't want to hear Stern or Martha or NFL, don't listen.

It's sort of like saying that it would be a bad thing were the Washington Post to add a new section of news you weren't interested in reading. If you actually were open to it, you might find something interesting there. And if it increased total subscribers, it might mean that someone who didn't read YOUR column before, would see it and start reading it. Though I doubt that if they'd read this one, they would have wanted to read another.

Posted by: Bill | February 20, 2007 4:26 PM

Merge, merge, merge. We'll still have the same music stations (those are a gimme) and best of talk, sports, and entertainment. Pay for chosen content sounds good to me. I have Sirius and have 30 presets; these range all over the specturm and I would be happy to pay for the stations that I want. Most of all, if a merger is what would create a sucessful business model for satelite radio the let it happen; I do not believe that any listener wants satelite radio to fail the eclectic selections are almost priceless.

Posted by: Richard | February 20, 2007 4:26 PM

Sheesh, the XM people who can't stand Howard Stern act as if the merger will FORCE them to listen to his channel! Come on, people. Your receiver will NOT be rigged for All Stern, All Day!!!!

Posted by: jlessl | February 20, 2007 4:26 PM

XM subscriber since Jan. 2002. I am also concerned that I will lose the channels I like and get channels I don't care about, but from what I understand, XM and Sirius offer pretty much the same basic service. The real differences have been in the celebrities and sports offering.

Heads up to wiredog: XMPR is NPR on Channel 133.

Posted by: Karen | February 20, 2007 4:34 PM

I subscribed to both XM and Sirius for a year, because there were programs on each that I wanted to hear. What was obvious after a few weeks was the overlap between shows, both music and talk. Each company offered a similar range of music channels and a similar range of news/talk channels. Although I liked some of what Sirius offered, I let the Sirius subscription lapse and kept XM.

Back to the point of the column: If you presume that a combined Sirius XM would eliminate the overlapping channels, you could assume that the remaining bandwidth could be used to provide something NEW to hear. No one makes you listen to ALL the channels. If you don't want to hear Stern or Martha or NFL, don't listen.

It's sort of like saying that it would be a bad thing were the Washington Post to add a new section of news you weren't interested in reading. If you actually were open to it, you might find something interesting there. And if it increased total subscribers, it might mean that someone who didn't read YOUR column before, would see it and start reading it. Though I doubt that if they'd read this one, they would have wanted to read another.

Posted by: Bill | February 20, 2007 4:39 PM

Chris R. said it most succinctly for me, "In the end, a monopoly provider will have no incentive to be responsive to customer needs,...Moreover, a lack of competition will inevitably lead to higher prices."

With a merger that's where we'll be headed, folks.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | February 20, 2007 4:43 PM

I initially bought XM Radio because it had that great traffic reporting. I kept it after moving to Western Wisconsin because I can check out the Twin Cities when I do my monthly day trip (and Sirius doesn't have traffic reports for them :( ), and more importantly, my choice of stations out here are limited to a choice between Country AND Western...

I'd be satisfied if XM and Sirius never merged. I don't like Howard Stern, I don't know why Martha Stewart has a radio show (since you need to see her do her thing), and I could care less about the sports channels.

I'm disappointed that if it goes through, Sirius seems to be in charge (which I don't understand - I thought XM was more profitable recently, but then again, they both seem to be up and down). I don't like Sirius' vibe - it feels like they're the Walmart to XM's Target. And while I occasionally shop at WalMart, I live in Target ;)

Posted by: Chasmosaur | February 20, 2007 5:36 PM

I have a problem with the merger because of the programming. Despite what many people have posted, although the news and talk channels overlap, the music channels really are different. XM tends to have a broader offering, while Sirius has a more classic rock hue (Rolling Stones anyone?). If you're into classic rock, Sirius is golden. Otherwise, XM has a better sampling. The combined company will not have twice the bandwith or channels, and both XM and Sirius music fans will be stuck with a lineup with which neither is happy. HD Radio just got a little more attractive.

Posted by: XMGuy | February 20, 2007 6:02 PM

I have a problem with the merger because of the programming. Despite what many people have posted, although the news and talk channels overlap, the music channels really are different. XM tends to have a broader offering, while Sirius has a more classic rock hue (Rolling Stones anyone?). If you're into classic rock, Sirius is golden. Otherwise, XM has a better sampling. The combined company will not have twice the bandwith or channels, and both XM and Sirius music fans will be stuck with a lineup with which neither is happy. HD Radio just got a little more attractive.

Posted by: XMGuy | February 20, 2007 6:03 PM

I wanted satellite radio for a long time but was unable to choose between XM and Sirius. Both had features I wanted (yes, I wanted NFL AND baseball). I ended up with Sirius because my dear wife and brother-in-law gave me it as a gift. I would look forward to a satellite provider that would give me baseball, NFL, Dylan's radio show, Bob Edwards and a broad selection of music channels. But naturally I'm concerned about what all this will cost if the merger is approved.

Posted by: Higgy | February 20, 2007 6:06 PM

I am the only one who has sirius i guess I LOVE IT I love the sirius left channel i love shade 45 and the hip hop. I have listened to XM and i don't really like the music they play. If they stop playing non-stop music i will leave that's why i got it was for the non-stop music. I think howard is a tool but better then most JACK DIAMOND DJ's.

Posted by: Scott | February 20, 2007 6:08 PM

I wanted satellite radio for a long time but was unable to choose between XM and Sirius. Both had features I wanted (yes, I wanted NFL AND baseball). I ended up with Sirius because my dear wife and brother-in-law gave me it as a gift. I would look forward to a satellite provider that would give me baseball, NFL, Dylan's radio show, Bob Edwards and a broad selection of music channels. But naturally I'm concerned about what all this will cost if the merger is approved.

