Saturday, March 04, 2006
The two giants in the satellite radio business are XM and Sirius. Both offer an astonishing variety of shows, as well as exclusive programming. Sirius features more than 120 channels and has a slew of talk shows and music programs with popular celebrity hosts. DJs include Lance Armstrong, Eminem and Little Steven Van Zandt. Talk shows with Martha Stewart, Howard Stern and Bill Bradley are also offered on Sirius. Sirius features 60 stations devoted solely to music, and 12 news channels. Currently, Sirius has about 3 million subscribers.
XM Radio has 160 channels, with music stations devoted to every decade, beginning with the 1940s. Oprah Winfrey recently signed on with XM and will have a talk show called Oprah and Friends covering topics like current events, and health and fitness. Bob Dylan is set to DJ his own show next year on XM, and XM will soon feature extensive baseball coverage, broadcasting all the professional league games. Right now, XM has about 6 million subscribers.
Interestingly enough, the FCC does not regulate either satellite station, so just about anything goes on satellite radio. To compensate for this laxity, parental control locks are part of the satellite radio system. These locks allow parents to restrict channels they don‚Äôt want their kids to have access to.
In order to take advantage of satellite radio, listeners need a special receiver. Receivers can be connected to home stereos, to portable radios and car radios. Receiver prices vary, ranging from $70 to $300. Some additional costs may be incurred with installation of the receiver. In order to make satellite radio more accessible to customers, XM and Sirius now offer portable receivers for listeners.