Posted by: Higgy | February 20, 2007 6:09 PM

Two reasons that I have been holding off subscribing to XM, are the viability of the company, and the music industry suit. I didn't want to pay $300+ for a Pioneer Inno, and have the music industry cripple it, or have it be worthless because of a future XM bankruptcy.

IF it is done right, it could be a Good Thing. :-)

Posted by: Tom | February 20, 2007 6:11 PM

Two reasons that I have been holding off subscribing to XM, are the viability of the company, and the music industry suit. I didn't want to pay $300+ for a Pioneer Inno, and have the music industry cripple it, or have it be worthless because of a future XM bankruptcy.

IF it is done right, the merger could be a Good Thing. :-)

Posted by: Tom | February 20, 2007 6:12 PM

All the "I love this channel" aside. It will cost us, the consumer, more. I am thinking about buying a new car that comes with XM installed. After the merger, how long will my built in XM radio work? The other car I am thinking about comes with Sirius.The two formats are not compatible-beta and vhs; hddvd and bluray or xm and sirius-someone will get left with dead air

Posted by: awm | February 20, 2007 6:13 PM

I personally subscribe to Sirius instead of XM specifically because I do not want to give Clear Channel any money, for any reason. As they continue to consolidate radio stations across markets, Clear Channel has littered the public airwaves with excesssive commercials, non-localized programming, and some of the worst, most watered-down, artless music available on the planet. They do this for profit, not once but twice. They drive innocent commuters and dedicated music listeners from their own awful but commercially-successful radio stations straight to also-Clear-Channel-owned XM. And XM has commercials too! (Sing it with me O'Jays: Money, money, money, mo-ney,... MONEY!) After Howard Stern went to Sirius--a terrible business decision on their part, but a surprisingly successful gamble--XM started recruiting anyone and everyone to please, please, please do one show a week, one or two hours of content: please Mr. Dylan, Mr. Bowie, please class this joint up. Apparently, to my great dismay, the way they will ultimately achieve that goal is by doing the same exact thing that resulted in the birth of satellite radio to begin with: consolidate. What a bunch of bullspit.

Posted by: I miss radio... | February 20, 2007 6:13 PM

I personally subscribe to Sirius instead of XM specifically because I do not want to give Clear Channel any money, for any reason. As they continue to consolidate radio stations across markets, Clear Channel has littered the public airwaves with excesssive commercials, non-localized programming, and some of the worst, most watered-down, artless music available on the planet. They do this for profit, not once but twice. They drive innocent commuters and dedicated music listeners from their own awful but commercially-successful radio stations straight to also-Clear-Channel-owned XM. And XM has commercials too! (Sing it with me O'Jays: Money, money, money, mo-ney,... MONEY!) After Howard Stern went to Sirius--a terrible business decision on their part, but a surprisingly successful gamble--XM started recruiting anyone and everyone to please, please, please do one show a week, one or two hours of content: please Mr. Dylan, Mr. Bowie, please class this joint up. Apparently, to my great dismay, the way they will ultimately achieve that goal is by doing the same exact thing that resulted in the birth of satellite radio to begin with: consolidate. What a bunch of bullspit.

Posted by: I miss radio... | February 20, 2007 6:14 PM

I personally subscribe to Sirius instead of XM specifically because I do not want to give Clear Channel any money, for any reason. As they continue to consolidate radio stations across markets, Clear Channel has littered the public airwaves with excesssive commercials, non-localized programming, and some of the worst, most watered-down, artless music available on the planet. They do this for profit, not once but twice. They drive innocent commuters and dedicated music listeners from their own awful but commercially-successful radio stations straight to also-Clear-Channel-owned XM. And XM has commercials too! (Sing it with me O'Jays: Money, money, money, mo-ney,... MONEY!) After Howard Stern went to Sirius--a terrible business decision on their part, but a surprisingly successful gamble--XM started recruiting anyone and everyone to please, please, please do one show a week, one or two hours of content: please Mr. Dylan, Mr. Bowie, please class this joint up. Apparently, to my great dismay, the way they will ultimately achieve that goal is by doing the same exact thing that resulted in the birth of satellite radio to begin with: consolidate. What a bunch of bullspit.

Posted by: I miss radio... | February 20, 2007 6:16 PM

I subscribed to Sirius two years ago because it offered NFL and Big 12 football/basketball. I like it so much that I maxed out on the number of additional radios one can have! I am assuming the merger would then allow me to also recieve MLB and PGA (Yes, golf on the radio). Even though the music selections are about the same, Sirius seems to be a little more entertaining with their live DJ's.
The only thing I worry about is whether the cost would increase. Maybe they could offer some channels ala carte.

Posted by: Keith | February 20, 2007 6:22 PM

Some of these comments exhibit a fundamental lack of understanding of what "competition" is and how/why it is good for consumers. Just because post-merger there will only be one provider of satellite radio service does not automatically mean that it will be immune from competitive forces and unresponsive to its subscribers.

There are a lot of substitutes out there if the price of satellite radio gets too high or service becomes too lousy. It appears the market segment that is growing fastest is sales in new cars, and it is not difficult to imagine all the different entertainment possibilities available to a driver: traditional radio, the new HD radio, music CDs, mp3s, books on CD, etc. The new company's ability to raise prices could quite easily be constrained by these substitutes.

That doesn't even take into account new technology. If wireless internet access becomes as ubiquitous as everyone is predicting, satellite radio could become obsolete. As it becomes more irrelevant as an entertainment option, it is going to have no ability whatsoever to raise price.

I'm not saying it's a given that prices will not go out, just that it is not necessarily "inevitable" that a merger will raise prices. There are potentially a number of constraints on the ability to raise price. It's just too early to know how this is going to shake out.

Further, it appears this is one of the few cases where if the two firms do not merge the entire service will disappear. Truly ruinous competition is fairly rare, but this is probably one of the few situations where it may actually exist. If that's the case, consumers may have to choose between higher prices or no service at all.

Anyway, just a couple contrary thoughts.

Posted by: mwl | February 20, 2007 6:24 PM

I am a sirius subscriber. In fact I bought into the life time subscriber offer along with purchasing the stock. I have concerns about what happens to my subscribtion in the merger (if it happens). Listening has become a part of my life. I was going to purchase another radio(stiletto) so I could record enough to listen to while on the plane. Now I wonder what will happen to the sales of the radios. Who is going to buy anything not knowing how this will shake out.

Posted by: John T. | February 20, 2007 6:37 PM

I love to read articles by journalists who have nothing better to write about. Mr.Ahrens starts off by telling us that he understands why the companies are merging from a business aspect.Well, hello Mr. Ahrens, this is a Business deal, and I do believe that Mr. Karmazin knows a little more about business deals than you. His past record speaks for itself. What bothers me is that people like you write articles in a negative tone based on your feelings, not facts. Who really cares what you think about this great prospective merger deal that would obviously benefit both the listeners and shareholders in the future? These new companies are the beginning of the future of radio, a business that has not changed in many decades. As for your facts on Sirius...you're wrong! You do not have to pay extra for Howard Stern and the S-50 records up to 50 hours of content, and is portable. You can also fast-forward and rewind. Be a positve voice, Mr.Ahrens. After all your opinion does not matter, but your words do.

Posted by: steve | February 20, 2007 6:37 PM

My brother and I each purchased Sirius as Christmas gifts for one and other a couple years ago. It is by far the best purchase we have ever made. I commute 2+ hours a day during the week, and drive nearly 25 hours each weekend. I don't know how I lived without it. I could care less about this merger. They've been talking about this for a long time. Believe me, it will never happen.

Posted by: Dan Popp | February 20, 2007 7:03 PM

I hope Sirius picks up some of the XM stations, like baseball, and the other sports its doesn't have. Other wise it can throw all of the other XM stations away, there all really terrible, Sirius has it covered

Posted by: larry | February 20, 2007 7:06 PM

I would love to have the two merge...if we get the best of both sets of channels. I had Sirius for about a year, as it came with my new car. But I am a big golf fan so I am now getting a XM receiver. But I also love football so it would be nice to have NFL too.

So Merge and give us all that good commercial free music...and all sports.

Posted by: Defbackdad | February 20, 2007 7:07 PM

If the two companies do merge there's no reason they couldn't offer 300 channels. Despite the limited bandwidth, it take no more for each company to offer 150 channels than a combine company to offer 300.

But the real loss is the difficulty faced by today's AM and FM broadcasters; a combined XM and Sirius would be a monopoly that could seriously erode the availablility of free radio. And that would just encourage Congress to reapporpriate the over-the-air channels the way they have done already with analog television.

I hope the FCC and FTC think twice before approvbing this.

Posted by: peterg | February 20, 2007 7:49 PM

I have been a Sirius Subscriber since the day I left working in traditional radio nearly two years ago. It had become so mundane and repetitive it was almost unbearable to listen. Now, the choice between XM or Sirius was a tough one but what put me over the edge was being able to listen to Stern and the NFL programming available as a Sirius subscriber. I think the music is better on XM(not by much) but I have to go with Stern and NFL

I'd loved what I'd paid for. Until recently when I moved to Southern California and I had one of the external units. Every channel I listened to came with a healthy dose of static. I couln't do it any longer so I bought a new car with an internal unit so there is no longer static. With the latest news of the merger I cancelled my Sirius subscription and am keeping my fingers crossed that I get my Stern and NFL back.

Posted by: Brad | February 20, 2007 8:08 PM

I for one am happy that both companies are merging. I'm a Sirius Subscriber, and the one thing I always wanted from XM was MLB. I want the best of both worlds. Out of the 150 + Channels on Sirius, I only listen to a few. So for you Howard Stern haters out there, if you don't like him, don't listen! I won't listen to Oprah or Opey and Anthony.

Posted by: SG | February 20, 2007 8:11 PM

Everyone has made good points here. All I have to say is, Three fingered, cul-de-sac, McGillity Jones.

Posted by: Rory | February 20, 2007 8:19 PM

The FCC and the music industry can't afford to let the XM and Sirius satellites be the next flaming objects falling out of orbit. Merger is a matter of survival for this companies and any future satellite ventures. The FCC should also make inclusion of satellite radio in car receivers mandatory, the same way it did for FM in the 70's.

As history has shown, most people won't reach for a new media source unless you put it right into their hands. I didn't dream of listening to satellite radio until XM was available in my new car - now I'm hooked.

Posted by: Dave Mc | February 20, 2007 8:30 PM

The FCC and the music industry can't afford to let the XM and Sirius satellites be the next flaming objects falling out of orbit. Merger is a matter of survival for this companies and any future satellite ventures. The FCC should also make inclusion of satellite radio in car receivers mandatory, the same way it did for FM in the 70's.

As history has shown, most people won't reach for a new media source unless you put it right into their hands. I didn't dream of listening to satellite radio until XM was available in my new car - now I'm hooked.

Posted by: Dave Mc | February 20, 2007 8:33 PM

The FCC and the music industry can't afford to let the XM and Sirius satellites be the next flaming objects falling out of orbit. Merger is a matter of survival for these companies and any future satellite ventures. The FCC should also make inclusion of satellite radio in car receivers mandatory, the same way it did for FM in the 70's.

As history has shown, most people won't reach for a new media source unless you put it right into their hands. I didn't dream of listening to satellite radio until XM was available in my new car - now I'm hooked.

Posted by: Radio Dave | February 20, 2007 8:35 PM

This is an excellent article that takes, for a change, the consumer perspective. As an XM subscriber, I totally agree: what's in it for me. There are two comments to make that relate to this commentary:

1) XM and Sirius will not go out of business if they do not merge; as more an more cars roll out with satellite radios included, their subscibers will grow. This merger must be performed now--before they begin begin to make money and anti-trust issues become insermountable.

2) The more important issues is, "why can't I TiVo on satellite radio." The answer: the greedy record companies who, through deals with Congress, have prevented the recording of anything thinking that they won't get paid. It doesn't matter if it's a baseball game for playback later or a live concert (things that aren't under their perview), the big record companies are concerned that you won't pay to hear a record for the 1000th time on some music channel (regardless of the fact that the satellite radio comapanies have to pay royalties every month to the record companies just to play their stuff).

We all need to look at this merger from the consumer standpoint--and it's good to know that someone finally has.

Posted by: s holmes | February 20, 2007 9:16 PM

It's funny how the tides change. XM got it's satellites into space a full year ahead of Sirius and has always been a generation ahead on their player technology as a result. Their radios were always a little bit smaller and more versatile and they were careful to not pay too much for content since the goal was SOLVENCY.

Sirius was well behind in subscribers until it decided to mortgage the company to the hilt to pay hundreds of millions to Stern and other content providers when their business prospects were still shaky.

Unfortunately, XM felt the need to "keep up with the Joneses" and severely handicapped it's financial future... so much so that the CFO resigned after basically calling the new tactics suicidal.

Surprise Surprise, now Sirius is marginally worth more following it's gambit because it's subscriber growth is actually faster now. Then they decide to purchase XM since neither company can make it on it's own with the current economics of the business.

Shrewd move to pull the entire industry (of 2 companies) into a near bankruptcy in order to get the upper hand lol.

Consumers, get ready for price hikes... they raised prices as competitors, of course they're going to do it again as one company.... especially when they argue, again, that the solvency of their business depends on it.

Shareholders, good luck. The smart money left the building a long time ago when the potential greatly exceeded today's reality.

Posted by: A. John | February 20, 2007 9:42 PM

This merger makes all the sense in the world since each company is spending all of their money trying to out do the other. If they were not bidding against each other for the rights to NASCAR, MLB, NFL, and the NHL the costs would be much lower. Neither company is going to make it on its own. Take the best of both and we all win.

Posted by: B Nelson | February 20, 2007 9:47 PM

For recording, or "tivo-ing" as you call it, the Tao XM2GO, and probably other portable players, record on-demand as well as having schedulers to record XM channels.

Posted by: Richard | February 20, 2007 10:09 PM

The FCC has no authority to tell carmakers what they have to include in their cars.

Besides, it's a dumb idea.

Anyway, this merger is bad because XM/Sirius will probably tier their service with the net result being higher prices for everyone.

I would guess (just a guess) that both companies are assuming they can raise prices to about $20/month per subscriber and have less channels.

I'm guessing we'll all be paying $20-25/month and getting 25 channels, and paying extra for things like football and baseball.

THe merger sucks.

Posted by: Tom | February 20, 2007 10:11 PM

For recording, or "tivo-ing" as you call it, the Tao XM2GO, and probably other portable players, record on-demand as well as having schedulers to record XM channels.

Posted by: Richard | February 20, 2007 10:18 PM

How anybody can think such a merger would benefit listeners of either XM or Sirius is beyond me. More variety? Please. Look what happened after 1996 when the government allowed terrestrial radio stations to own virtually unlimited shares of a given market -- slashed playlists, robo-DJs and 25 minutes of commercials an hour. It's very clear: competition is good for consumers, monopolies are bad.

As an XM subscriber since 2002, I pray the regulators block this farce.

Posted by: markydee | February 20, 2007 10:22 PM

The only winners if the merger passes regulatory scrutiny will be the shareholders who have seen their investment inexorably decline in value since day one. Any claim that the consumer will benefit is tenuous at best. Monopoly is the best friend of capitalism (but not free market capitalism that recognizes competition in the market). Monopolists are free to determine price unless government regulates price which no one in their right mind would be in favour of.

Posted by: Darcy | February 20, 2007 10:27 PM

The only winners if the merger passes regulatory scrutiny will be the shareholders who have seen their investment inexorably decline in value since day one. Any claim that the consumer will benefit is tenuous at best. Monopoly is the best friend of capitalism (but not free market capitalism that recognizes competition in the market). Monopolists are free to determine price unless government regulates price which no one in their right mind would be in favour of.

Posted by: Darcy | February 20, 2007 10:33 PM

Frank, I'm with you....baseball and commercial free music! I am skeptical about the consumer winning out on the merger deal; but commercial free radio is the way for me.

Posted by: TONY | February 21, 2007 12:04 AM

Even with no competition, a provider will have to offer content consumers want to get paying consumers. And competition should eventually come from somewhere else (look at the phone companies taking on cable now for example). But we could end up with a watered down product for at least a while. I've been an XM subscriber for a few years. I love football but baseball is THE only sport worth listening to on radio. But boo to XM for dropping "Music Lab" from satellite and making it internet only. I hear Sirius has a better jam band/progressive channel so maybe that will be a win. If, as someone noted above, there is no loss of total channels, then I'm cautiously optimistic that the combined offering could end up being a win for consumers.

Posted by: Steve | February 21, 2007 1:06 AM

I believe the merged company would make more money by luring new customers with low subscription prices than they would by gouging current subscribers.
Am I being naive?

Posted by: jb | February 21, 2007 5:29 AM

How many shares Mel ?

Posted by: Plowboy1 | February 21, 2007 7:10 AM

How many shares Mel ?

Posted by: Plowboy1 | February 21, 2007 7:11 AM

I have been a Sirius subscriber since the beginning. Apparently I am really a niche listener. I have been disappointed at the loss of the old book reading station (gone the first year), the loss of 40's music, the paucity of classical music (three channels only when they have all those varieties of rock), the loss of Public Radio International and finally the loss of C-Span radio.

Niche markets were supposed to be one of the justifications for satellite radio, but that has turned out not to be the case.

You can be sure that when there is a single company, advertising will arrive at satellite radio on the same scale as on terrestrial radio.

Posted by: edean | February 21, 2007 8:26 AM

I've been a Sirius subscriber for 2 years now. Like most others my wife and I weighed the pros & cons of both companies before choosing. The main reason we decided to subscribe to Sirius was NBA basketball, and that was only because our cars radio has terrible AM reception. The other factor was liberal talk radio. It just is not to be found over the AM & FM air waves in the Philadelphia area. XM has Air America and Sirius has Talk Left. Both companies also seem to have a good blend of talk radio for all political slants. Which leads me to my biggest concern over a merger... as one entity (instead of two)..... The risk would now become much, much greater that programming will follow traditional radio by only advancing the political views of the ownership. That alone stops me in my tracks from caring about any other possible benefits of a merger.

Posted by: Rex | February 21, 2007 9:00 AM

As the consumer, I stand to benefit. All of you greedy stock holders are waiting the sky to fall. If satellie radio decides to do away with content and raise prices, guess what? I'll cancel my subscription!

Posted by: SG | February 21, 2007 10:34 AM

I have XM and an "Inno" portable receiver that records songs or shows and you can schedule it to record a show you might otherwise miss, then loan the receiver to your friend to listen. Can't export the file though due to copyright reasons which is understandable.

Posted by: Eric | February 21, 2007 11:08 AM

I've had XM since the summer of '02. It's one of the original receivers installed under the back seat of my truck with a small controller on the dash. I bought a 2nd unit, a SkyFi, and I now have 4 cradles and antennas for it for my living room, bedroom, cabana, and motorcycle.
I've worried since I fell in love with it that it wouldn't survive. A merger would alleviate that worry. I don't worry about losing my favorite channels, bluegrass, jazz, blues, news and traffic and both services offer them. I would like the Jimmie Buffett channel which I understand Sirius has. I'm in favor of the merge.

Posted by: Curt | February 21, 2007 11:23 AM

I share a family plan with my two kids -- not a hi-profit item for XM. It provides me classical, jazz and traffic.

If the XM price goes up, a CD player will handle the music. For 60 bucks a year I will add traffic info to my cellfone. A far suprior option to XM's traffic & WX.

Only one question to answer if the price does go up:

Will there be any obvious paint damage under the antenna when I remove it from my Corvette?

Posted by: PJ | February 21, 2007 11:26 AM

Why don't you carry a stereo recorder in your car and record it "manually"? You may even be able to run an output line to a recorder somehow.

Posted by: J.E. Hoyle | February 21, 2007 11:27 AM

I have been a long time subscriber of XM. I prefer XM over Sirius but I am sure over time if the merger is blocked they would tend to try and differentiate themselves more. If eventually Sirius had something I liked that XM didn't I would be forced to subscribe to both or sacrifice the features of the other service. At the same time if their biggest competitor as they say is FM radio which is free they may be driven to reduce their costs in order to compete with Free radio which they will be better positioned to do as one company. However, that said I don't know too many successful mergers. They just never go as smoothly as planned and I expect a lot of technical and personnel difficulties to get in the way of their intended goals.

Posted by: Jonathan | February 21, 2007 11:38 AM

You guys that have or had XM sound so disappointed & let down by the final product...Wait until you see how much better the Sirius programming is you'll never go back to conventional radio again. (Or at least past the first commercial break)...And with the "Stiletto" models you can record with the push of a button. (I think they have 2G of storage) I'm getting the "100" model next week...When I'm home it can switch to my Wi-Fi network w/ the push of a button too.

Posted by: TMHINVA | February 21, 2007 12:13 PM

You guys that have or had XM sound so disappointed & let down by the final product...Wait until you see how much better the Sirius programming is you'll never go back to conventional radio again. (Or at least past the first commercial break)...And with the "Stiletto" models you can record with the push of a button. (I think they have 2G of storage) I'm getting the "100" model next week...When I'm home it can switch to my Wi-Fi network w/ the push of a button too.

Posted by: TMHINVA | February 21, 2007 12:15 PM

You guys that have or had XM sound so disappointed & let down by the final product...Wait until you see how much better the Sirius programming is you'll never go back to conventional radio again. (Or at least past the first commercial break)...And with the "Stiletto" models you can record with the push of a button. (I think they have 2G of storage) I'm getting the "100" model next week...When I'm home it can switch to my Wi-Fi network w/ the push of a button too.

Posted by: Tim | February 21, 2007 12:17 PM

I subscribe to Sirius. Only listen to jazz music because it's not offered where I live. Don't listen to H. Stern or any other talk shows nor do I listen to sports programming so baseball,etc. doesn't matter to me. I think the two companies eventually will merge because that seems to be the way things are going in the good ole U S of A right now. Fewer gas station companies, airplanes companies; maybe chryler and gmc will finally merge, etc.

Posted by: Jim | February 21, 2007 12:28 PM

The solution to downloading and saving music from sattelite to a device is already taken care of by Sirius. They have a device called the S50 that legally does this. Merger still a bad idea?

Posted by: Matt | February 21, 2007 12:32 PM

If this is the only way to avoid them both going out of business, let it happen - I just hope they won't drop channels. That's why I switched from Sirius to XM. Sirius does Rock better, but XM does EVERYTHING ELSE better.
There's word they might offer several "tiers" of service, like the cable companies.
Bad idea! Like with cable, I'll have to subscribe to all the channels to get the ones I want. Let us pick channels A la Carte.

Posted by: jnik | February 21, 2007 12:33 PM

The solution to downloading and saving music from sattelite to a device is already taken care of by Sirius. They have a device called the S50 that legally does this. Merger still a bad idea?

Posted by: Matt | February 21, 2007 12:33 PM

you can schedule and record shows you want on the Sirius Stiletto 100. The Sportster 4 is similar to Tivo in that it records 45 minutes at a time so when you get a call you can pause it and then restart at your convenience. Just an FYI, oh and I bought Sirius because of the NFL games.

Posted by: sb32dvbh | February 21, 2007 1:20 PM

The only, only benefit of satellite service is the ability to listen to the same programming no matter where you are in the US. I regularly travel and keep a portable Sirius tuner in my luggage. When I rent a car, I am listening to the same classic rock I can hear when I am home. The sound quality, no matter where you get it from, is mediocre at best. Not necessarily a function of the satellite service but a function of the environment (CAR).
Do I care if the merge? Yes. With every monopoly comes higher cost, lower quality. Perhaps the merger will be the shot in the arm for HD Radio. Who knows?

Posted by: coachgeorge | February 21, 2007 1:22 PM

The only, only benefit of satellite service is the ability to listen to the same programming no matter where you are in the US. I regularly travel and keep a portable Sirius tuner in my luggage. When I rent a car, I am listening to the same classic rock I can hear when I am home. The sound quality, no matter where you get it from, is mediocre at best. Not necessarily a function of the satellite service but a function of the environment (CAR).
Do I care if the merge? Yes. With every monopoly comes higher cost, lower quality. Perhaps the merger will be the shot in the arm for HD Radio. Who knows?

Posted by: coachgeorge | February 21, 2007 1:23 PM

Personally I don't care how the merger goes. I stream music ( KDFC, Paradise Radio, Sky.FM, EYE97) from the internet on my desktop PC while I'm home, my laptop when I travel and my EVDO enabled PDA when in the car, working out, running, whatever.

If you want 'Will' to listen to programming on XM, why not have him subscribe?

Posted by: Bob B | February 21, 2007 1:57 PM

A merger is good if and only if all the channels will be availiable from both networks.

Posted by: MONSTA | February 21, 2007 2:00 PM

My main concern is wether I would have to buy new equipment. I have 3 XM's, one in the living room, one in the bedroom, and one I keep active for my son. I love XM and all the music. I would love to have NASCAR back, so that would be a benefit. I have been active fot 4 years and plan to for a long time. If the merger keeps me listening, I say go for it.

Posted by: augustus | February 21, 2007 3:38 PM

Right now there are 5 Sirius subscriptions in the immediate family. That's $46.75 per month for this family. It started with one subscription because of Stern, went to 2 because of Bubba, and grew to 5 because of all the other content. Having Sirius made a recent cross-country driving trip much easier to endure. That being said, and as good as the service has been, jacking subscription prices will drive people like me away.

Posted by: Mike | February 21, 2007 3:46 PM

I have both Sirius subscriptions and access to XM through DirectTV and listen to both. I probably listen more to Sirius than any other radio or audio source, amounting to several hours per day (mostly Pure Jazz 72).

Sirius is great for the 50s and 60s oldies channels (which feature pros like Cousin Brucie, Norm N. Nite, Jim Kerr and Pat St. John), Pure Jazz 72 (with knowledgeable hosts like Paul Anthony and Les Davis as well as access to the Blue Note vaults), bluegrass, Road House (country oldies), classical, Fox News Channel, ABC and Fox Talk Radio channels, NFL games and Michigan Football. I have never listened to Stern, Stewart or NASCAR on Sirius, but it's a draw for some. There is also an all Sinatra channel on the way that looks promising.

XM has gems, too, like The Village (folk music, a category dropped by Sirius a year or so ago, with Bob Dylan and Christine Lavin as periodic hosts), Frank's Place (pop standards hosted in part by singer/air personality Jonathan Schwartz, a longtime player of and expert on all things Sinatra) and Cinemagic (an offbeat and frequently brilliant blend of soundtrack and occasional movie dialog). I would also listen from time to time to out-of-area MLB games (Tigers) if I could, since the Yankees and Mets are the only free radio choices in NYC.

A merger beats dead air and has the potential for a really great combination, assuming the best elements of each survive (which is my fervent hope). However, the FCC should require the merged companies to make sure current receivers don't become obsolete and should eventually recapture and recycle some of the duplicative airspace for future competition.

Posted by: LDS | February 21, 2007 4:02 PM

Somehow, I think, ClearChannel is behind this. Or, am I nuts? Drop the silly "talent" and save some money. And yes, a merger is better than dead air but why is the business plan not working? Too ambitious perhaps. As the saying goes, "keep it simple stupid"

Posted by: pete | February 21, 2007 4:37 PM

I purposely chose XM radio over Sirius because I don't want to listen to Howard Stern and his overblown ego. I purposely purchased Sirius stock over XM because I thought that it would perform better with less fluctuation. That said, they're both pretty much right around their opening price on NASDAQ, so now all I really care about is will they let me out of my prepayment plan, and refund my money, if the merger goes through and I don't like the stations they keep. XM definitely has great music, but with iPods, MP3 players and LimeWire..XM who?

Posted by: Amanda | February 21, 2007 5:26 PM

"I found out that XM did not have live music programs and that most if not all was computerized".

Um, you are a moron. There are PLENTY of programmers and dj's at XM.

I chose XM for MLB and because their music selection goes way deeper into the catalogue than Sirius.

Does anyone think that this merger is so SIRIUS can get bailed out of owing so much money to Stern? I mean, they brought him in, paid him a ton - he brough a bunch of subscribers, but his draw has slowed. That is the only reason their subs have gone up recently and why it's perceived they are "growing faster than XM". Remember, XM started before sirius and had their growth and hit the wall that sirius will be hitting soon as well.

Posted by: dumas | February 21, 2007 9:48 PM

The only thing I can see Sirius gaining is baseball...Sirius is clearly a better service and has beaten XM every quarter since Howard joined.
I think Sirius was well on its way to
overtaking XM in amount of listeners. Its not just Howard, Overall its just better. When I got my second system installed the installer couldnt remember the last time he put an XM radio in a vehicle.
Sirius was close to posting a profit, XM?
I feel the merger is a step back for Sirius but saving XM from going off the air.

Posted by: Rich | February 21, 2007 9:50 PM

I apologize for the "moron" statement - I tried to stop the post from going through when I realize that was a stupid thing to write and a personal attack, but it went through anyway. AGain, sorry.

Posted by: dumas | February 21, 2007 9:51 PM

I apologize for the "moron" statement - I tried to stop the post from going through when I realize that was a stupid thing to write and a personal attack, but it went through anyway. AGain, sorry, that was as stupid thing for me to write.

Posted by: dumas | February 21, 2007 9:52 PM

In the DC area, C-Span radio is available on the regular FM band (90.1). Elsewhere, C-Span radio is available only through XM or Sirius, (or C-Span's web site -- not useful when driving). So outside DC, XM or Sirius is a necessity, not a luxury. The merger doesn't bring any value added in re C-Span radio.

Where the merger does benefit me is for NPR coverage. Outside major cities in Texas (and that means most of the area of the State), Satellite radio is the only source for NPR. Sirius has a wide range of NPR programs including Diane Rehm and other programs such as "On the Media," which despite their left bias are essential listening. XM's single NPR-related station is inadequate. Many NPR programs, like the two above, as far as I know can be heard on local FM in Texas only in the San Antonio area.

So I support the merger mainly for the expanded NPR coverage it will presumably bring to XM, which, as a baseball fan, I prefer to Sirius.

Posted by: hejianmin | February 22, 2007 12:36 AM

In the DC area, C-Span radio is available on the regular FM band (90.1). Elsewhere, C-Span radio is available only through XM or Sirius, (or C-Span's web site -- not useful when driving). So outside DC, XM or Sirius is a necessity, not a luxury. The merger doesn't bring any value added in re C-Span radio.

Where the merger does benefit me is for NPR coverage. Outside major cities in Texas (and that means most of the area of the State), Satellite radio is the only source for NPR. Sirius has a wide range of NPR programs including Diane Rehm and other programs such as "On the Media," which despite their left bias are essential listening. XM's single NPR-related station is inadequate. Many NPR programs, like the two above, as far as I know can be heard on local FM in Texas only in the San Antonio area.

So I support the merger mainly for the expanded NPR coverage it will presumably bring to XM, which, as a baseball fan, I prefer to Sirius.

Posted by: hejianmin | February 22, 2007 12:38 AM

i sell both xm and sirius, and i dont know if any of you relise that the two companies brod cast on diffrent diffrent band with, so it wouldent be as simple as you think to just get 300 chanels. if they so merge then sirius would gain grom the stronger sats that xm has, and xm would get some better music chanels. the other thing is that many of the sirius sucribers on here dont relise that clear channel dose not own xm and that almost all of xm's chanels do not have adds with the exception of 6 of the music chanels that yes clear chanel opperates. as for the merger its cool with me if the price stays the same, i dont have to by new equpment (the inno is far better then the steletto), O&A are still on and not getting gaged by the the lovers mel and howard.

Posted by: jdogsd1 | February 22, 2007 5:15 AM

I am a sports fan. To have MLB NBA and NFL available to me on the road, yes I'm a truck driver, would make my world just a little better. I say put it all on one radio. Is that too much to ask?

Posted by: Greg L. | February 22, 2007 2:22 PM

Good day! I've been w/Sirius for 6 months now and I enjoy it. I like all the music choices and I hear songs and bands I never would normally listen to. For me the merger is great! For less than $500 Sirius offers a lifetime subscription, which I utilized. Sirius has all the sports I like and when they merge with XM I'll get baseball too. The internet is fine, but I don't sit at my desk at home trying to find new bands all day. Satellite radio let's me discover new groups in my car. At less than $500 as long as you keep it for 3 yrs you'll pay less than the $12.95 monthly fee.

Posted by: Thomas Anderson | February 23, 2007 2:06 PM

I drive a truck in the middle of the night and need music to help me stay awake. Terrestrial radio has gradually homogenized itself and either added so many commercials or changed to talk formats (or both) that it is basically unlistenable. There are also issues with quality of reception.

Satellite seemed to be the logical step.

I love to listen to jazz. Well, at least, instrumental jazz, the "real stuff", not fusion, etc. Even in so-called mainstream jazz, a lot of the vocal stuff really stinks. What I like is a good old fashioned jam. What I do like is the great masters -- Monk, Trane, Bird, and those who follow after them. What I do not like is Kurt Elling, Diana Krall, Joe Williams, Billie Holiday, and most all of the vocalists. I will make an exception for Lambert Hendricks and Ross.

I first subscribed to XM and then found out their Real Jazz 70 channel has something called "Night Moods" on from 11 AM to 3 PM (Central) which has lots of vocals and "soft, soothing, sensual" sounds. Basically much of it is insipid crud, not the kind of jazz that I like, instead it's the kind of "lite jazz" and lame vocal junk I am sort of embarrassed to have anyone find out that I listen to. At least it is not on Friday or Saturday nights; on those nights XM often plays great stuff for hours and not a clinker is heard.

Then I bought a Sirius unit. I do not mind paying for both services. Sirius has Pure Jazz 72 and I do think their programming has a little more quality on the whole, but they still play vocals and some other stuff I don't care for.

I keep both radios on at all times. I can switch back and forth with one button. Whenever one service plays a vocal or some other stuff that I don't like, I just switch to the other. This strategy works about 90% of the time.

I can see what will happen if this merger goes through. I'll have just one jazz channel and will have to listen to whatever they decide to play. Then, they'll raise the price and I'll end up paying the same as I pay now for both services.

I am TOTALLY against the merger. We'll just have less variety and higher prices. Monopolies are hardly ever good things.

Posted by: Howard | February 23, 2007 2:27 PM

I have both XM and Sirius. But I like the XM service much better and listen to XM 95% of the time. Where I live the Sirius signal was hard to pull in compared to the XM signal. I can place the XM antenna anywhere in the house and I get a strong signal but Sirius on the other hand was a pain to pull in after many calls to their customer service center I finally had to buy a 15 meter extension cable and put the antenna on the top of the roof outside in order to get a signal from them. This was because XM satellites are high above the equator like Directv and other communication satellites are. Where as Sirius satellites are in a elliptical North South orbit like the old Soviet spy satellites used to have. It beats me why Sirius chose this type of orbit instead of the standard one like XM and other communication satellites use. But they must have had a logical reason for this.

I normally listen to XM 70 The Real Jazz Channel, Audio Visions XM 77, and Hear Music the Starbucks channel XM 75.

If they merge I hope they keep these channels and use the XM satellites because they are far better then the ones Sirius uses and easier to pull the signal in

Posted by: Sarah | February 25, 2007 2:29 PM

I DONT know why anyone thinks he'd/she'd be losing access to channels, and NOT gaining channels. That makes no sense to me. Obviously, duplicate channels would probably be combined into one channel (like if both services have a '70s music channel of comparable offerings). But that still doesn't mean a given XM (or Sirius) subscriber is getting less.

I am currently an XM subscriber, and I see things that Sirius has that I want: English Premier League Soccer games, foremost. So if the merger means I am getting XM in combination other ADDITIONAL specialty programming, THEY HAVE MY VOTE.

Posted by: Matt | February 25, 2007 10:49 PM

I'm guessing mainly old people buy XM. What a waste of $$$ Heard 'em both, and XM sucks. For anyone who doesn't like Howard all I can say is you must not appreciate honesty. One of the most misunderstood people of our generation, but he's definately popular for a reason (hint: he's got talent!).

If the price goes up, here's my solution: stop subscribing. It's REALLY simple, so if any of you need help with how to cancel, let me know, I'm sure I can straighten it out for you. (All sarcasm aside...GET A BRAIN PEOPLE. You don't HAVE to buy the product if they're going to jack the price up on you). Mass defections would make a merger pointless, especially when there ARE other options (like iPods, CDs, terrestrial radio, etc).

Long live Sirius!!!

Posted by: Aaron | February 26, 2007 6:51 PM

Thats the funniest thing i have ever herd howard being honest. wow you live in another world. i will admit he changed alot for radio, but he lies his butt off. he is not the icon that he once was, and although sat has alowed him to talk dirty, he want there at a lose of listiners. if you truly want honesty in your talk radio listen to O&A on xm there far better than stern, and i used to listen to stern! oh and as for your coment that xm is for old people your way off im 23 and have had xm for over 2 years and i love it.

as i said in a post earler i sell both both have pluses and minuses and a merger would benifit both. if a merger dose happen i will be happy if O&A stay on but if they are cut out of the picture by mel and howard then i will stop scuribing there would be just no reason for me to listen considering most of the tome my inno is set to 202.

as for the merger its self right now i think it might mot happen. if ther are able to get around gov regulations, then they wull have to figure out compability and that will be tought to do with ought costing that listeners money

Posted by: jdogsd1 | February 27, 2007 4:16 PM

i believe that the merger will be good for both companies and subscribers..i am a sub to sirius and from personal experience i enjoy Sirius alot more...the music isnt as overplayed as on XM(example: the top 20 on 20) Howard didnt bring me over, but he def. kept me here...to all the hatters of Howard...his station is channel 100 and 101...skip by it no one is making you listen to him

Posted by: erik | March 1, 2007 1:51 PM

I have one question for those lobbyist groups opposing the merger with the arguement that it would create a monopoly.
Why would you care if you weren't in competition with them? If you are in competition, then they wouldn't be a monopoly. Pretty simple. The fact you are arguing supports the merger....

Posted by: Tom Andrikopoulos | March 6, 2007 6:41 AM

Hey Ahrens -

Stop being a cheap-o and pay the extra 3 bucks a month for Stern.

Wahhhh I can't afford to pay extra for a premium channel.

You probably don't subscribe to HBO either...stuck in the 80's man

Posted by: Marconi | March 6, 2007 8:26 PM

For you "consumer activists" - have fun listening to dead air if the merger fails......

Posted by: Satguru | March 9, 2007 5:39 PM

Sad Fan is an idiot! Howard does not care about Oprah!! Howard will be Howard whether the merger goes through or not! Personally I have the better radio with the Sirius but I would love to get the MLB channels so lets get this thing done!

Posted by: az16amc | March 10, 2007 1:51 PM

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